South Scarle (SK8463), Nottinghamshire

M.W.Barley Collection (1951, J.G.Holmes)

*Mr. J. G. Holmes (Perf.)
*[Plough Monday Play from South Scarle, Notts.]
*M.W.Barley Collection, Dated 1951, Ref.Ba P 1/31

*Full text with tunes of a Plough Monday Plough Boys play performed about 1880 in South Scarle, Notts. The characters are; Tom Fool/Bold Tom, Farmer's Man, Lady Bright and Gay, Recruiting Sergeant, Dame Jane, Beelzebub and Doctor.

Nottinghamshire Countryside (1952)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Plough Monday Plays [South Scarle and Calverton, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Countryside, Jan.1952, Vol.13, No.3, pp.7-8

Describes the response to M.W.Barley's (1951) appeal for information on Plough Monday plays. Three replies are detailed;

The first is the full text of a Plough-bullocking or Morris Dancing play from South Scarle, Notts., sent in by Mr.J.G.Holmes. His letter is printed in full next to a photo of him. The text (116 lines) was collected during a follow up visit and includes detailed descriptions of the costumes. The play was performed before 1882 and featured the characters; Tom Fool/Bold Tom, Farmer's Man, Lady, Recruiting Serjeant, Dame Jane, Beelzebub/Belzie, and Doctor.

[Further recollections of Mr Holmes' childhood in South Scarle are given in J.G.Holmes (1952) - TD00589.]

The second reply from Mrs.F.G.Brooks mentioned Plough Monday at Calverton, Notts. Fragments of text include lines for Eezum Squeezum, and an unnamed character similar to Molly/Sally Mop at Mansfield.

Lastly, Mr. James Holloway described a Harvest Home tradition and song from Blidworth, Notts.

Nottingham Journal (1952)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Plough Monday
Nottingham Journal, 14th Jan.1952, No.39300, p.4 c-d

A brief summary of Notts., Plough Monday plays, mostly taken from Notts. Countryside (1952). Mention is made of plays from Calverton (Eezum Squeezum's opening speech is quoted), and South Scarle, Notts., (recorded from Mr.G.W.Holmes). There are individual photographs of the characters Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, and Dame Jane from the Tollerton play.

M.W.Barley Collection (1952, P.M.Underwood - a)

P. M. Underwood (Comp.)
THE PLOUGH MONDAY PLAY: Bulcote, 1952-3.
M.W.Barley Collection, Dated Nov.1952, Ref.Ba P 1/13

Full text (163 lines) of a Plough Monday play revived in Bulcote, Notts., in 1952 and 1953. The cover has been annotated "Made up in 1952 from various other plays, mainly Scarle and Walesby." The characters are; Tom Fool/Bold Tom, Farmer's Man, Lady, Recruiting Sergeant, Dame Jane, Beelzebub/Devil and Doctor. Optional extra characters were another Farmer's Man [equivalent to Ribboner in other plays], and Hobby Horses to draw the plough.

J.G.Holmes (1952)

J. G. Holmes (Auth.)
Return to my Village [South Scarle, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Countryside, Oct.1952, Vol.14, No.2, pp.4-5

A letter from Mr. Holmes was published in Nottinghamshire Countryside (1952) together with the text of the Plough Monday play from South Scarle that had been collected from him. In this article he recollects his childhood in South Scarle but gives no further information about Plough Monday customs. He was born in 1862.

M.W.Barley (1953)

M. W. Barley (Auth.)
Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Dec.1953, Vol.7, No.2, pp.68-95

This is the most important single paper ever written on East Midlands folk drama. Starting from the base of E.K.Chambers (1933) "English Folk Play", he discusses 41 additional texts and other information from Lincs., Notts., Leics. and Rutland. The approach is very methodical and academically sound - as one would expect from a trained archaeologist.

There is an excellent review of early records of Plough Monday, Plough Lights and related customs from various archives. He draws particular attention to the cast of a play from Donington, Lincs. Concerning the much studied play from Revesby, Lincs., he adds that Sir Joseph Banks, the famous botanist, must have had some involvement. This is followed by details of a number of large households who were visited by Plough Monday teams. He compares the early nineteenth Century Lincs., plays published by C.R.Baskervill (1924) and modern plays from the same areas, noting marked differences in the "wooing" scenes. Comparative details are enumerated of; rewards received by the teams, malicious ploughing, trailed ploughs, and costumes. Regarding music, Barley notes the lack of recorded tunes, but is able to give three variants (including one from South Scarle, Notts.) There is brief description of the vestiges of dances present, and of Hobby Horses in North Lincs. He extensively discusses regional variations in the plays, noting differences in characters and lines, much in the manner of E.K.Chambers.

The Appendix lists around 70 records of plays. There is also a distribution map. The list does not include a number of references in the text, and these too are not to be found in the Barley's collection. Notts., examples are; Averham, Orston, and Sutton-on-Trent.

It was very commendable that Barley did not attempt to speculate on the origins of the plays, except for an unsuccessful search for possible links with Denmark. It is unforgivable therefore that P.D.Kennedy felt obliged to add a massive and patronising footnote giving the E.F.D.S.S. Establishment doctrine about the supposed ritual and symbolical origins of the plays.

Nottingham Guardian (1953)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 6th Jan.1953, No.30124, p.5 c-e

Describes the revival of a Plough Monday play at Bulcote, Notts., and produced by Mrs. Phyllis Underwood. She compiled the text from several Notts., versions; South Scarle (from Mr.J.G.Holmes), Gunthorpe (from Mr. John Barker), and Scarrington. The performers were; Arthur Clay (Beelzebub), Brian Mowbray (Lady Bright and Gay), Harold Adams (Tom Fool/Bold Tom), Ted Knight, Tom Snaith, Jack Whitworth, and Cyril Brookes. Other characters were; Old Dame and Doctor.

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