Shelford (SK6642), Nottinghamshire

C.Brown (1874)

Cornelius Brown (Ed.)
Nottingham: T.Forman and Sons, 1874, pp.83-85

A compilation of items previously published in the "Local Notes and Queries" column of "The Nottingham Daily Guardian". There are two non-specific items on Plough Monday, also published later by J.P.Briscoe (1876). A general description corresponds with Briscoe's description of Shelford, Notts. The other main item is an unlocated South Notts. text, with the characters Bold Anthony, King of England, Prince George, Selina and Doctor

J.P.Briscoe (1876)

John Potter Briscoe (Ed.)
Nottingham: Shepherd Bros., 1876, pp.6-8

This small miscellany on Nottinghamshire includes a description of Plough Bullocking (plough trailing), in Shelford, a text from South Notts., (previously published by C.Brown, 1874), and quotes Washington Irving's (1835) description of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey. The South Notts., text has the characters; Bold Anthony, King of England, Prince George, Selina, and Doctor.

N.b. the "first edition" was not published separately, but as part of a Shepherd's Almanac.

Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1903)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express, 16th Jan.1903

Article concerning January customs. In the part dealing with Twelfth Night there are quotations from "Notts Gleanings" p. 59 by J.Potter Briscoe.

The Plough Monday section also quotes from Briscoe writing in 1877 but it is unclear if it is the same source. It refers to Plough Bullock Day in Shelford where youngsters go round during the day with hats decorated with strips of coloured paper and red-ochred faces, asking: "Please can you remember the Plough Bullocks?". In the evening youths go out with blackened faces and are followed later by men drawing a plough and saying "My back is made of iron, my body's made of steel, And if you don't believe it, put on your hands and feel". The article goes on to refer to Washington Irving's account of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey. It also refers to ploughmen keeping plough-lights burning in church in pre-Reformation days.

Finally, an article from the Telegraph on the previous Tuesday is quoted as follows:

"'Plow Monday' in other times, when agriculture was really the greatest interest in the country was the date when the labourers returned to work after the Christmas holidays. It is still marked in the City by a very ancient ceremony - a renewal of certain obligations - which gives the Corporation an extra body of constables, who may be called on at any time the interests of peace in the City require their services. Over 200 officials, headed by the City Marshal, and including the officers of the City Courts and markets and the beadles, are annually placed on this emergency roll, where some of them now figure for the thirtieth time.Accordingly, the Lord Mayor yesterday attended in State at the Guildhall to receive this ready allegiance. A civic officer is by the ceremony entitled to act as a police-constable. For instance, the Lord Mayor is always preceded by the City Marshal and two police outriders and it sometimes happens that the driver of a vehicle is not always disposed to delay his business out of respect for authority, and will try to dash out of a bye-street behind the mounted constables and in front of the mayoral carriage into the official route. In that case the City Marshal has simply to raise his hand just as an ordainary constable does, and the impatient driver, if he declines the warning, has to answer for the offence of endeavouring to pass a policeman who is 'holding him up'. It is not often that this impressive warning is disregarded, and, indeed, the respect in which the chief magistrate is held is so implanted in the Londoner that is is rarely given. In the evening the Lord Mayor extended the hospitality at the Mansion House to his household and the staff of the Corporation, and a very numerous company sat down to dinner."

E.B. (1931)

E. B. (Auth.)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: ... Plough Bullocks
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 10th Jan.1931

*Cites J.P.Briscoe's (1876) account of Plough Monday plough trailing at Shelford, Notts.

Nottinghamshire Guardian (1935b)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Plough Monday In Old Notts
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 19th Jan.1935

A description of Plough Monday or Plough Bullock Day, taken from J.P.Briscoe (1876). It repeats the descriptions of Shelford Plough Bullocking, and the quotation of W.Irving's (1835) description of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey, Notts. This mentions the recitation of the old ballad St. George and the Dragon, and a set of Morris-dancers, which included the characters; Robin Hood, Marian, Beelzebub and Bessy. The trailing of the "Fool Plough" is also mentioned in general terms.

Nottingham Evening Post (1950)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Nottingham Evening Post, 6th Jan.1950

Announcement about the performance of a Plough Monday play revived at Tollerton, Notts., by the recently deceased Mr.A.H.Brown, and being organised for 1950 by his widow. It also mentions house visiting on Plough Bullock Day in Shelford, Notts., "less than a hundred years ago". Youngsters went round during the day, and youths in the evening. Additionally it mentions ploughing up the ground around the doors of non-contributors, and mentions a play and a "plough fool" at Newstead Abbey.

M.W.Barley Collection (1953, Atkins)

Mrs. Atkins (Inf.); L. Butler (Col.)
Shelford. [Plough-bullocks Play]
M.W.Barley Collection, Col. Dec.1953, Ref.Ba P 1/33

Fragments of a Plough Monday Plough-boys or Plough-bullocks play from Shelford, Notts., which ceased in 1912 or 1913. The characters are; First Man, Farmer's Boy, Belsey-Bub, Eezum Squeezum/Eezum Squezum, Old Dame Jane and Doctor. There was house visiting in the morning and afternoon by youths until about 1925. J.P.Briscoe (1876) is mentioned, and malicious ploughing was still remembered. A note adds, "Similar plays at East Bridgford, Radcliffe-on-Trent, at Bingham, last done 1895-1900".

M.W.Barley Collection (1954a)

Anon. (Inf.)
E. Bridgford [Plough Boys Itinerary]
M.W.Barley Collection, Col. 8th Jan.1954, Ref.Ba P 1/20

"At 5.0 pm. Plough Boys assembled at Smithy in village. There they dressed up, blacked faces from soot of forge. Go across to Straws Shop, then to his house. He was a big pig breeder. Ham cheese, pork pie, mince pies. After Straws House, then rest of village.

On other nights they did Carcolston, Newton, Shelford, Kneeton.

Beelzebub dressed in the largest hoop available, then sack & stuffing.

Money given to church in each village. This was about 1910. All this from Upton Park Keeper, Newark. His father was a waggoner.

Mr. Henry Bateman (aged 91 in 1954) used to train the team.

Lincs. men hired out in E. Bridgford would be in the team.

Remarks on Jan 8 1954."

Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection (1960, J.R.Fisher)

John Reuben Fisher (Auth.)
Memories of a Villager [Plough Monday at Shelford, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Local History Council Collection, Written 12th Mar.1960, Ref.DD/121/1/55, 5pp.

Entry to an essay competition on old village life at Shelford, Notts. It includes the following (p.4);

"The Church calendar was observed by the usual festivities. On Plough Monday the ploughmen and waggoners drew the be-ribboned plough from door to door, cracking their whips and singing,

'My back is made of iron, my boots are made of steel
And if you don't believe it, put out your hand and feel.'

If any farmer failed to give them money he might find that his front lawn had been ploughed up!"

A.Cossons (1962)

Arthur Cossons (Auth.)
Transactions of the Thoroton Society, 1962, Vol.66, pp.67-82

Summarises information contained in entries to an essay competition run by the Nottinghamshire Local History Society in 1960 (see Nottinghamshire Countryside, 1959/1960). The essays entitled "The memories of a villager" were to be based on the entrants' own recollections of Notts., village life. The 66 entries are deposited in the Nottinghamshire Archives Office.

Information is described under the following headings; Agriculture, Crafts Trades Industries, Transport, The Squire, Domestic Life, Customs, Houses, Field Names, Education, Miscellaneous and Material Remains.

The customs mentioned include; Shrove Tuesday customs, Rantanning or Tinpanning, and Mumping on St. Thomas's Day. The competition announcement had particularly asked for information on Plough Monday, and a list is given of 24 places where this was mentioned. Places getting a more detailed mention were plays at Blidworth, Cropwell Butler (where the characters were Tom the Fool, Soldier, Lady Dame Jane, Beelzebub and Doctor), Ranby (Horse's Head and Morris Dancing), and Shelford (Plough trailing).

P.Mayfield (1976)

Pat Mayfield (Auth.)
Legends of Nottinghamshire
Clapham: Dalesman Books, 1976, 0-85206-352-0

This book concerns the folklore and traditions of Notts. The chapter headings are; "1 Nottinghamshire Legends", "2 Religious Folklore", "3 Legends and Love Trysts", "4 Witches and Ghosts", "5 Sherwood Legends", "6 Legends from Town and Village", "7 Legendary Characters", and "8 Plays and Games". There are a number of items relating plays.

Washington Irving's (1835) description of Plough Monday Plough Bullocking at Newstead Abbey, Notts. is mentioned. However a play text is appended which, although attributed to Newstead Abbey, is the same as the South Notts. text given by C.Brown (1874) and J.P.Briscoe (1876). This attribution therefore seems very dubious. The text (48 lines) has the characters; Anthony, King of England, Prince George, Selina, and Doctor.

The text of a Mansfield play is mentioned, provided by Mr.E.W.Mellors, which includes the characters; Beelzebub, Courtier, Mickey Bent, Molly Mop, Tommy Tupp and Slasher. A further text (50 lines) from Mr.Mellors is reproduced in full. This is a Christmas play entitled "Poor owd 'oss" which was apparently still alive in the 1860s. It featured a horse and a blacksmith. Both these texts seem to be from the A.S.Buxton Collection.

Plough Lights are mentioned. Plough Trailing and malicious ploughing at Shelford are described. Again identical to the accounts of C.Brown and J.P.Briscoe. Maid Marian and Robin Hood are mentioned as appearing in some plays.

* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.