Underwood (SK4750), Nottinghamshire

M.W.Barley Collection (1950, G.Christian)

Garth Christian (Col.)
THE CHRISTMAS MUMMERS [Play from Underwood, Notts.]
M.W.Barley Collection, Col. Dec.1950, Ref.Ba P 1/35

Full text (126 lines) of a Christmas Mummers or Guisers play performed in Underwood, Notts., in 1950. The characters are; Bold Slasher, Father Christmas, St. George, Doctor, Cut-the-Dash, Little Johnny Jack, Oliver Cromwell, Beelzebub and Little Devil Doubt.

G.Christian (1951a)

Garth Christian (Auth.)
Derbyshire Countryside, Jan./Mar.1951, Vol.18, No.5, p.92

The folk plays performed at Christmas by Mummers in the Erewash Valley are described. Extracts are quoted from Underwood, Notts., (last seen by the author in 1944), and Jacksdale, Notts. The villages around Ilkeston, Derbys., are also included in the discussion. The supposed pagan origins of the plays are mentioned.

G.Christian (1951b)

Garth Christian (Auth.)
It's an old Underwood custom
Nottingham Journal, 24th Dec.1951, No.39284, p.4 d-e

The then current Mummers play performed at Christmas Eve in Underwood, Notts. is described at length, with extracts from a text collected by A.K.Gill. Characters mentioned are; Saint George, Bold Slasher, Father Christmas, Doctor, Beelzebub, and Little Devil Doubt. A revival at Boxgrove, Sussex before the Second World War is also mentioned.

M.W.Barley Collection (1953, G.Christian)

Garth Christian (Inf.)
[Christmas Guisers Play in Underwood, Notts.]
M.W.Barley Collection, Com. 25th Apr.1953, Ref.Ba P 1/35

Letter accompanying an Underwood text (M.W.Barley Collection, 1950, G.Christian). It includes text fragments for Beelzebub and Slasher from a Christmas Guisers play from Underwood, Notts., as performed in the 1940s and 1951. St. George, Doctor and Oliver Cromwell are also mentioned. Jacksdale Guisers also visited the village. He cites a "Derbyshire Advertiser" report of the Uttoxeter Mummers in 1952.

G.Christian (1954)

*Garth Christian (Auth.)
*On the Eve of Christmas
*Nottingham Journal, c.1954

Article describing Christmas Eve Guisers' plays from Underwood and Jacksdale, Notts. It includes fragments of text and mentions a radio broadcast of the play from Underwood on 13th Jan.1954. Characters mentioned are; [Introducer], St. George, Bold Slasher, and Doctor.

A manuscript copy of this article in P.T.Millington Collection (1973, H.Hyde) is headed "Quoted from the 'Nottingham Journal' between 20 & 30 years ago". However, the covering letter talks of the "Nottingham Guardian Journal".

Nottingham Guardian Journal (1954)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
SYMBOLISM OF PLOUGH MONDAY PLAYS [Underwood, Notts. & Barrow-on-Humber, Lincs.]
Nottingham Guardian Journal, 14th Jan.1954, No.J39921/G30441, p.3d

"Excerpts from traditional folk plays recorded in Notts and Lincolnshire recently were presented in a North Regional unscripted broadcast by Mr. Maurice Barley, of Nottingham University, last night. He was assisted by Mr. Colin Shaw.

Mr Barley toured the East Midlands in a BBC recording car and watched Plough Monday plays this week. He described the scenes and their symbolism."

There is a brief general description of the plays.

"A recording of last Friday's Christmas Mother's play at Underwood was broadcast and listeners heard a recording of the Barrow-on-Humber, North Lincolnshire, play."

M.W.Barley Collection (1954b)

[Maurice Willmore Barley] (Col.)
GUYSERS! [Play from Underwood, Notts.]
*M.W.Barley Collection, Perf. 8th Jan.1954, Ref.Ba P 1/35 (?)

Transcript (72 lines) of a Guysers play from Underwood, Notts., performed in 1954. It was made by amending a typescript of an Ironville text (M.W.Barley Collection, 1953, R.L.Kirk). The characters are; Opener In, St. George, Jack Slasher [combatant], Tom Slasher [Jack's father], Doctor/Dr. Brown, Belzebub and Devildoubt.

Country Life (1965)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
TOWN AND COUNTRY: WHERE MUMMERS STILL SURVIVE [Guisers from Underwood, Notts. and Mummers from Symondsbury, Marshfield, South Verney and Sussex]
Country Life, 16th Dec.1965, Vol.CXXXVIII, No.3589, p.1683a

Article reads;

"'I am a Doctor',
'What is thy fee?'
'Five, pounds, but seeing as I know thee,
I'll charge thee ten.'

These words, heard from within a village barn, serve as a timely reminder that Christmas is near and the mummers are rehearsing in at least one or two villages in England. A century ago there must have been as many versions of this ancient play as there were villages. Few of the ploughboys who performed them realised that their drama of St. George and the Turkish Knight, and the Doctor with his sacred 'opplis poplis drops' probably formed a legacy from the Elizabethan chap-book versions, which may well have been derived from primitive rituals.

The Underwood Guisers, in the Nottinghamshire coalfield, whom the BBC recorded in 1949, seem to have lost the habit of annual performances a year or two later. The Folk Dance and Song Society, in 1951, made a colour film of the Symondsbury (Dorset) Mummers, whose players learned their lines, like the Underwood Guisers, 'from them as did it last year,' or by 'oral transmission,' to quote the official jargon. The Marshfield Mummers, in Gloucestershire, were revived in 1932 by the village schoolmaster, Mr. F.C. Thomas. A year or two ago the choirboys of South Verney, in the same county, also revived it; and a group of mummers in the Ouse valley near Lewes, Sussex, have performed each Christmas Eve since 1950."

[South Verney appears to be a misprint for South Cerney.]

P.S.Smith Collection (1967, J.G.Storr & J.Sharrard)

J. G. Storr (Inf.); J. Sharrard (Inf.)
CHRISTMAS FOLK DRAMA [Bull Guisers in Selston, Notts.]
P.S.Smith Collection, Col. Summer 1967

Front of 5 inch by 8 inch record card reads:

At Christmas, 'bull guisers' used to go round from door to door in Selston reciting rhymes and acting short plays. This was also common in the Eastwood area and mention is made of the guisers in 'The Rainbow' by D.H. Lawrence. I am not sure whether the practice still continues, but within my memory guisers from this area have performed at an inn in Nuthall, my previous home (about five miles from Selston). A popular play performed by the mummers of the Selston area was about Saint George. The B.B.C. once recorded it.
---> over
J.G.Storr Living in Sheffield, born Nuthall, Notts.

Retired collier 65-70 Selston (Underwood)

As a boy in Selston

Summer 1967 18.1.70"

The reverse of the record card reads:

" Boys used to go round in groups of four or five, bang open the
door and say 'I open the door, I enter in
I beg our pardon to be in
Whether I stand or sit or fall
I'll do my duty to please you all
A room! A room! (or words to that effect).
Then 'Bull Guy' would enter. Sometimes, for mischief, they would begin: 'I open the door, I enter in,
I'll fight your father to begin.' etc."

P.T.Millington Collection (1971, M.Fox)

Mr. Maurice Fox (Perf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. 12th Jan.1971

Text of a [Christmas] Guysers play from Underwood, Notts., including a description of the costumes. It was performed about 1940, and had the characters; Opener In, Saint George, Slasher, Doctor and Beelzebub.

P.T.Millington Collection (1971, T.Thorpe)

Mr. Tom Thorpe (Perf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. 30th Jan.1971

Brief text (41 lines) of a Christmas play performed by Guysers in Bagthorpe and Underwood, Notts. The itinerary included Felley Priory, Notts. The characters were Opener In, Saint George, Slasher, Doctor, Beelzebub and Devil Dout. Text recorded on audio cassette.

P.T.Millington Collection (1971k)

Anon. (Perf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. 24th Dec.1971

Full text of a short (26 lines) Christmas Guysers play, noted down at its performance in Brinsley, Notts. The itinerary also included Underwood and Bagthorpe, Notts. The three characters were Beelzebub, Saint George and Doctor.

P.T.Millington Collection (1971, A.Dakin)

Arthur Dakin (Perf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. 22nd Dec.1971

Text (52 lines) of a Guysers play from Underwood, Notts., performed before 1914 at Christmas. The words were taken from a chapbook purchased from Eastwood, Notts. The characters were Saint George, Slasher, Doctor, Beelzebub and Devil Doubt. Paper-covered costumes were worn.

Nottingham Guardian Journal (1971)

*Anon. (Auth.)
*NOTTM. TRAD MUSIC CLUB [Appeal by the Research Workshop]
*Nottingham Guardian Journal, 25th May 1971

*Appeal for information by the Research Workshop of the Nottingham Traditional Music Club, particularly traditional plays. The collection of a Guyser's play from Underwood, Notts., is mentioned, which was last performed in 1940 [P.T.Millington Collection (1971, M.Fox)]. The researchers are named.

P.T.Millington (1972b)

Peter T. Millington (Auth.)
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 4th Feb.1972, Vol.75, No.4067, p.8 i

This letter summarises information received following an article published by the author three weeks earlier. The replies gave information on; Christmas, Guysers' plays performed at Underwood and Brinsley, Notts., and Heanor and Pinxton, Derbys., a Christmas, Bull Guysers' play from Selston, Notts., and a Plough Monday, Plough Bullockers' play from Kimberley, Notts. Information was also received concerning a Scottish play [Tillicoultry, Clack.].

The form of the name "Plough Bullockers" was probably copied from a respelling introduced by the newspaper editor into the original article, which in manuscript used the form "Plough Bullocks".

P.T.Millington (1972c)

Peter T. Millington (Auth.)
Let's revive The Guysers !
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 22nd Dec.1972, Vol.75, No.4113, p.3 f-g

This article gives a perhaps ill conceived, Christmas Guysers (Guysering) text for use by children to keep the custom going. The article also appeals for further information from the readers.

The text (58 lines) was compiled from words sent in by readers mostly from Underwood and Brinsley, Notts. Ideas are given for costumes, and the characters are; Opener In, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Bellzebub and Devil Doubt.

P.T.Millington Collection (1972, K.Smith)

Mr. K. Smith (Inf.)
[Christmas, Guysers play from Underwood, Notts.]
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. 15th Jan. 1972

Text of a Christmas Guysers play from Underwood, Notts. performed about 1943. This was also performed at Felley Priory, Bagthorpe and Annesley, Notts. The characters are Opener, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Belzebub and Little Devil Doubt.

P.T.Millington Collection (1972, K.Simpson)

Keith Simpson (Perf.)
[Christmas Guisers' play from Underwood, Notts.]
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. 8th Feb.1972

Text of a Christmas Guisers' or Mummers' play as performed in Underwood, Notts. about 1944 and 1945. The characters are Opener In, St. George, Slasher, Doctor and Bellzebub. The extensive description lists other performers, and the people who provided the text.

P.T.Millington Collection (1972, F.Winfield)

Mrs. F. Winfield (Inf.)
[Christmas Guysers play from Underwood, Notts.]
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. 16th Jan. 1972

Fragments of text of a Christmas Guysers play performed in Underwood, Notts. The characters are Behelzebub, St. George and Dr. Brown.

P.T.Millington Collection (1972, B.L.Hodgkinson)

B. L. Hodgkinson (Perf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. 16th Jan.1972

Full Text (110 lines) of a Christmas Guysers play performed in Underwood, Notts., in 1935 and 1936. The characters are "Opener In", Saint George, Slasher, Slasher's Father, Doctor, and Belzebub or Little Devil Doubt [Alternatives].

P.T.Millington Collection (1972, M.E.Sisson)

Miss M. E. Sisson (Inf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. 16th Jan.1972

The text (74 lines) of a Guisers play performed in the Underwood, Bagthorpe and Brinsley districts of Notts. The characters were Door-man (played by Alan Gill), St. George (played by the informant's youngest brother), Slasher, Tom Slasher (Slasher's father), Doctor, Beelzebub, and Little Devil Doubt. M.W.Barley arranged for the B.B.C. to record a performance in 1953, and this was broadcast on the 13th Jan.1954.

R.W.Storer (1975)

R. W. Storer (Auth.)
Victorian Selston [includes Bull Guysing fragment]
Selston: Worker's Education Association, 1975, p.54

This is a general local history of the Parish of Selston, Notts., which includes Bagthorpe, Underwood and Jacksdale. The following appears on page 54;

"Older children and adults took the mumming plays or 'Bull Guysing' to the public houses and for a few of the better-off houses. These plays had their origin in Mediaeval Times and the acting or spoken word portrayed either the Christian Festivals, the New Year, the Saints, etc. Some older readers may well remember the cheery character of the blackened face of Bel-zebub and his final lines at the Christmas play:-

In comes owd Bel-zebub,
On me back a' carry me club,
In me 'and a dripping pan,
Don't yo'u think I'm a jolly old man,
If yo'u don't, I do.
Plum puddings hot, Plum puddings cow'd,
Plum puddings in the pot nine days owd,
If you think I'm a fool and got no sense,
put yo'ur hand in yo'ur pocket and gimme a few pence.

These plays have survived in certain parts of the country and in particular in the Erewash valley until recent times."

P.T.Millington Collection (1975, W.Cook)

Mrs. W. Cook (Inf.)
A version of "Guysers" from Underwood, Notts.
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. Apr.1975

Text (47 lines) of a Guysers play from Underwood, Notts., performed at Christmas. The characters are; 1st Character, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Belzebub and Devil Doubt

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, E.Durrant - a)

Mrs. E. Durrant (Intermediary)
Underwood/Selston/Bagthorpe, Notts: Letter from Mrs E. Durrant, New Brinsley 7/1/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 7th Jan.1981, Ref.K9-1

Letter from Mrs Durrant, New Brinsley. She suggested getting in touch with Professor Barley at Nottingham University who she believed had done research into plays in Underwood.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, E.Durrant - b)

Mrs. E. Durrant (Inf.)
Underwood/Selston/Bagthorpe, Notts: Letter to Mrs Durrant 10/1/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 10th Jan.1981, Ref.K9-2

Transcript of letter dated 10/1/81 thanking Mrs Durrant for her letter.

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, E.Durrant - c)

Mrs. E. Durrant (Inf.)
Underwood/Selston/Bagthorpe, Notts: Letter from Mrs Durrant 7/2/81
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 7th Feb.1981, Ref.K9-3

Letter from Mrs Durrant, enclosing questionnaire from Mrs I.M.O'Brien (TD00673)

I.T.Jones Collection (1981, I.M.O'Brien)

Mrs. I. M. O'Brien (Inf.)
Underwood/Selston/Bagthorpe, Notts: Questionnaire from Mrs I.M.O'Brien
I.T.Jones Collection, 7th Feb 1981, Ref.K9-4

Questionnaire from Mrs O'Brien, age 60, who was born in Selston and now lives in Underwood giving some of her recollections and some from Mrs R. Kirk. 63 lines of text given from the Bagthorpe area with characters Announcer, St. George, Slasher, Father, Doctor, Beelzebub and Little Devil Doubt. 7 Lines of text given from the play performed in Selston. Performances remembered up to 1944 in Underwood. Players referred to locally as 'Guysers' or 'Bull guysers'

I.T.Jones Collection (1982, I.T.Jones & A.Cockburn)

Mr. Idwal Jones (Col.); Miss Ann Cockburn (Col.)
Radio Nottingham Phone-In: Tape and Notes
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 8th Jan.1982, Ref.L1-1

Tape and notes of a live phone-in on Radio Nottingham on Plough Monday 8/1/82 with the topic Plough Monday and Folk Customs. In the studio were Anne Cockburn and Idwal Jones with the interviewer Ms.Freddie Gaunt

Tape Counter (10 = ca.35 seconds):

93-114: Introduction and discussion in studio

180-196: Discussion in studio on the ancient society of horsemen

196-242: Discussion in studio on mummers plays and IJ singing the Owd 'Oss song.

242-294: Fred Buckley phoning in re the Plough Monday play in Blidworth.

294-347: Ethel Glossop phoning in re the Plough Monday play in Cotgrave.

375-425: Charles from Long Eaton phoning in re customs in Norfolk relating to the ancient society of horsemen.

425-432: Announcement about the Calverton Plough Boys performing in Oxton and Epperstone on 9th and 10th January 1982.

437-472: IJ singing the version of Good Master and Good Mistress used by the Owd 'Oss Mummers and discussion in studio.

472-505: George from Nuthall phoning in re guising in Brinsley and Underwood.

505-535: Gerry Fearnley phoning in re an Old Horse play in Bulwell.

535-551: Studio discussion on New Year customs.

551-572: Ann Frett phoning in re play from Scotland.

572-575: Closing remarks.

I.T.Jones Collection (1982, George)

[Mr. George Surname Unknown] (Inf.)
Radio Nottingham Phone-In: George
I.T.Jones Collection, Com. 8th Jan.1982, Ref.L1-4

George from Nuthall rang the phone-in. Some 50 years previously they used to do a play around Christmas time in the Brinsley and Underwood area. They called themselves guisers. The play included St. George of England and Slasher who used to fight. There was a song very similar to Good Master and Good Mistress sung earlier by IJ. He used to play Beelzebub when he was 5 or 6 years of age. Adults taught them the play but only children took part.They used to earn over one pound each in 2 or 3 evenings which used to pay for all their Christmas presents.

Nottinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes (1989)

Nottinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes (Comp.)
The Nottinghamshire Village Book: Compiled by the Nottinghamshire Federation of Women's Institutes from notes and illustrations sent by Institutes in the County [Includes notes on Plough Monday, Bullguysers and other customs]
Newbury: Countryside Books, & Newark, NFWI, 1989, 1-85306-057-7, 191pp.

This book is compilation of short pieces on about 148 Notts., villages giving descriptions, histories and reminiscences. There are numerous mentions of customs, legends and ghosts. The following are of particular interest.

Caunton (p.41) quotes S.R.Hole's (1901) description of the Rang-Tang.

From Kirklington (pp.98-99) we have;

"Plough Monday was always kept on the second Monday in January when the farmworkers of the village went the rounds of the village and acted a play in every house where they were invited. They were given mince pies and ale or money. The exit lines of the play were:

'We are the country plough lads
That go from door to door
Good Master and Good Mistress
As you sit by your fire
Remember us good plough lads
That work through mud and mire
So bring us out a good pork pie
And a jug of your best beer
We wish you all good night
And another Happy Year'"

At Laxton (p.106) it states; "On the first Monday in January, Plough Monday, ancient Mummer plays were enacted, a tradition which has sadly disappeared."

A frontispiece signed D.A.Shaw (p.8) illustrates "Plough Sunday at Tithby", and the text says;

"Despite attuning to the needs of the present day, old customs and rites are not forgotten and are practised. One farmer breeds and works Suffolk Punches, another farmer maintains a herd of Highland cattle, and on Plough Sunday the plough is still brought into Holy Trinity Church to be blessed." (p.163)

There is a good description from Underwood with Bagthorpe (p.167);

"Mummer's plays were a feature of life in the area until the Second World War. Dressed in bizarre costumes and with blackened faces, local youths with a pretended show of force, would gatecrash Christmas gatherings in houses and pubs to re-enact the age-old story of the triumph of life over death in Nature, the origins of which go back beyond pre-Christian times. Over the centuries the performances had become pure knock-about farce. However, there existed an instinctive respect for their antiquity and no door was ever barred against the Bullguysers. Unfortunately, to safeguard the blackout in the war years, the police had to insist that the Mummers should play no more and another age-old custom was lost."

From Woodborough (pp.86-87), several speeches are quoted from a Plough Monday play, seeming to comprise a complete but brief text (18 lines). Characters mentioned are Easom Squeesom, Big Belly Ben, a Soldier and Doctor.

P.T.Millington Collection (1991, G.S.Bennieston)

Mr. G. S. Bennieston (Perf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. Feb.1991

Information about a Guysers play performed in Underwood, Notts., between 1953 and 1958 or 1959. The characters were; Opener, Little Devil Doubt, Saint George, Doctor Brown and Beelzebub. The fight was between Little Devil Doubt and Saint George, and Saint George lost. There were three teams operating in Underwood at the time. The itinerary (on foot) covered Underwood, Annesley, Moorgreen, Newthorpe, Kimberley, Eastwood, Jacksdale and Selston. They performed Christmas Eve, Christmas Night and Boxing Night. They had a standing engagement on Christmas Night at Felley Priory.

P.Millington (1991b)

Peter Millington (Auth.)
Do Guysers still exist? [West Notts., plays]
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 20th Dec.1991, Vol.94, No.5099, p.14 a-b

Description of accounts communicated following an appeal for information on Christmas Guysers earlier in 1991. There is a description of the play performed by Mr. Tom Thorpe in Bagthorpe in the 1930s. This had the characters; Opener In, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Belzibub and Devildowt. Belzibub's speech is quoted. In the 1950s, Mr.G.S.Bennieston performed in a team in Underwood. They also went to Annesley, Moorgreen, Newthorpe, Kimberley, Eastwood, Jacksdale, Selston and Felley Priory. There is a long description of Mrs. Barbara Faulconbridge's experiences with Bullguysers in Selston, in which she also mentions one of her sons seeing Guysers performing in Awsworth in 1990. The Selston teams eventually took to going to Somercotes, Derbys. Finally, there is a mention of the annual Guysing performed by the Ripley Morris Men in Ripley, Derbys. Syd Barber collected their play from Mr. Percy Cook of Ripley.

P.Millington (1991c)

Peter Millington (Auth.)
*Do Guysers still exist? [West Notts., plays]
*Ripley & Heanor News, 21st Dec.1991, Vol.102

Syndicated article - see P.Millington (1991b).

Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser (1993a)

Anon. (Auth.)
GUISER'S STAGE A COMEBACK [in Underwood, Notts.]
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 31st Dec.1993, Vol.94, No.5205, p.2e-h

Description of the revival of the Christmas Guisers' or Mummers play originally performed by five of the six performers as children in the 1940s in Underwood, Notts. The characters were; Opener In, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Belgebub [misprint for Belzebub] and Devildoubt. Performances were given to the Haggs Farm Preservation Society (because of an interest arising from D.H.Lawrence mentioning the play in "The White Peacock"), and venues in Bagthorpe, Underwood and Brinsley. A list of the actors is included.

Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser (1993b)

Anon. (Auth.)
Spreading the Christmas message [School performance of St. George Play in Underwood, Notts.]
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 31st Dec.1993, Vol.94, No.5205, p.10c-f

Report of performances of "A Medieval Christmas" by Underwood Church of England School in Underwood Church. Among the scenes, "Erewash Class performed the mummers' play 'St George'..." There is a photo of this scene captioned "Swords crossed brave warriors do battle in the story of St George." This shows nine characters. In the foreground, with swords crossed, are St. George and his adversary with a sword and crescent shield [Turkish Knight?]. Other recognisable characters are a Dragon, the Doctor and someone dressed as an Egyptian Pharaoh [King of Egypt?]. Another character is dressed as a medieval lady

Haggs Farm Preservation Society Newsletter (1993a)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
"DUN YER WANT GUYSERS" [Christmas Guysers play in a D.H.Lawrence short story]
Haggs Farm Preservation Society Newsletter, Jun.1993, No.12, pp.3-4

Notes on the Christmas Guysers play around which D.H.Lawrence's (1907) short story "A Prelude" was based. This was published under the pseudonym "Jessie Chambers", with the action taking place around Haggs Farm, Underwood, Notts. The characters Beelzebub and St. George are mentioned, plus facial disguise and a fragment of text - the final begging rhyme.

Also mentions R.W.Storer (1983), and plans to stage a revival at Underwood, Notts., in Dec.1993.

M.W.Holmes (1993)

Maurice William Holmes (Perf.)
LONG LIVE THE GUISERS [Play text from Selston Parish, Notts.]
Haggs Farm Preservation Society Newsletter, Jun.1993, No.12, pp.6-10

Reminiscences and anecdotes of performing a Christmas Guisers play from about 1947. It was taken round the Parish of Selston, Notts. [From other evidence, I know that Underwood was the team's home village.] The full text of the play is given (61 lines), and it has the characters; Opener In (played by Keith Simpson, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Beelzebub and Devildoubt.

Haggs Farm Preservation Society Newsletter (1993b)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Haggs Farm Preservation Society Newsletter, Jun.1993, No.12, p.11

Partial reprint from Country Life (1965) - brief general article bemoaning the demise of Christmas mummers' plays - [TD00557]. Four lines are given, and it is mentioned that the side recorded by the B.B.C. in 1949 finished a year or two later. St. George, the Turkish Knight and a Doctor are mentioned.

[The date quoted in the title is incorrect. It should be 16th Dec.1965.]

W.Millington (1993)

W. Millington (Auth.)
"Connections" [Notes on the origins of the Underwood, Notts., Guisers' play]
Haggs Farm Preservation Society Newsletter, Jun.1993, No.12, pp.11-12

Notes seeking to explain the source of the Guisers' plays from Underwood, Notts., and references by D.H.Lawrence. These notes give the Oxford Dictionary definition of "guiser", plus a summary of ideas on the origins of mummers' plays, evidently taken from A.Helm (1981).

M.E.Sisson (1994)

M. E. Sisson (Auth.)
Good luck to Guisers [in Underwood, Notts.]
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 7th Jan.1994, Vol.94, No.5206, p.14f-h

Letter applauding the recent revival of the Guisers in Underwood, Notts. It then goes on the describe the activities of two other Underwood teams organised by the Sisson family (both teams named) which performed in the 1940s and 1950s. The characters in both teams were; Door Opener, St George, Slasher, Dr, Beelzebub and Devil Doubt. Mentions the recording of the second team for "Radio 3" by Maurice Barley in Jan.1954, after their Christmas 1953 performances. Apparently an artist at the recording made drawings of the costumes, which included blackened faces. There is an anecdote of in incident in Underwood Miners Welfare when the collection was scattered everywhere after the Doctor slipped on the polished dance floor.

Evening Post [Nottingham] (1994a)

Anon. (Auth.)
Young-at-heart guiser gang [play revival in Underwood, Notts.]
Evening Post [Nottingham], 14th Jan.1994, No.35695, p.5g-h

An account of the revival of the Underwood guiser play by Maurice Holmes and Keith Simpson, who originally performed it as children in the 1940s. Revival performances are mentioned for the D.H.Lawrence Society, and at Nottingham Castle and Newstead Abbey. The characters included; Slasher, St George and Devildoubt. The performance had been captured on video.

Evening Post [Nottingham] (1994b)

Anon. (Auth.)
NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWS: Reporting on NUTHALL, KIMBERLEY, EASTWOOD, HEANOR, RIPLEY and ALFRETON: Going back to folklore: Friends bid to revive guiser plays [in Underwood, Notts.]
Evening Post [Nottingham, 18th Jan.1994, No.35699, p.1Bd-h

An account of the revival of the Underwood guiser play by five men who originally performed it as children in the 1940s. Maurice Holmes adapted several local scripts. A photo shows six characters. Five named in the article are; Opener, St George, Slasher, Doctor and Devildoubt. The other character in the photo is Beelzebub. Performances were given at Underwood, Bagthorpe and Brinsley, Notts., and for the Haggs Farm Preservation Society. Planned venues included Newstead Abbey and Nottingham Castle.

Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser (1994a)

Anon. (Auth.)
Guisers entertain Nottingham folk [play from Underwood, Notts.]
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 21st Jan.1994, Vol.95, No.5208, p.15b-d

Photo and description of the Underwood Guisers' performance at the Brewhouse Yard Museum, Nottingham. The actors are all named, five of whom originally performed the play as children in the 1940s. Their characters were; Slasher, Opener In, St George, Beelzebub, Devil Doubt and Doctor. They had performed in the Underwood area during the 1993 Christmas period.

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