T.F.Ordish (1893)


T. Fairman Ordish (Auth.)
Folk-Lore, Jun.1893, Vol.IV, No.II, pp.149-175

This is the second of two largely theoretical papers, which have been of great importance in the history of the study of folk drama. Not only did they prompt a great burst of collecting activity throughout the country, but also the ideas given in them continued to influence folklorists up to the 1970s. Ordish's arguments on the probable origins and significance of the plays tend to be vague and convoluted, and one suspects from odd phrases in the paper that not everyone agreed with him even in the 1890s. Certainly in the light of the mass of material which has since been accumulated, his hypotheses do not hold water today.

The paper was read before a meeting of the Folk-lore Society, and towards its end he introduced a number of exhibits which he had brought along.

The first of these, a Plough-Monday play, came from Mrs. Chaworth-Musters of "Wiverton Hall, near Bingham, Nottinghamshire". Her covering letter is reprinted in full. In it she describes costumes, and mentions the characters; Hopper Joe, sergeant, young lady, Beelzebub, old woman, and doctor. She mentions little boys house visiting on Plough-Monday throughout the Vale of Belvoir. She also sent an actual costume, and an autograph manuscript of a song accompanying the play. Extracts from the play, evidently transcribed from her book [Chaworth-Musters, 1890], were read out.

This account has been much cited and reprinted by later authors, who because of the phrasing used for the location, have sometimes described the play as coming from Bingham, Notts., rather than Cropwell or Wiverton Hall.

The other exhibits were photographs of the Horn-Dance from Abbots Bromley, Staffs., and donated by Mr. Frank Udale of Uttoxeter.

These exhibits are now in the T.F.Ordish Collection of the Folk-lore Society.

Index Terms:

Locations: Cropwell, Notts. (SK6836); Wiverton Hall, Notts. (SK7136); Abbots Bromley, Staffs. (SK0824); Vale of Belvoir, Notts.; Vale of Belvoir, Leics.; Vale of Belvoir, Lincs.
Years: Publ. 1893
Subjects: Plough-Monday; Letter; Costumes; Hopper Joe; Sergeant; Young Lady; Beelzebub; Old Woman; Doctor; House Visiting; Costume Specimen; Autograph Manuscript; Song; Plays; Chaworth-Musters (1890); Horn-Dance; Dance; Photos
People: Thomas Fairman Ordish (Auth.); Mrs. Chaworth-Musters (Col.); Mr. Frank Udale (Col.)
Archives: TDRG Archive, Ref. TD00198

Last Updated Oct 1987 by Peter Millington.