Averham (SK7654), Nottinghamshire
M. W. Barley (Auth.); E. F. H. D. (Col.)
Plough Plays in Nottinghamshire
Oct.1951, Vol.13, No.2, pp.1-2
This is a request for information on Plough monday plays. Brief descriptions
are given of the sort of information wanted, together with outlines of the
possible historical implications of Plough Monday and of the questions it is
hoped to answer. The names Plough Boys, or Jacks, or Jags, or Stots, or
Bullocks are mentioned. He particularly asks for information on plough
trailing, sword dances, and customs from western Notts., similar to those found
in Derbys. & Yorks., such as Christmas Mummers, sword dances and Morris dances.
In a brief mention of Hobby Horses, he notes the Christmas play of the "Poor Owd
'Oss" from Mansfield in the A.S.Buxton Collection, and other occurrences at
Cuckney and Elkesley. He already had information on Plough Monday plays from
the Notts. villages of; Blidworth, Mansfield, East Bridgford, Bothamsall,
Cropwell, Clayworth, Flintham, Selston, Walesby, Whatton, Worksop, Norwell,
Averham, Tollerton, and North Leverton.
Appended is the final song of a play from Blidworth, Notts., collected in 1925
by E.F.H.D. This was in fact first published in 1948 (E.F.H.D., 1948).
M. W. Barley (Auth.)
PLOUGH PLAYS IN THE EAST MIDLANDS
Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society,
Dec.1953, Vol.7, No.2, pp.68-95
This is the most important single paper ever written on East Midlands folk
drama. Starting from the base of E.K.Chambers (1933) "English Folk Play", he
discusses 41 additional texts and other information from Lincs., Notts., Leics.
and Rutland. The approach is very methodical and academically sound - as one
would expect from a trained archaeologist.
There is an excellent review of early records of Plough Monday, Plough Lights
and related customs from various archives. He draws particular attention to the
cast of a play from Donington, Lincs. Concerning the much studied play from
Revesby, Lincs., he adds that Sir Joseph Banks, the famous botanist, must have
had some involvement. This is followed by details of a number of large
households who were visited by Plough Monday teams. He compares the early
nineteenth Century Lincs., plays published by C.R.Baskervill (1924) and modern
plays from the same areas, noting marked differences in the "wooing" scenes.
Comparative details are enumerated of; rewards received by the teams, malicious
ploughing, trailed ploughs, and costumes. Regarding music, Barley notes the lack
of recorded tunes, but is able to give three variants (including one from South
Scarle, Notts.) There is brief description of the vestiges of dances present,
and of Hobby Horses in North Lincs. He extensively discusses regional
variations in the plays, noting differences in characters and lines, much in the
manner of E.K.Chambers.
The Appendix lists around 70 records of plays. There is also a distribution
map. The list does not include a number of references in the text, and these
too are not to be found in the Barley's collection. Notts., examples are;
Averham, Orston, and Sutton-on-Trent.
It was very commendable that Barley did not attempt to speculate on the origins
of the plays, except for an unsuccessful search for possible links with Denmark.
It is unforgivable therefore that P.D.Kennedy felt obliged to add a massive and
patronising footnote giving the E.F.D.S.S. Establishment doctrine about the
supposed ritual and symbolical origins of the plays.
I. T. Jones (Auth.)
The Owd Oss Mummers: PLOUGH MONDAY
Apr.1981, No.68, p.6e-f
Follow up letter regarding an appeal for information on Plough Monday in the
Jan.1981 issue (I.T.Jones, 1981a). Mr. Steemson provided words of a play
performed in Oxton until the 1890s. Mr. Ralph Brooke had the scrap book
compiled by Miss L.F.Milner containing the play performed in Kirklington up to
the First War. Mrs. Olifent and Mr. Robinson provided the play performed
between the wars in Farnsfield, and recently revived at annual Plough Monday
suppers. Mr. Jack Smith (via his daughter Mrs. Marshall) gave details of the
Plough Bullocking play that he and others had revived in 1980 in
Blidworth. This had been performed right up to the Second World War. Mr.
Ernest Parkin remembered his father's Plough Bullocking in Edingley about
1891. Further locations mentioned where Plough Monday had been celebrated,
but for not detailed information was available were Averham, Kneesall, Norwell
and Southwell. The author had also obtained a copy of a Caunton text performed
until about 1945.