Plumtree (SK6133), Nottinghamshire
Nottingham Guardian (1949b)
PLOUGH MONDAY PLAYERS CALL [Tollerton, Notts.]
8th Jan.1949, No.28886, p.5 h
Report of a performance of Plough Monday play by the team from Tollerton,
Notts. The account is based around the experience of Ernie Burton, who
remembered seeing the play being performed when a child in Edwalton "over 50
years ago." Two or three text fragments are quoted, and the characters were;
Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Farm Man/Farmer's Man, Dame Jane, Lady Bright
and Gay, Doctor and Thrasher Blade. The itinerary included Hall Farm,
Tollerton, Normanton, Knicker Hill, Cotgrave, Keyworth and Plumtree. All the
actors are named. Ernie is quoted as saying, "In the old days it was the
custom to take a plough and threaten to plough a furrow across the lawn if no
reward was forthcoming."
Nottingham Journal (1949a)
Mummers' Visit to Hall Farm: Medieval Play at Tollerton
8th Jan.1949, No.38366, p.6 d-f,e
Plough Monday play by a team from Tollerton, Notts., first revived in
1948. They also visited; Plumtree, Cotgrave, Keyworth, Normanton, and
Nicker Hill. The characters were; Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmer's
Man, Dame Jane, Old Threshing Blades, Doctor and Lady Bright and Gay.
A photograph shows seven characters in costume watching Tom Fool knocking
on door with the caption:
"The seven characters in Tollerton's Plough Play
- all farm workers - which starts on Monday, had a dress rehearsal last
night. Picture shows them arriving at the door of Tollerton Hall Farm
to give the first performance with 'Tom Fool' knocking for admission."
Nottingham Guardian (1950a)
PLOUGH MONDAY: Old Mummery Seen at Notts. Farms [Tollerton, Notts.]
10th Jan.1950, No.29197, p.3 f-g
Description of a performance of a Plough Monday Ploughboys' Play by a team
from Tollerton and district, Notts. Plough trailing in the past is
mentioned. The Tollerton custom ceased about 1908, but was revived in the
early 1930s. It again lapsed during the Second World War, but was restarted in
1948 by Mr.A.H.Brown of Hall Farm, Tollerton. This 1950 team started in
Plumtree, and ended at Normanton. All the actors are named, and the characters
were; Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmer's Boy, Lady Bright and Gay, Dame
Jane, Threshing Blade and Doctor.
Nottingham Guardian (1950b)
TOLLERTON MUMMERS' PLAY
10th Jan.1950, No.29197, p.5 c-d
Photo showing three onlookers and seven characters in costume watching the
Doctor treat the Threshing Blade. The caption reads; "Members of the Elding
family (on left) watching the performance of the ancient Plough Monday Mummers'
play in the drawing room of their home at Manor Farm, Plumtree last night. The
performers are George Ayto (Tom Fool), Ernest Burton (Sergeant), Joseph Sewards
(Farmer's Man), Fred Hutchinson (Lady Bright and Gay), Percy Morrison (Dame
Jane), Raymond Clark (Threshing Blade), and Fred Swanborough (Doctor)."
Nottingham Journal (1950b)
Plough Week Play at Plumtree
10th Jan.1950, No.38677, p.6 a
Report of the "Tollerton and District Ploughboys" who performed in Plumtree
and Normanton on the previous evening (Monday) and who would continue
touring until the Saturday. Taking part were: George Ayto (Tom Fool),
Ernest Burton (the Sergeant), Fred Hutchinson (Lady Bright and Gay), Percy
Morris (Dame Jane), Raymond Clark (Threshing Blade) and F.Swanborough
Relates to Nottingham Journal (1950c).
Nottingham Journal (1950c)
[Photo of Tollerton, Notts. Ploughboys' Play]
10th Jan.1950, No.38677, p.6 e-g
Photo relating to Nottingham Journal (1950b), and very similar to Nottingham
Guardian (1950b). Caption reads:
"'Threshing Blade' being examined by 'The
Doctor' after being felled by the 'Recruiting Sergeant' - a scene from
the Tollerton Plough Play which the ploughboys presented before Mr. and
Mrs. H. Elding's family at Manor Farm, Plumtree last night. Other characters
(from right) are; The Lady, Dame Jane, Farmer's Boy and Tom Fool."
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1950)
[Plough Monday Play, Tollerton, Notts.]
14th Jan.1950, No.5461, p.6 a-c
Photo of seven characters in costume in line facing the camera -
Dame Jane holding doll in the middle.
The caption read; "The mummers' play which was revived a few years ago at
Tollerton, is now firmly established, and here one sees the seven characters
before they set out on their rounds of the farmhouses in the Plumtree area."
Nottingham Evening News (1951)
Newsman's Notebook: MUMMERS' PLAY AGAIN AT TOLLERTON
*Nottingham Evening News,
4th Jan.1951, No.20288, p.4 d
"There may be a war in Korea.
There may be rumours of shortages, meet cuts and all the
queer things so typical of the 20th
century, but in Tollerton tomorrow
villagers of Tollerton, Plumtree
and Keyworth will meet once
again in the kitchen of Hall Farm
to perform the traditional Plough
Monday Mummers' Play.
The custom was revived some
years ago by Mr.A.H.Brown, of
Hall Farm and since his death
his wife has continued it. After
the first performance the Mummers
will take a week to tour the
surrounding villages, giving the
play in the kitchens of large
farmhouses. Proceeds this year will
go to St. Dunstan's.
In olden times the arrival of
Plough Sunday, when the plough
was taken into the church and
blessed, and Plough Monday
meant the end of the Christmas
holidays and beginning of the
Chambers' Book of Days contains
a lengthy article by a 17th
century Nottingham writer,
Gervase Markham, on what the
ploughman should do in January;
it is taken from one of Markham's
many books on farming 'Farewell
to Husbandry' published in 1653."
Nottingham Journal (1951a)
Been "acting the fool" for 40 years [Plough Monday Play at Tollerton, Notts.]
6th Jan.1951, No.38984, p.3a
"Villagers of Tollerton,
Plumtree and Keyworth last
night dipped back into the
Seven farm workers went from
house to house enacting the
Plough Monday Mummers' play
that has been passed down from
father to son for hundreds of
George Ayto, in the guise of
Tom Fool, has been taking the
part for 40 years. 'During the
war though' he said 'we had to
stop because of the blackout and
The youngest member was
18-year-old Alan Gosling who took
Fred Swanborough took the
part of the heavily-bearded doctor,
who can cure 'all pains inside and
The rest of the cast were Archie
Stubbs (Sergeant), Joe Sewards
(Farmer's Boy), Davey Morris
(Dame Jane) and Raymond Clark
After the ten-minute play a
collection was taken in aid of St.
Plough Monday is actually
celebrated next Monday and in olden
times it marked the end of the
Christmas holidays and the beginning
of the ploughing season"
M.W.Barley Collection (1953, R.Astill & E.Burton)
*Mr. Robert Astill (Inf.); *Mr. E. Burton (Perf.)
*[Plough Monday Play from Plumtree, Notts.]
*Full text and tunes for a Plough Monday play performed before 1939 at
Plumtree, Notts. The characters are; Tommy/Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmers
Man, Lady Bright and Gay, Old Dame Jane, Beelzebub and Doctor.
A note written next to the Recruiting Sergeant's song on a draft of this text
reads; "Mr. E. Burton Nottm Rd. Keyworth could sing this." Whether or not he
remembered it from Keyworth or Plumtree is not said.
*A. Helm (Auth.)
*Five mumming plays for schools [Includes Plough Monday Play from Plumtree, Notts.]
*London: E.F.D.S.S. & Folk-lore Society, 1965, pp.30-36
*Includes the full text of a Plough Monday play from Plumtree, Notts., taken
from the text of R.Astill in the M.W.Barley Collection. The characters are;
Tommy, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmers Man, Lady Bright and Gay, Old Dame Jane,
Beelzebub, and Doctor.
P.T.Millington Collection (1972, J.A.Cooper)
John A. Cooper (Inf.)
[sources of play information including Plumtree, Notts.]
Com. 24th Jan.1972
Following a newspaper article, this letter details several possible sources
of information on folk plays, viz. "The Guardian", "The Journal" [presumably the
Nottingham Newspapers] and Roy Harris. A referral, regrettably not followed up,
reads "... it was carried out at Plumtree Notts: till quite recent times & that
a lady there, Mrs Edward Phimister, Main Road, Plumtree, Notts:, had photographs
of this actual ceremony in her possession ..."
* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.