Barlborough (SK4778), Derbyshire

W.Irving (1835)

*[Washington Irving] (Auth.)
*Miscellanies: Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey
*London: Murray, 1835, pp.162-165

This is a somewhat florid yet brief description of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey, Notts., and Christmas at Barlborough Hall, Derbys. It is prominent in that it has been much reprinted and cited by later authors.

The Plough Monday "antics" included some sort of play, involving the recitation of "...the old ballad of St. George and the Dragon..." This was followed by "...a set of morrice dancers..." with Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Beelzebub, and Bessy. The trailing of a "fool plough" is mentioned by way of background information, but does not appear to be ascribed to any particular location.

The description of Christmas at Barlborough Hall mentions the "Yule Clog" being put on the fire on Christmas Eve, the wassail bowl and the singing of carols. "We had mummers and mimers, too, with ballads and traditional dialogues, and the famous old interlude of the Hobby Horse..." There were also sword dancers.

According to his published letters, Irving stayed at Barlborough Hall at the end of 1831, making a day trip to Newstead Abbey on the 29th Oct.1831. This was followed in Jan.1832 with a stay of several weeks at Newstead Abbey. Irving returned to the U.S.A. in April 1832, and the miscellanies were first published in 1835.

Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1892)

*[Anon.] (Auth.)
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express, 7th Jan.1892

Extract from W.Irving's (1835) account of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey, Notts., and Christmas at Barlboro Hall, Derbys. The Plough Monday account mentions a clown or fool, a leader reciting the old ballad of St.George and the Dragon, to which the others attempted to act. Morris Dancers followed with the characters Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Beelzebub and Bessy. Mummers are mentioned in the Christmas account.

T.Ratcliffe Collection (1915)

*Thomas Ratcliffe (Auth.)
*The owd Hoss [from Whitwell and Barlborough, Derbys.]
T.Ratcliffe Collection, Dec.1915

*Detailed description of the play of "Th' Owd Hoss", performed in 1895 by farm lads from the Whitwell and Barlborough district, Derbys., and also performed in Worksop, Notts. The characters included the Horse and Betty or Bet.

This information comes from a manuscript in Nottingham Central Library, Local History Section. It gives the source as "From early 20th mss in possession of A.Cockburn". Although Thomas Ratcliffe is not named, Anne Cockburn is known to have done research on a notebook of Ratcliffe's which she had acquired. The subject matter, and the Worksop also ties in with his other publications.

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