Shelford (SK6642), Nottinghamshire
Cornelius Brown (Ed.)
NOTES ABOUT NOTTS.: A COLLECTION OF SINGULAR SAYINGS, CURIOUS CUSTOMS, ECCENTRIC EPITAPHS, AND INTERESTING ITEMS, HISTORICAL AND ANTIQUARIAN
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
John Potter Briscoe (Ed.)
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE FACTS AND FICTIONS [2nd 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
Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1903)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES : ROUND THE CALENDAR : WHAT NOTTS. FOLKS DID IN OLDEN TIME
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express,
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
"'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. (Auth.)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: ... Plough Bullocks
*Cites J.P.Briscoe's (1876) account of Plough Monday plough trailing at
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1935b)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Plough Monday In Old Notts
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)
CENTURIES OLD CARNIVAL AT TOLLERTON [Plough Monday in Notts.]
*Nottingham Evening Post,
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]
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)
E. Bridgford [Plough Boys Itinerary]
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!"
Arthur Cossons (Auth.)
THE VILLAGERS REMEMBER
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).
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
* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.