Tollerton (SK6134), Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire Guardian (1939b)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
AN ANCIENT CEREMONY : Plough Play Acted At Tollerton
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 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)

*[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Local Notes and Queries: A Plough Monday Custom
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 3rd Feb.1945

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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: A Christmas Miscellany [Tollerton, Notts.]
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 21st Dec.1946

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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
No 'Plough Monday' Revival [at Tollerton]
Nottingham Journal, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*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 the year"

Nottingham Guardian (1948a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
"Plough Monday" Revival: Tollerton Farmers in Ancient Play
Nottingham Journal, 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 quoted.

Nottinghamshire Guardian (1948)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 17th Jan.1948, No.5357, p.3 d

*Identical to Nottingham Guardian (1948c)

Nottingham Evening News (1949)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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 (Ernest Burton)."

Nottingham Guardian (1949b)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Mummers' Visit to Hall Farm: Medieval Play at Tollerton
Nottingham Journal, 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)

[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.

Nottingham Guardian (1950a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
PLOUGH MONDAY: Old Mummery Seen at Notts. Farms [Tollerton, Notts.]
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottingham Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Plough Monday Play Tours Notts Farms [Tollerton]
Nottingham Journal, 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, Hub-Hub, St.George, 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 admission.

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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Plough Week Play at Plumtree
Nottingham Journal, 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 (Doctor).

Relates to Nottingham Journal (1950c).

Nottingham Journal (1950c)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
[Photo of Tollerton, Notts. Ploughboys' Play]
Nottingham Journal, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
[Plough Monday Play, Tollerton, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 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, Col.Jan.1950

*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 (1951)

M. W. Barley (Auth.); E. F. H. D. (Col.)
Plough Plays in Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire Countryside, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
*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 ploughing season.

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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Been "acting the fool" for 40 years [Plough Monday Play at Tollerton, Notts.]
Nottingham Journal, 6th Jan.1951, No.38984, p.3a

"Villagers of Tollerton, Plumtree and Keyworth last night dipped back into the past.

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 years.

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 air-raids.'

The youngest member was 18-year-old Alan Gosling who took 'The Lady'.

Fred Swanborough took the part of the heavily-bearded doctor, who can cure 'all pains inside and out'

The rest of the cast were Archie Stubbs (Sergeant), Joe Sewards (Farmer's Boy), Davey Morris (Dame Jane) and Raymond Clark (Threshing Blade).

After the ten-minute play a collection was taken in aid of St. Dunstan's.

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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
When Farm Folk Danced And Drank Good Ale [Plough Monday customs]
Newark Advertiser, 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].

V.Alford (1952)

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 is captioned;

"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.

"J.Granby" (1952a)

"John Granby" (Auth.)
Local Notes and Queries: (Part One) [Plough Monday]
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 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 as Mr.M.W.Bramley.)

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.

Nottinghamshire Guardian (1952a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 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)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
[Photos of a play from Tollerton, Notts.]
Nottinghamshire Guardian, 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. (1952)

A. S. (Auth.)
*Nottingham Guardian, 13th Dec.1952

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 (1954)

M. W. Barley (Auth.)
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. (1957)

W. E. D. (Auth.)
Plough Monday at Oxton
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Guardian, 12th Jan.1957

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. (1958)

W. E. D. (Auth.)
Local traditions and the story of Christmas
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 27th Dec.1958

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 villages..."

"J.Granby" (1960a)

"John Granby" (Auth.)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Old customs still exist - but some have a "new look" [Plough Monday in Notts.]
*Nottinghamshire Guardian, 12th Mar.1960

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.

"J.Granby" (1960b)

"John Granby" (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Old Christmas customs still survive in Notts.
*Nottingham Guardian Journal, 24th Dec.1960

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
I.T.Jones Collection, 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
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 21st Jan.1981, Ref.K17-2

Transcript of letter to Mrs Blackburn dated 21/1/81 thanking her for her letter.

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