Location: Staveley, Derbyshire, England (SK4375)
Year: Published 1946
Time of Occurrence: [Not given]
Collective Name: [Not given]


Ivor Gatty
The Old Tup and its Ritual
Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, 1946, Vo.5, No.1, pp.28-29



[Me and my Owd Lass]

Here comes me and my owd lass,
Short of .money, short of brass;
It's money I want, it's money I crave,
If you don't give me money I'll sweep you all to t' grave.


As I was going to Derby
All on a market day,
I met the finest tup, sir,
That ever was fed on hay.
Fay-a-lay, laddigo lay.
This tup was fat behind, sir,
This tup was fat before,
This tup, was nine feet high, sir,
If not a little more.
Fay-a-lay, etc.
The horns that grew on this tup's head
They were so mighty high,
That every time it shook its head
They rattled against the sky.
Fay-a-lay, etc.


1st Speaker

Is there a butcher in this town?

2nd Speaker.

Our Bob's a blacksmith.

1st Speaker.

I don't want a blacksmith. I want a butcher.

3rd Speaker.

Well! here I am! I'm a butcher!
Where do you want him sticking? In't 'eard. or in't arse?

1st Speaker.

In't 'eard of course.

3rd Speaker

Well ! I'll stick 'im in't arse then.

{He does so and the tup falls down squealing. Then the butcher sticks him in the head.}

{Song continues.}


The butcher that killed this tup, sir,
Was in danger of his life ;
He was up to his knees in blood, sir,
And prayed for a longer life.
Fay-a-lay. etc.
And all the men of Derby
Came begging for his eyes,
To makes themselves some footballs of,
For they were football size.
Fay-a-lay, etc.
And all the women of Derby
Came begging for its ears,
To make their leather aprons of
To last them forty years.
Fay-a-lay, etc.
And all the ringers of Derby
Came begging for its tail,
To ring St. George's passing bell
From the top of Derby jail.
Fay-a-lay, etc.
And now my song is ended,
I have no more to say ;
Please give us all a Christmas-box
And we will go away.


Gatty's Introduction:

"I also visited Staveley on Dec. 5th 1945, and saw Mr. Gascoyne, aged 77, a retired schoolmaster, and Dr. Court, aged 78, a local resident. Mr. Gascoyne sang me his version of the ' Old Tup,' the tune being the same as that which Mrs. Wragg had given me, but Mr. Gascoyne made a very marked pause at the begining of the third line of each verse. He had not taken part in any performance himself as a boy, but he gave me what he remembered having seen the boys of his school doing for very many years. He declared that there were no definite characters, and he classified the speakers as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd etc. He omitted the introductory verse in the written copy he offered me, but when asked about it he dictated:—
Here comes me and my owd lass,
Short of .money, short of brass;
It's money I want, it's money I crave,
If you don't give me money I'll sweep you all to t' grave.
This he agreed involved two more characters, one dressed as a woman. The Tup was fitted with a real sheep's head, with the skin on it. It was fixed to a pole and the boy crouched down behind it with a rug draped over him. Mr. Gascoyne remembered vaguely that once on a time one set of actors had a fine pair of ram's horns The children of Staveley still go round on New Year's Day with a travesty of the ceremony, which has degenerated into nothing more than a mere cadging expedition. The words as Mr. Gascoyne wrote them out for me run:—"

Peter Millington's Notes:

See Mrs. Wragg's version of the Staveley 'Old Tup' for the tune used by Mr.Gascoyne.
This text is reproduced with the kind permission of the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

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2004-07-26 - Scanned, OCRed and encoded by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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