St. Ann's Well, Nottingham (SK5741), Nottinghamshire

L.Jewitt (1853)

Llewellynn Jewitt (Auth.)
*Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 1853, Vol.8, pp.229-240

A rambling general summary of customs in Notts. It followed two similar papers concerning Cheshire and Derbyshire, and a certain amount of extrapolation from these counties is evident.

Among the customs covered are; drawing lots for Valentines near Mansfield, the blessing of St. Ann's Well, Nottingham on Easter Monday and of another well at Newark, a May-pole at Hucknall Folkard [presumably meant to be Hucknall Torkard], divination on All Hallows at Lenton, the perambulation of crib called a Wassail Cup at Christmas, and Groaning Cakes & Cheeses - a birth custom.

He quotes Deering's description of the Midsummer's Eve watch at Nottingham.

The description of Christmas says "... the mummers, or guisors, pass from house to house, and still perform their play of St. George..."

Also; "On Plough Monday, as well as during the Christmas holidays, the plough bullocks are still to be seen in various parts of the country. This extremely picturesque and popular custom, - with its plough, drawn by farmer's men, gaily dressed in ribbands, its drivers, with their long wands and bladders, its sword-dancers, its fool and its celebrated Bessy, and hobby-horse, - I have described in my Derbyshire paper; it will therefore be sufficient to say, that amongst other places the neighbourhoods of Newstead, Mansfield, and Southwell, are still famous for its observance, and that it has been well described by Washington Irving in his Newstead Abbey."

W.Page (1910)

William Page (Auth.)
London: Constable and Company Limited, 1910, Vol.2, pp.410-413

The chapter on "Old-Time Sports" gives details of a number of Notts., customs taken from published accounts. These include; Bull-baiting, Bear-baiting, Badger-baiting, and Cock-fighting, throwing at the cock and thrashing the fat hen at Shrovetide, May-poles and May-day customs, Oak and Nettle Day, the Eakring Ball-play on Easter Tuesday, Midsummer's Eve bonfires, wrestling and the St. Ann's Well Shepherd's Race or maze.

The description of Plough Monday or Plough Bullock Day covers plough trailing and malicious ploughing. A fragment is given from a play from South Notts, with the characters; bold Anthony, St. George, Selina and a doctor. Washington Irving's (1835) account of a Plough Monday and Morris Dancers at Newstead Abbey is also quoted.

"Old Robin Hood" (1918)

"Old Robin Hood" (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: No. 237: Plough Monday [St. Ann's Well Road, Nottingham]
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 12th Jan.1918

"This is the first Monday after Twelfth Day by the country almanack. In all agricultural districts the labourers used to drag the plough about and plough up your "doorstep" if you did not give them money. I remember 'plough bullocks,' or lads with blackened faces, marching about St. Ann's Well road and singing doggerel for money on Plough Monday. They had no plough, although there were plenty of green fields about in those days.

But I expect it would be a great day in the country in old times. Did the farmers all plough together on that day, or was it the opening of the ploughing season? I have some recollection that in Yorkshire there was a general plough day."

The editor then goes on to quote extensively from W.Hone's (1837) description of the Yorks., custom of ploughing for a new tenant.

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