Plumtree (SK6133), Nottinghamshire

Nottingham Guardian (1949b)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Mummers' Visit to Hall Farm: Medieval Play at Tollerton
Nottingham Journal, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
PLOUGH MONDAY: Old Mummery Seen at Notts. Farms [Tollerton, Notts.]
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Plough Week Play at Plumtree
Nottingham Journal, 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 (Doctor).

Relates to Nottingham Journal (1950c).

Nottingham Journal (1950c)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
[Photo of Tollerton, Notts. Ploughboys' Play]
Nottingham Journal, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
[Plough Monday Play, Tollerton, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*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 ploughing season.

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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Been "acting the fool" for 40 years [Plough Monday Play at Tollerton, Notts.]
Nottingham Journal, 6th Jan.1951, No.38984, p.3a

"Villagers of Tollerton, Plumtree and Keyworth last night dipped back into the past.

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 years.

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 air-raids.'

The youngest member was 18-year-old Alan Gosling who took 'The Lady'.

Fred Swanborough took the part of the heavily-bearded doctor, who can cure 'all pains inside and out'

The rest of the cast were Archie Stubbs (Sergeant), Joe Sewards (Farmer's Boy), Davey Morris (Dame Jane) and Raymond Clark (Threshing Blade).

After the ten-minute play a collection was taken in aid of St. Dunstan's.

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.]
*M.W.Barley Collection, Col. Mar.1953

*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 (1965)

*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.]
P.T.Millington Collection, 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.