Retford & Gainsborough Times (1898)


[Anon.] (Auth.)
Retford & Gainsborough Times, 7th Jan.1898, No.1447, p.2a

Article lamenting the changes in Christmas customs from previous years. Initially it talks about 'Christmas singing' and then continues as follows:

"The 'mummers' still go about, but in a different style, and neither 'St. George,' the 'King of Spain,' the 'Doctor,' nor 'Devil Doubt' with his grimy ace and stubbly broom, are the same. The 'Owd Tup' and 'T'Owd Hoss' still go about under a changed aspect, but the dear old 'Morris Dancers' are all dead. At any rate Worksop knows them not. It is some years since the last set of 'Morris Dancers' performed in the Golden Ball square, and their interesting and really clever dance did not seem to be greatly appreciated. The Morris Dance is still kept up in some of the rural districts of Derbyshire, where old customs seem to linger longer than in other parts.

By the way, mention of the 'Owd Tup' - or as the lads here have it 'a little tup' - reminds me that the verses which are sung when the 'Little Tup' comes to this door, are a very-much-hashed version of 'The Darby Ram,' or 'The Darby Tup,'as given in the hilly county and supposed to be a true version. The verses are to be found in Jewitt's 'Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire,' and are too long for quotation here. However, I may say that the Worksop lads who take the 'Little Tup' round give many of the wonderful details of this remarkable 'Derby Ram' and on the whole what they say is well worth listening to, although sadly mutilated. The 'Owd Hoss' has also lost many of its best features, and the only one who I ever met who could give a fair rendering of the old rhymes was an inmate of the Workhouse, who died some years ago. He was good enough to write out his version for me, and I found that even he - the old stager that he was - had mixed up parts of the 'Tup' and the 'Ran-Tan' with it. The fact is, nothing remains as it was."

Index Terms:

Locations: Worksop, Notts. (SK5879); Derbys.
Years: Perf. 1897; Publ. 1898
Subjects: Mummers; Christmas; Owd Tup; T'Owd Hoss; Morris Dancers; Little Tup; Jewitt,L. (1867) "Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire"; St. George; King of Spain; Doctor; Devil Doubt; Christmas Singing; "The Derby Ram"; "The Darby Ram"; "The Darby Tup"
Archives: TDRG Archive, Ref. TD00227

Last Updated Apr 2005 by Dave Crowther.