Somercotes (SK4253), Derbyshire

M.W.Barley Collection (1953, W.Kay)

Mr. W. Kay (Inf.)
Plough Plays [Somercotes, Derbys.]
*M.W.Barley Collection, Com. 20th Apr.1953 & 23rd Apr.1953

Brief note and follow-up postcard about a Plough Monday play at Somercotes, Derbys. The note reads;

"Mr.W.Kay, Ford Farm, Higham, Derbyshire was brought up at Somercotes, s.e. of Alfreton, and remembered performance of Plough Monday Play there.", to which is added the comment "Includes Beelzebub but is almost certainly Mummer."

The postcard reads;

"Mr. Kay is certain Somercotes play held on Plough Monday. He recalls that farmers attended church on previous day, then on the Monday held a Supper at which their 'Sketches' were performed. I have asked him to write down as much of dialogue as he can remember, a list of characters and an outline of the action."

P.T.Millington Collection (1972, B.Faulconbridge)

Mrs. Barbara Faulconbridge (Inf.)
[Christmas, Bull Guyses play from Selston, Notts.]
P.T.Millington Collection, Com. 20th Jan.1972 & 20th Feb.1972

Two letters. The first, responding to a newspaper article, gives an incomplete text (14 + 4 lines) of a Bull Guyses (Guyseing) play performed at Christmas from about 1946 to 1950 at Selston, Notts. The characters are; Enterer, Bull Guyse, St. George, Doctor Brown and Bells-a-bub, with additional unidentified supernumerary characters for the "Hangers-on". The performers, who were her friends, "... moved out of Selston with their activities as they found that at Somercotes and Alfreton it was something quite new..."

The song "We've come to steal your old black hen" was sung at the end of the play, and second letter was in response to a query as to what the tune was like. It also gives the words of another "saying" mostly used with Christmas singing.

P.T.Millington Collection (1973, D.M.Bates)

Mrs. D. M. Bates (Inf.)
P.T.Millington Collection, Col. Jan.1973

Reply from the Royal Tiger Inn, Somercotes, Derbys., to a questionnaire sent to pubs in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire border district in 1973. The pub was visited by carol singers who were children and/or Brownies. A play was also performed in December 1972, but the local name for the play was not known. Mrs. Bates also noted "A few young boys playing musical instruments." "...we don't get much traditional entertainment in these parts."

P.T.Millington Collection (1991)

Mrs. Barbara Faulconbridge (Inf.)
[Christmas Bullguysers Play and Bullguysing in Selston, Notts.]
P.T.Millington Collection, Received 29th Jan.1991

Letter describing experiences of Bullguysing in Selston, Notts. Mrs. Faulconbridge was associated with the custom as a girl, probably about 1940. She was not a performer herself, having to be content with Christmas singing. The local Bullguysers "disappeared" when they discovered more lucrative grounds in Somercotes and Alfreton. In later life she had taught the play to her husband and sons for the entertainment of family and friends around Brinsley, Notts.

One of her sons witnessed a set of Guysers performing in Awsworth, Notts., during Christmas 1990.

P.Millington (1991b)

Peter Millington (Auth.)
Do Guysers still exist? [West Notts., plays]
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 20th Dec.1991, Vol.94, No.5099, p.14 a-b

Description of accounts communicated following an appeal for information on Christmas Guysers earlier in 1991. There is a description of the play performed by Mr. Tom Thorpe in Bagthorpe in the 1930s. This had the characters; Opener In, St. George, Slasher, Doctor, Belzibub and Devildowt. Belzibub's speech is quoted. In the 1950s, Mr.G.S.Bennieston performed in a team in Underwood. They also went to Annesley, Moorgreen, Newthorpe, Kimberley, Eastwood, Jacksdale, Selston and Felley Priory. There is a long description of Mrs. Barbara Faulconbridge's experiences with Bullguysers in Selston, in which she also mentions one of her sons seeing Guysers performing in Awsworth in 1990. The Selston teams eventually took to going to Somercotes, Derbys. Finally, there is a mention of the annual Guysing performed by the Ripley Morris Men in Ripley, Derbys. Syd Barber collected their play from Mr. Percy Cook of Ripley.

P.Millington (1991c)

Peter Millington (Auth.)
*Do Guysers still exist? [West Notts., plays]
*Ripley & Heanor News, 21st Dec.1991, Vol.102

Syndicated article - see P.Millington (1991b).

J.Marsh (2002)

Jim Marsh (Perf.)
Guisering in Somercotes, Derbyshire
Traditional Drama Forum, Jan.2002, No.4,

*Text fragments and a description of a Christmas Guisering play performed by boys during World War II in Somercotes, Derbys. The characters were: Enter-In/William of the Great, St. George, Bull-Slasher, a Doctor, and Beelzebub. The play was performed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day in Somercotes, Lower Somercotes, Leabrooks, and Riddings.

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