Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1903)


[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express, 16th Jan.1903

Article concerning January customs. In the part dealing with Twelfth Night there are quotations from "Notts Gleanings" p. 59 by J.Potter Briscoe.

The Plough Monday section also quotes from Briscoe writing in 1877 but it is unclear if it is the same source. It refers to Plough Bullock Day in Shelford where youngsters go round during the day with hats decorated with strips of coloured paper and red-ochred faces, asking: "Please can you remember the Plough Bullocks?". In the evening youths go out with blackened faces and are followed later by men drawing a plough and saying "My back is made of iron, my body's made of steel, And if you don't believe it, put on your hands and feel". The article goes on to refer to Washington Irving's account of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey. It also refers to ploughmen keeping plough-lights burning in church in pre-Reformation days.

Finally, an article from the Telegraph on the previous Tuesday is quoted as follows:

"'Plow Monday' in other times, when agriculture was really the greatest interest in the country was the date when the labourers returned to work after the Christmas holidays. It is still marked in the City by a very ancient ceremony - a renewal of certain obligations - which gives the Corporation an extra body of constables, who may be called on at any time the interests of peace in the City require their services. Over 200 officials, headed by the City Marshal, and including the officers of the City Courts and markets and the beadles, are annually placed on this emergency roll, where some of them now figure for the thirtieth time.Accordingly, the Lord Mayor yesterday attended in State at the Guildhall to receive this ready allegiance. A civic officer is by the ceremony entitled to act as a police-constable. For instance, the Lord Mayor is always preceded by the City Marshal and two police outriders and it sometimes happens that the driver of a vehicle is not always disposed to delay his business out of respect for authority, and will try to dash out of a bye-street behind the mounted constables and in front of the mayoral carriage into the official route. In that case the City Marshal has simply to raise his hand just as an ordainary constable does, and the impatient driver, if he declines the warning, has to answer for the offence of endeavouring to pass a policeman who is 'holding him up'. It is not often that this impressive warning is disregarded, and, indeed, the respect in which the chief magistrate is held is so implanted in the Londoner that is is rarely given. In the evening the Lord Mayor extended the hospitality at the Mansion House to his household and the staff of the Corporation, and a very numerous company sat down to dinner."

Index Terms:

Locations: London, London (TQ3079); Shelford, Notts. (SK6642); Newstead Abbey, Notts. (SK5453)
Years: Described 1877; Perf. 1903
Subjects: *House Visiting; Plough Trailing; Malicious Ploughing; Plough Lights; Dinner; Plough Monday; Plough Bullocks; Plow Monday; Emergency Constables; Irving,W. (1835); Briscoe,J.P. (no date) "Notts. Gleanings" pp.59; Telegraph, (13th Jan.1903)
Archives: TDRG Archive, Ref. TD00181;
Local Notes & Queries Scrapbook, Vol.4, pp.4-5

* indicates data that has not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.

Last Updated Oct 2004 by Idwal Jones.