Location: Carlton-in-Lindrick, Nottinghamshire, England (SK5984)
Year: Perf. about 1906
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]


Mike Howley
The Little Tup
Folk, Oct.1962, No.2, pp.9-10



[MIDI music sound file] [ABC music notation]
[MIDI music sound file] [ABC music notation]



There is a little tup and he's standing at your door
And if you'll have 'im in Sir, he'll please you more and more
Bring 'im in, bring 'im in.

{(The men are let in. Some or all have blackened faces, and The Tup (or ram) has a home-made ram’s head, with a cloth or drape covering the rest of the body He is led in prancing, on a rope.}



The very first day that tup was born, he cut some funny capers
He ate a field of turnip tops and fourteen tons o' 'taters.
Bailey, Bailey, laddie-fer-lairey-aye.
The wool that grew (up) on his back Sir, it grew so mighty long,
The eagles built their nests in it, I heard the young ones' song.
Bailey, Bailey, laddie-fer-lairey-aye.
The horns that grew upon his head, they grew so mighty high,
That every time he shook 'is head, they rattled against the sky.
Bailey, Bailey, laddie-fer-lairey-aye.

Leader {holding tup} .

Is there a butcher in the town?

1st character

Aye! My brother Jack's a butcher.


Can 'e stick a tup?

1st character

Aye'. 'E'll sticK a tup, dog or devil;
cut nine pounds o' beef off a leg o' mutton all bone .


Well, if 'e's as good a pink as thee ,
tha'd better fetch 'im.

1st character {Shouts off}

Jack! Jack! There's a job for thee.

Jack {enters}

What for?

1st character

To stick this tup.


Put your cap over 'is right left eye

{1st character puts his cap over tup's rump}


That's not 'is right left eye, you block-'ead!

{Jack draws knife and goes through action of killing The Tup, which falls to the ground.}

All sing

All the women in Derby came begging for his hide
To make some leather "approns" to last them all their lives.
Bailey, Bailey, laddie-fer-lairey-aye.
All the young lads in Derby came begging for his eyes
To kick them up and down the street for footballs and bulls-eyes.
Bailey, Bailey, laddie-fer-lairey-aye .
All the (ringers) in Derby came begging for his tail
To ring the Derby passing-bell that hangs upon the wall.
Bailey, Bailey, laddie-fer-lairey-aye.

{This concluded the play. Cakes and ale were distributed and a collection was taken.}



Contributed by Mike Howley who noted it from his father who saw the Tup Plays performed as a boy at Carlton-in-Lindrick, Nottinghamshire , about 1906.
© 1962 E.F.D.S, Publications Ltd.
The Tup Play was usually performed at Christmas time. About six men took part and the household knew in advance that a team would be coming to the house and their arrival was eagerly awaited.

Peter Millington's Notes:

Numbers have been added for the verses of the song.
Reproduced with the permission of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

File History:

2004-06-28 - Scanned, OCRed and encoded by Peter Millington
2004-07-16 - Copyright permission added by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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