Location: Chiddingfold, Surrey, England (SU9635)
Year: Perf. 1860
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Tip-Teering


Eddie Cass & Steve Roud
Room, Room, Ladies and Gentlemen: An Introduction to the English Mummers' Play
London, English Folk Dance & Song Society, 2002, pp.81-85



Father Xmas

In comes I, Old Father Christmas
Welcome or welcome not
Sometimes cold and sometimes not very hot
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot

Little Billy Wittell

In comes I, little Billy Wittell
Ladies and gentlemen I think this room quite little.
Place by* these tables chairs and stool
For after me comes men so cruel.

Noble Captain

Room, room, ladies and gentlemen
Room I pray
For I am a noble captain
That leads King George and his men this way.

King George

In comes I King George
That man of courage bold
With my broad sword and spear
I fought through many tons of gore
I fought a fiery dragon
And brought him to the slaughter.
Therefore I shall win the Queen of Egypt's daughter.

Turkish Knight

In comes I the Turkish Knight
Comes from the Turkish land to fight
I'll fight King George with his courage bold
And if his blood's hot I'll soon make it cold.


Hold, hold, you Turkish dog
Do not so rip on
For if you do I shall cut you down
With my old and trusted weapon.
I'll rag you and I'll gag you for to let you know
That I am King George of old England O.

Gallant Soldier

In comes I a gallant soldier
Slasher is my name
Sword and buckler by my side
For to win the game
Me and seven more fought and killed seven score
March in, men of war
Many such battles I have been in
For to save George our King
And for that King George shall have his will
This Turkish dog I will soon kill.


Oh will you

{They fight with wooden swords and soon the Turk falls dead}


Oh fie, oh fie, this man is slain
And on the floor his body lain
Is there a Doctor to be found
To raise this Turk up from the ground?

{Doctor comes forward}

Noble Doctor

Oh yes, here is a noble Doctor
And that you can plainly see
Many years have I been a Doctor
Both on land and on the sea
And I am here before your Majesty.


Pray Doctor try your skill


Try my skill? - fetch my horse Jack and I'll be gone


Pray Doctor, what is your fee?


Fifty guineas is my fee
And half the money I demand from thee


Oh dear, Doctor that can never be
That is far too much for me


Fetch my horse Jack, and I'll be gone


If fifty guineas is your fee
Half the money I'll give to thee


Now King George you speak like a man
Now ladies and gentlemen you see I am not
One of those quack Doctors that goes about
From house to house and from door to door
Telling you as many lies in one half hour
As you will find true in seven years.
What I do, I do before your face
And if you can't believe your own eyes
It must be a very bad case.

{Doctor sets to work, produces a box of pills which he calls "quick risers" also a bottle of "Snip-snaps", a drop or two of which, together with a pill, he places in the mouth of the fallen Turk. He moves the body about and after a time the Turk moves.}


He begins to breathe already

{They raise him up halfway, and finally upright}


Rise, rise, dead man and walk
And see how nicely you can walk
Behold the cure that I have done
I have raised this Turk up from the ground
Now King George you see what 'tis to be slain
And to have a noble Doctor to raise the dead to life again.


In comes I little Beelzebub
On my shoulder I have a knob
In my hand I carry a can
And don't you think I'm a funny little man?
Now ladies and gentlemen put your hands in your pockets
And make your money ring
And we will all sing...

{Goes round with his can, Others sing}



"(* put aside, i.e. make room)"

Cass & Roud's Introduction:

"From a 4-page typescript in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Collection. Sent to the Library by Margaret Balchin in April 1994. A covering letter explains that the text was dictated to her father-in-law (George Balchin, 1876-1956) by his father (c. late 1840s - mid-1920s), and typed from the original manuscript by herself."

Balchin's Introduction:

"'Tip-Teering' in Chiddingfold, Surrey, in 1860 (Written by George Balchin, born 1876)
My Father told me that in his youth (the 1850's - 1860's), at Christmas time, he and other young men and lads of the village (Chiddingfold, Surrey) took part in the play-acting known as 'tip- teering' They dressed for the parts as well as their restricted wardrobe resources permitted, and they blacked their faces with burnt cork. The combatant actors carried home-made wooden swords and the 'Doctor' had his little bag of pills and potions.
There was evidently also some sort of puppet show for my Father spoke of 'dolls dancing about' at the beginning of the play.
During the Christmas period the party visited all the larger houses and outlying farms in the parish. They were always welcomed and entertained, especially at the lonely farmhouses.
The spoken parts of the characters, and the order in which the latter appeared, as dictated by my Father, are given below. He had never seen a written or printed copy of the words: they had passed down by word of mouth and had presumably suffered some distortion. Thus St. George has become 'King George'.
It is possible that in my Father's recital one or two characters may have been omitted. He quoted from memory, and he was over 80 years at the time."

Notes from Malcolm Taylor

"The Chiddingford play turned up here in 1994 in response to a Notes & Queries piece and a consequent appeal by a former assistant librarian, Brian Holmshaw. Anyway, it was sent in by Margaret Balchin of West Bay, Bridport, Dorset, whom I cannot now trace."
Malcolm is the Librarian of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, English Folk Dance and Song Society, London.

Indexer's Notes

The TDRG acknowledges Margaret Balchin and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

File History:

2004-12-09 - Digitised by Robert Ellis from the script adapted
2005-10-20 - Encoded and proof-read against the published script by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


Dramaturgical Chart

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The chart reveals the dramaturgical structure of the play by showing which speeches in the script are spoken by which character. Vertical lines indicate stage directions.

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