Tollerton (SK6134), Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1939b)
AN ANCIENT CEREMONY : Plough Play Acted At Tollerton
14th Jan.1939, No.4887, pp.1d-f
Description of the plough play at Tollerton on Plough Monday.
Photo with caption:
"PLOUGH MONDAY.- Farm workers of Tollerton, who went
from door to door this week, performing the traditional Plough Monday
play. The characters are (left to right) Tom Fool, the recruiting sergeant,
the doctor, farmers' man, the lady, Dame Jane, and (in front) Threshing
Blade, who has been struck down by the farmer's man"
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1945a)
*Local Notes and Queries: A Plough Monday Custom
Gives quotations from Dr.J.C.Cox (1913) about Plough Monday, and mentioning plough
trailing, Plough or Labourers' Lights, Plough Ales, malicious ploughing and the
sword-dance. He also talks of a play having been performed at Wiverton Hall,
Notts., in 1893, and of the text of the play recently revived at Tollerton,
closely following that in Chaworth-Musters (1890).
Mentions that a plough was blessed in Chichester Cathedral that year, and that
there was an annual ceremony of blessing the crops at Gringley, Notts.
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1946)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: A Christmas Miscellany [Tollerton, Notts.]
An article on various Christmas customs, including:
"OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS.
Father Christmas as a personification
of the festal season has
emerged from the old St. George's
play, in which he has for many
generations played a picturesque
and beneficient part. The play
has been preserved in one form or
another until to-day, and is
incorporated in the Plough Monday
performances as lately revived at
Tollerton and elsewhere in Notts."
Nottingham Guardian (1947)
PLOUGH MONDAY - OBSERVANCES IN TOWN AND COUNTRY
13th Jan.1947, No.28269, p.4c
Oddly enough, the Corporation
of the City of London is one of the
bodies which unfailingly keeps up
a twofold observance of Plough
Monday. On this day, by ancient
usage, a Ward Mote must be held
for the purpose of delivering into
the Court of Aldermen the returns
of those elected to the Court of
Common Council, while the Lord
Mayor later entertains the
Corporation staff at the Mansion
House. During the war the
formal dinner had to be replaced
by luncheon, but this year's Lord
Mayor (Sir Bracewell Smith) is
reviving the Plough Monday dinner."
The following appears later on:
"One of the most picturesque Plough
Monday traditions is associated with
Tollerton, Nottinghamshire, where
for many years it was the custom
to perform a 'plough play.' A
band of men in strange costumes and
with faces painted visited the
farmhouses and other homesteads and
performed the play in return for a
ration of bread and beer. The play
closed with the actors chanting:
'Put bread into our hopper and beer into my can,
Let's hope you never will forget the jolly farmer's man'"
Nottingham Journal (1947)
No 'Plough Monday' Revival [at Tollerton]
13th Jan.1947, No.37749, p.2h
General article concerning Plough Monday in Notts.
Mr.A.H.Brown of Hall Farm is quoted as saying that the play
was performed in Tollerton until the early years of the war
and he hoped to revive it the next year.
The play was performed in the Cropwell Bishop area until 1939.
Nottingham Evening News (1948)
A Newsman's Notebook: PLOUGH MONDAY TO BE CELEBRATED AT TOLLERTON WITH MUMMERS' PLAY
*Nottingham Evening News,
20th Dec.1948, No.19654, p.3 b-c
Mr.A.H.Brown, of Hall Farm, Tollerton, told the reporter
that he and his assistants plan to repeat the mummers play on
Plough Monday which was revived the previous January. It
had previously been revived in 1922, after a lapse of a
century, but was discontinued during the war.
The article quotes the "Gentleman's Magazine" for Dec 1872
that men yoke themselves and draw a plough about with music.
150 years earlier the money was to pay for keeping the
"plough light" lamp burning in the parish church throughout
Nottingham Guardian (1948a)
PLOUGH MONDAY PLAY REVIVED IN NOTTS. [Tollerton]
9th Jan.1948, No.28576, pp.1 c-d
Plough Monday play at Tollerton, Notts. Photo shows seven characters in
costume, grouped around Dame Jane pointing a stick at Tom Fool holding
doll with the caption:
"A scene at a rehearsal last night in the kitchen
of Tollerton Hall farm, of the ancient play to be enacted in the village
in the traditional manner on Monday next (Plough Monday) for the first
time since 1939. The mummers (all men farmworkers) represent (left to
right): Lady Bright and Gay, Dame Jane with the Baby, the Doctor (top
hat), Farmer's Boy, Tom Fool, Threshing Blade, and Recruiting Sergeant
- See Page Three"
Nottingham Guardian (1948b)
NOTTS. MUMMERS IN PLOUGH MONDAY TOUR [Tollerton]
9th Jan.1948, No.28576, p.3 c-d
Announcement of the forthcoming performance of a Plough Boys' Play, to be
performed at Tollerton, Notts., on Plough Monday and the following
Tuesday. The original custom lapsed about 1908, but was revived about 1936 by
Mr.A.H.Brown of Hall Farm. It was discontinued when war broke out. There is a
photo showing seven characters, with Dame Jane presenting the baby to Tom
Fool. The caption indicates that this was the first performance since the
Second World War. The characters are; Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmer's
Boy, Lady Bright and Gay, Dame Jane, Threshing Blade and Doctor. The names of
the actors are given.
Nottingham Guardian (1948c)
Plough Monday: MUMMERS ARE OUT AT TOLLERTON
13th Jan.1948, No.28579, p.1 d
Report of the performance of a Plough Monday play at Tollerton, Notts. The
play was organised by farmer Mr.A.H.Brown, and the actors included four of his
employees, and three others (all named).
Nottingham Journal (1948)
"Plough Monday" Revival: Tollerton Farmers in Ancient Play
9th Jan.1948, No.38056, p.4 e-g
Report of the revival of a Plough Monday play at Tollerton, Notts., the play
have been discontinued in 1939. The actors are all named, and the characters
were; Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Farmer's Boy, Dame Jane, The Lady,
Threshing Blade and Doctor. A photo shows seven characters in costume grouped
round Threshing Blade being examined by the Doctor. A fragment of text is
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1948)
Plough Monday: MUMMERS ARE OUT AT TOLLERTON
17th Jan.1948, No.5357, p.3 d
*Identical to Nottingham Guardian (1948c)
Nottingham Evening News (1949)
Newsman's Notebook: Dying Tradition [Plough Monday Play at Tollerton, Notts.]
*Nottingham Evening News,
12th Jan.1949, No.19673, p.4 d-e
Mr.A.H.Brown of Hall Farm, Tollerton is quoted as saying
that this week's Plough Monday mummers' play at Tollerton
"may be the last time we do the old mummers' play"
Nottingham Guardian (1949a)
KEEPING UP PLOUGH MONDAY TRADITION [Tollerton, Notts.]
8th Jan.1949, No.28886, p.4 c-e
Plough Monday play at Tollerton, Notts. Photo showing seven characters in
costumes, watching Tom Fool knocking on door. Very similar to Nottingham
Journal (1949). The caption reads;
"Tom Fool (George Ayto) knocking for admission at Hall Farm, Tollerton, last
night, when the village Plough Monday mummers started their tour of the
district. Other characters seen are the Doctor (Fred Swanborough), Lady
Bright and Gay (Fred Hutchinson), Dame Jane - and baby (Percy Morris), Farmer's
Man (Joe Seward), Thrashing Blade (Archie Stubbs) and Recruiting Sergeant
Nottingham Guardian (1949b)
PLOUGH MONDAY PLAYERS CALL [Tollerton, Notts.]
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)
Mummers' Visit to Hall Farm: Medieval Play at Tollerton
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 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.
Nottingham Guardian (1950a)
PLOUGH MONDAY: Old Mummery Seen at Notts. Farms [Tollerton, Notts.]
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)
TOLLERTON MUMMERS' PLAY
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 (1950a)
Plough Monday Play Tours Notts Farms [Tollerton]
7th Jan.1950, No.38675, p.5h
"A familiar face was missing
when the Tollerton "Ploughboys"
gathered at Hall Farm,
Tollerton, last night, to tour the
neighbouring farms and cottages
with the Plough Monday play.
This centuries-old tradition was
revived at Tollerton a few years
ago by a farmer Mr. A.H.Brown,
who died last September, but his
wife has carried on the work and
organised the players.
And so last night, Plough Bullock,
Recruiting Sergeant, Old Squire
and the rest, in the traditional
costumes, went from farm to farm
and performed their mumming,
which starts by knocking for
The players will tour the
district for about a week and the
most important might well, of
course, be on Monday."
The list of characters is different to those given for other accounts of the
Tollerton plough play. It does, however, tally with q list given by C.Brown (1891),
which itself seems to have drawn on a Cornish play published by W.S. in W.Hone's
"Every-Day Book" (1927).
Nottingham Journal (1950b)
Plough Week Play at Plumtree
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
Relates to Nottingham Journal (1950c).
Nottingham Journal (1950c)
[Photo of Tollerton, Notts. Ploughboys' Play]
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)
[Plough Monday Play, Tollerton, Notts.]
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."
English Folk Dance & Song Society Collection (1950, M.Shepherd)
Miss Marjorie Shepherd (Col.)
*The Plough Boys [from Tollerton, Nottinghamshire]
*English Folk Dance & Song Society Collection,
*Full text (182 lines) of a Plough Monday Plough Boys' play from
Tollerton, Notts., performed in January 1950. The characters are:
Tom Fool/Bold Tom/Tommy, Recruiting Sergeant/Murphy, Farmer's Man,
Lady, Dame Jane/Jinny, Threshing Blade, and Doctor.
M. W. Barley (Auth.); E. F. H. D. (Col.)
Plough Plays in Nottinghamshire
Oct.1951, Vol.13, No.2, pp.1-2
This is a request for information on Plough monday plays. Brief descriptions
are given of the sort of information wanted, together with outlines of the
possible historical implications of Plough Monday and of the questions it is
hoped to answer. The names Plough Boys, or Jacks, or Jags, or Stots, or
Bullocks are mentioned. He particularly asks for information on plough
trailing, sword dances, and customs from western Notts., similar to those found
in Derbys. & Yorks., such as Christmas Mummers, sword dances and Morris dances.
In a brief mention of Hobby Horses, he notes the Christmas play of the "Poor Owd
'Oss" from Mansfield in the A.S.Buxton Collection, and other occurrences at
Cuckney and Elkesley. He already had information on Plough Monday plays from
the Notts. villages of; Blidworth, Mansfield, East Bridgford, Bothamsall,
Cropwell, Clayworth, Flintham, Selston, Walesby, Whatton, Worksop, Norwell,
Averham, Tollerton, and North Leverton.
Appended is the final song of a play from Blidworth, Notts., collected in 1925
by E.F.H.D. This was in fact first published in 1948 (E.F.H.D., 1948).
Nottingham Evening News (1951)
Newsman's Notebook: MUMMERS' PLAY AGAIN AT TOLLERTON
*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
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)
Been "acting the fool" for 40 years [Plough Monday Play at Tollerton, Notts.]
6th Jan.1951, No.38984, p.3a
"Villagers of Tollerton,
Plumtree and Keyworth last
night dipped back into the
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
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
The youngest member was
18-year-old Alan Gosling who took
Fred Swanborough took the
part of the heavily-bearded doctor,
who can cure 'all pains inside and
The rest of the cast were Archie
Stubbs (Sergeant), Joe Sewards
(Farmer's Boy), Davey Morris
(Dame Jane) and Raymond Clark
After the ten-minute play a
collection was taken in aid of St.
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"
Newark Advertiser (1951a)
When Farm Folk Danced And Drank Good Ale [Plough Monday customs]
10th Jan.1951, Vol.98, No.4970, p.2c-e
Inspired by the Plough Sunday plough blessing at Newark
Parish Church, this article describes Plough Monday customs and
beliefs from unnamed published sources. They include plough trailing,
the Tollerton Plough Monday mummers' play, claiming a "Cockerel in
the pot" for Shrove-tide, plough lights, and Goose-Dancing house
visiting in the Scilley Islands [sic].
Violet Alford (Auth.)
Introduction to English Folklore
London: G.Bell & Son Ltd., 1952
This is a general folklore book, with the main chapter headings; I. What
Folklore is, II. The Calendar, III. Village Seasonal Life, IV. Our Dances and
Drama, V. Our Songs and Their Folklore, VI. Our Tales, and VII. A Page of
Magic. Chapter IV is subdivided into; 1. The Sword Dance, 2. The Play
[i.e. the St. George Play], 3. The Other Play [i.e. the Plough Play], 4. The
Morris Dance, and 5. Our Country Dances.
A number of plays from from all over the country are aluded to, but none in
any individual detail. A.Brice's reference to the play in Exeter (allegedly
1738) is given, as is the tune of the Mummers' Carol from Overton, Hants.
One of the photographs (facing p.40) shows seven characters in costume, and
"Ib. Plough Play Mummers, Tollerton, Notts., coming down the street." This
does not appear to be referred to in the text of the book. The list of
illustrations credits the photo to the "Nottingham Guardian".
Other photos show; The Old Tup from Handsworth, Yorks., the White Horse of
the Burringham, Lincs., Plough Jags, North Waltham, Hants., Mummers, and the
Wild Horse, Antrobus, Ches., 1952.
"John Granby" (Auth.)
Local Notes and Queries: (Part One) [Plough Monday]
5th Jan.1952, No.5564, p.10 a-b
General notes on Plough Monday, mentioning revivals in Derbys. and Yorks.
("with or without the sword-dance"), and the play at Tollerton, Notts. Cites
M.W.Barley's (1951) appeal for information on plough-bullocks (incorrectly given
Nottingham Journal (1952)
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.
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1952a)
IN AID OF SAINT DUNSTAN'S: TOLLERTON PLOUGH BOYS: CALL AT HALL FARM TO PERFORM
12th Jan.1952, No.5565, p.3 a-f
Seven photos:- (1) Tom Fool making up face in front of a mirror, (2)
Recruiting Sergeant saluting, (3) Farmer's Man adjusting Doctor's beard, (4)
Threshing Blade alone, brandishing a rolled up sack, (5) Six of group in
costume facing camera, with Tom Fool just out of shot (6) Lady tickling chin of
doll in Dame Jane's arms, and (7) Seven in costume, waiting outside the farm,
with Tom Fool knocking on the door.
The only caption reads; "War and blackout killed this age-old custom, but it
was revived as soon as fighting ceased".
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1952b)
[Photos of a play from Tollerton, Notts.]
12th Jan.1952, No.5565, p.8 a
*Two photos:- (1) Tom Fool holding out money box to audience, and
(2) Seven characters, Doctor dosing Threshing Blade on floor.
A. S. (Auth.)
A BULLOCKING WE WILL GO
General discussion of Plough Bullocking at Christmas and New Year in Notts.
and Derbys. The actors played "St. George and the Dragon". A revival at
Tollerton, Notts. is mentioned.
M. W. Barley (Auth.)
ADDENDA ET CORRIGENDA: PLOUGH PLAYS IN THE EAST MIDLANDS (See JOURNAL E.F.D.S.S. Vol.VII, No.2, 1953): NOTES
Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society,
Dec.1954, Vol.7, No.3, p.184
Supplementing his 1953 paper (see TD00015), Barley states:
"The Donington document (pp.70-71): It is quite plain that this refers not to a Plough play, but
possibly to a Mystery, as Miss Alford and Miss Dean-Smith have remarked.
Tunes (pp.77-78): In addition to the wassail song the Tollerton Plough play includes a song sung
by the Recruiting Sergeant, 'Come all you lads that's bound for listing...'
Morris dancers (p.79, lines 8-9 and p.86, n.5): It appears that it might be wrong to regard the
Lincolnshire instances of Plough Boys calling themselves Morris dancers as merely the result of
popular confusion. 'Morris dancers' made their last appearance at Burgh le Marsh at Christmas,
1886 (MS. History of Burgh le Marsh by C.Brears, p.48, Nottingham University Library). Mr. Aram
of Helpringham, Lincs., has stated that 'the Morris dancers went round with the Plough Boys; they
used broomsticks to dance with'. I understand the Mrs. Barbara Lowe intends to deal with this
and other similar evidence in a study of the early Morris. (Editor's note: See page 186 of this Journal)."
English Dance & Song (1956)
[Nottingham Journal] (Photo.)
Photograph: Tollerton Plough Play
English Dance & Song,
Jan./Feb.1956, Vol.XX, No.3, Cover
Photograph showing five characters, with the Doctor examining his recumbent patient.
The photograph itself is not captioned, the title and attribution coming from the contents list.
W. E. D. (Auth.)
Plough Monday at Oxton
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Guardian,
Description of play at Oxton, Notts., taken from T.Shipside (1956). This
mentions the characters; Tom Fool, Farmer's Man, Eezie Squee-sum, Lady,
Recruiting Sergeant, Dame Jane, Devil/Beelzebub and Doctor.
There is also a photo captioned; "Tollerton revived the Plough Monday round of
play performances at local farms a few years ago. The characters in this
picture are: Recruiting Sergeant, Tom Fool, Dame Jane, Farmer's Man, Lady Bright
and Gay, Threshing Blade and the Doctor." It shows the Doctor dosing a
recumbent Farmer's Man, with the others looking on in the background.
W. E. D. (Auth.)
Local traditions and the story of Christmas
Article quotes W.Howitt (1838) and other Christmas customs.
"Yet, by survival or revival, guising (mumming) is popular around
Norwell and at Weston-on-Trent today, or was until a few years ago;
the Plough Monday play has been resuscitated at Tollerton and other
"John Granby" (Auth.)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Old customs still exist - but some have a "new look" [Plough Monday in Notts.]
Article on extant customs in Nottinghamshire.
"The Monday closest to that date (January 6) is Plough Monday,
the day on which the plough was taken round a parish by youths
and men, who probably never knew that the money collected from
cottagers and others was originally for the maintenance of the
farmers' light in church and pocketed it for themselves.
This lingered long into the Victorian era at Radford and Bulwell,
but roughness crept in and it was generally abandoned, though the
accompanying folk-drama and mumming seem never to have quite died
out locally. Mrs. Chaworth-Musters's 'Cavalier Stronghold' gives
full details of the play as performed at Wiverton 50 years ago;
early in the present century it was flourishing at Caunton, and
since then it has been revived at Tollerton and East Markham
and perhaps elsewhere."
Other customs mentioned include ringing the pancake-bell on Shrove Tuesday,
sports and games on hills on the same day, Mothering Sunday, simnel cakes,
and clipping the church.
"John Granby" (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Old Christmas customs still survive in Notts.
*Nottingham Guardian Journal,
Article on Christmas customs extant in Nottinghamshire.
"...until recently musicians and *'guisers' in fantastic attire were
to be heard and seen at Weston-on-Trent as the mummers were in the
Norwell district on Christmas Eve."
"*'GUYSER' – Here we see the use of the word 'Guiser.' It was used by
W.H.Lawrence [sic] in the story he wrote around this custom of dressing
up and which appeared in the Weekly Guardian of 1907 under the name of
Jessie Chambers of Haggs Farm. It was Lawrence's first published work –
and the story submitted in his own name was returned. He used this ruse
to submit more than one entry because the conditions of the competition
stipulated one only. The story was reprinted in the Christmas Weekly of
December 1949. 'Guyser' is the form used by Lawrence."
Plough Monday falls on the Monday after Twelfth Night
and although villagers no longer perambulate with a plough in quest of
pence for the maintenance of the 'ploughman's light' in their parish
church the custom has been revived in modernised form in which the old
folk-drama has been retained.
About half-a-century ago Mrs. L. Chaworth-Musters reintroduced it at
Wiverton, Caunton copied it; in 1935 the Boy Scouts performed the
traditional play at East Markham and in 1939 it was resuscitated at
Tollerton. The plough is represented by pieces of shaped paper, the
actors are lavishly tricked out with beribboned fancy costumes, 'Bessie'
is still a boy in feminine guise; the quack doctor restores the slain
man to life, and wooden swords and humorous buffonery prevailed as of yore."
'W.H.Lawrence' is evidently a misprint for D.H.Lawrence.
I.T.Jones Collection (1981, J.Blackburn - a)
Mrs. J. Blackburn (Inf.)
Tollerton, Notts: Questionnaire from Mrs J. Blackburn, Tollerton 20/1/81
Com. 20th Jan.1981, Ref.K17-1
Questionnaire from Mrs J.Blackburn, Hall Farm, Tollerton received 20/1/81.
She writes that the Plough Boys play in Tollerton was revived after the
1939-45 war by Mr A.Brown of Hall Farm. They started at Hall Farm and
then performed at other houses as requested. She writes:
"I think the play, lasting about 7 or 8 minutes, was performed for charity. I have
a copy of the script and photographs of the actors in the year 1951 or
2. Those taking part were all men, several of whom worked on this farm,
the others were men from other farms and one was a chimney sweep who lived
in Keyworth. All wore special clothing – the players were a clown, a doctor,
a soldier, a lady with a baby, recruiting sergeant and farmer's man."
I.T.Jones Collection (1981, J.Blackburn - b)
Mrs. J. Blackburn (Inf.)
Tollerton, Notts: Letter to Mrs Blackburn 21/1/81
Com. 21st Jan.1981, Ref.K17-2
Transcript of letter to Mrs Blackburn dated 21/1/81 thanking her for her
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