Location: Castleton, Derbyshire, England (SK1582)
Year: Collected 1901
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Guisers


Guising and Mumming in Derbyshire
Journal of the Derbyshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, Jan.1907, Vol.29, pp.31-32,2 photos




The Old Horse, North Derbyshire [1907]
[MIDI music sound file] [ABC music notation]
As I was going to Derby
upon a market day,
I met the finest Tupsie
that ever was fed on hay.
Say laylum, laylum, Pityful laylum lay.
The man that stuck the tupsie
Was up to the knees in blood;
The man that held the basin
Was washed away in the flood.
Say laylum, etc.
And all the women in Derby
Came begging for his ears,
To make them leather aprons
To last for forty years.
Say laylum, etc.
And all the men in Derby
Came begging for his eyes,
To kick about in Derby,
And take them by surprise.
Say laylum, etc.

{As the singing goes on the butcher pretends to stick the tup, and the old man with the bowl or basin pretends to catch his blood. When the performance is ended they ask for a copper or two, and then they sing "Christians, Awake."[1]}

Guisers at Castleton (1).
Guisers at Castleton (1).
Guisers at Castleton (2).
Guisers at Castleton (2).


Addy's Introduction:

"GEORGE POTTER, of Castleton, told me in 1901 that when he was a boy the Christmas guisers in that village were about twenty in number. They wore masks, big hats, and short trousers.
At the present time a boy gets into a sack, the top of which is tied in such a way as to represent two ears or horns, or else the sack is surmounted by a real sheep's head. A second boy represents a butcher, and carries a knife in his hand; a third is dressed like a woman; a fourth, who has his face blackened, represents an old man, and carries a bowl or basin in his hand. They go from house to house singing the following lines :-"

Addy's Footnote:

Note 1: Related to me by Jack Potter, of Castleton, one of the mummers, in 1901.

File History:

2004-06-22 - Scanned, OCRed and encoded by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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