Long Eaton (SK4933), Derbyshire

T.F.Ordish Collection (1901, M.Peacock)

Mr. Bell (Inf.); Miss Kirby (Inf.); [Mabel Peacock] (Col.)
Mummers in South Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire [Plough Monday - also in Northants.]
T.F.Ordish Collection, c.1901, Vol.III, pp.146-149

Transcript of two letters originally sent to Mabel Peacock;

The first letter from Mr. Bell of Epworth, Lincs., relates to mummers called Plough-Bullocks in South Notts., South East Derbys. and Leics.

From his own recollections of his youth in Notts. (probably mid 19th Century), Mr. Bell remembered that the customs consisted of plough trailing, with singing, dancing and horse-play in costume, but without dialogue. If people did not give money, gardens might be ploughed up or other retribution taken.

He describes a particular incident involving his niece, Mrs. H.N. She was stopped by a party in about 1881 when returning from school at Long Eaton to her home at Toton. They made her give up all the money she had on her (eightpence) under threat of being thrown into the canal.

Mentions enclosure of a copy of J.P.Briscoe's 'Nottinghamshire Gleanings', which contains notes on the subject.

One of the mummers wore a top-hat and frock-coat (the "old lord") and another was dressed as a woman, the rest had no distinctive dress, but were covered with bright-coloured ribbons stitched to their clothes.

Boys were still going round at Stapleford, with whitened faces, and singing a song which ended -

"If you haven't got a penny a halfpenny will do.
If you haven't got a halfpenny, God help you."

At one time they used to carry a plough round, - as at Hickling and if money was not given them would jag up the ground round the door (hence, it is conjectured locally the name of 'plough-jaggers.')

It is not easy to tell which of Mr. Bell's statements relate to which location. In particular, because it is not a usual Notts term, the explanation of "Plough-Jaggers" may relate to Epworth, Lincs.

The second letter from Miss Kirby, Oxendon, Northants., says that there;

"The mummers used to come on Christmas Eve and go through some performance. On Plough Monday the boys came to the door with masks on, but there was no acting. In some villages, I have been told they took a plough round to the houses. The custom has almost died out, though a few little boys still come for money."

B.Pegg (1981)

Bob Pegg (Auth.)
Poole: Blandford Press, 1981, 0-7137-0997-9

*A well illustrated book, with the chapters; Introduction, 1 A Passage through the Wilderness, 2 The Light Months, 3 The Dark Months, 4 Dance and Drama, 5 The Human Seasons, Conclusion, and Bibliography.

Page 85 gives following;

"Gain was also one of the motives for my paternal grandparents when, as children some eighty years ago, they too went around on Plough Monday through the streets of Long Eaton, a small town in East Derbyshire. They had no plough, but they did black their faces and turn their jackets inside out, and they carried brooms (though not to sweep with). Sometimes the boys would wear their mother's jackets. They went around the houses singing:

Plough Monday, Shrove Tuesday when the boys went to plough,
My mother made some pancakes and she didn't know how.
She buttered them, she sugared them, she made them turn black
She put some rat poison in to poison poor Jack.

'After we'd been singing one or two songs, you see, we used to sing that', said my grandmother, 'and then we knocked at the door and of course the people came to the door. When they saw you they asked you in the house and sometimes they'd give you something to eat or they'd give you ha'pennies and pennies. And of course we'd got a chip shop in the district and we used to go and buy chips and eat them'."

The text of a Pace-Egg Play is given on pages 104 to 107. This came from Blackshaw, West Yorks., and was performed on Good Friday by Mr. Harry Greenwood shortly before the World War 1. It has the characters; St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Black Morrocco Prince and Tosspot.

Long Eaton Advertiser (1991)

Anon. (Auth.)
Tiger folk revive old style fun [Folk club Mumming Play]
Long Eaton Advertiser, 13th Dec.1991, No.5710, p.3 a-b

Report of the Christmas part night of the Traditions at The Tiger folk club in Long Eaton, Derbys. This includes a photo of seven members of the club's Tiger's Guisers who performed a "Mumming Play". The characters St. George and a Turkish Prince are mentioned.

[In fact the play was based on a "Peace Egg" chapbook, and had the characters; Fool, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Black Prince of Paradine, Betsy Beelzebub and Devil Doubt.]

Long Eaton Advertiser (1991)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Tiger folk revive old style fun [Tiger's Guisers, Long Eaton]
Long Eaton Advertiser, 13th Dec.1991, No.5710, p.3a-b

Posed photo of the Tiger's Guisers at the Traditions at the Tiger (TATT) folk club, Long Eaton, Derbys. The Christmas play was produced by Peter Millington

Evening Post [Nottingham] (1994c)

[Anon.] (Auth.)
Gadzooks! What a spectacle
Evening Post [Nottingham], 6th Jun.1994, No.35822, p.5b-d

Photo showing a Turkish Knight (Steve Hough) face to face with St.George (Dave Cooper) during a medieval festival at Nottingham Castle. The caption and article do not give their affiliation, but they belonged to the Tiger's Guysers of Long Eaton, Derbys.

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