Abbots Bromley (SK0824), Staffordshire

T.F.Ordish (1893)

T. Fairman Ordish (Auth.)
Folk-Lore, Jun.1893, Vol.IV, No.II, pp.149-175

This is the second of two largely theoretical papers, which have been of great importance in the history of the study of folk drama. Not only did they prompt a great burst of collecting activity throughout the country, but also the ideas given in them continued to influence folklorists up to the 1970s. Ordish's arguments on the probable origins and significance of the plays tend to be vague and convoluted, and one suspects from odd phrases in the paper that not everyone agreed with him even in the 1890s. Certainly in the light of the mass of material which has since been accumulated, his hypotheses do not hold water today.

The paper was read before a meeting of the Folk-lore Society, and towards its end he introduced a number of exhibits which he had brought along.

The first of these, a Plough-Monday play, came from Mrs. Chaworth-Musters of "Wiverton Hall, near Bingham, Nottinghamshire". Her covering letter is reprinted in full. In it she describes costumes, and mentions the characters; Hopper Joe, sergeant, young lady, Beelzebub, old woman, and doctor. She mentions little boys house visiting on Plough-Monday throughout the Vale of Belvoir. She also sent an actual costume, and an autograph manuscript of a song accompanying the play. Extracts from the play, evidently transcribed from her book [Chaworth-Musters, 1890], were read out.

This account has been much cited and reprinted by later authors, who because of the phrasing used for the location, have sometimes described the play as coming from Bingham, Notts., rather than Cropwell or Wiverton Hall.

The other exhibits were photographs of the Horn-Dance from Abbots Bromley, Staffs., and donated by Mr. Frank Udale of Uttoxeter.

These exhibits are now in the T.F.Ordish Collection of the Folk-lore Society.

A.Sharp (1936)

*Arthur Sharp (Auth.)
OLD REVELS OF TWELFTH NIGHT AND PLOUGH MONDAY: Notts Versions of Ancient Mummer's Play: "Hooden Horse" That Sang Verses in Villages
Nottingham Evening Post, 30th Dec.1936, No.18246, p.6 a-b

Brief description of Twelfth Night customs, including the Twelfth Cake and King of the Bean. The description of Plough Monday Mummers' plays mentions the characters of Selston, Notts.; Fool, Saint George, Slasher, Doctor, Beelzebub, and Devil Doubt. A North Notts., version (evidently E.Sutton, 1912) had the characters; Herald, Hero, St. George and Doctor, and a couple of fragments of text are quoted. Another custom was the Hooden Horse or Owd 'Oss, which the author appears to have performed in himself. He calls the performers "hoodeners", and the play used to be found in both Notts., and Derbys. Discussing the origins of Plough Monday, mention is made of Plough Lights, and the trailing of a "Fool Plough" by Plough Bullockers, and accompanied by Morris Dancers and a "Bessy". Mention is also made of the horn dance at Pagets Bromley in Staffs. This is another name for Abbots Bromley

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