Chaworth-Musters (1890)


Mrs. Chaworth-Musters (Auth.)
A CAVALIER STRONGHOLD: A Romance of the Vale of Belvoir
London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd., 1890, pp.272-277,387-392

This book is a historical novel based on the Civil War period. Pages 272-277 introduce into the plot the performance of a Plough Monday play at Wyverton Hall, Notts. This is of dubious value, since the authoress had extrapolated back in time from plays she had seen performed there in the late nineteenth century.

Fortunately, she also added in appendix the full text (170 lines), and a description of costumes, for the play she had herself seen performed by "Plough Bullocks" from Cropwell. The characters comprise; Tom Fool/Bold Tom/Tom the Fool/Tommy, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner/Recruit, Lady Bright and Gay, Threshing Blade/Thrashing Blade, Hopper Joe/Sankey-Benny, Farmer's Man/Ploughman, Dame Jane, Beelzebub, and Doctor. The performance included a dance and songs.

Quotations are given from W.Hone (1825) p.72, and indirectly, Blomefield's "History of Norfolk".

This is key source for Notts. folk plays. It has been extensively cited by later authors, and extracts have been reprinted several times. It has also influenced the folk play tradition in Notts. A number of teams are known to have used the book as the source for their text.

Mrs.Chaworth-Musters was a correspondent with T.F.Ordish, probably the first English scholar to specialise on folk plays. It was for his benefit that she obtained the costume used for Hopper Joe, and which was donated to the Folk-lore Society. This contact probably explains the detailed nature of her record.

Curiously, this text was first published translated into French (H.G.M.Murray-Aynsley, 1889).

Index Terms:

Locations: Cropwell, Notts. (SK6836); Wyverton Hall, Notts. (SK7136)
Years: Publ. 1890
Subjects: Full Text; Costumes; Plough Monday; Play; Plough Bullocks; Tom Fool; Bold Tom; Tom the Fool; Tommy; Recruiting Sergeant; Ribboner; Recruit; Lady Bright and Gay; Threshing Blade; Thrashing Blade; Hopper Joe; Sankey-Benny; Farmer's Man; Ploughman; Dame Jane; Beelzebub; Doctor; Country Dance; Songs; Hone,W. (1825) p.72; Blomefield,F. (1775)
People: Caroline Anne Chaworth-Musters (Auth.); Lina Chaworth-Musters (Auth.)
Archives: TDRG Archive, Ref. TD00026

Last Updated Sep 1987 by Peter Millington.