Cropwell (SK6836), Nottinghamshire
Madame H. G. M. Murray-Aynsley (Auth.)
DE LA SURVIVANCE DU DRAME Chez le bas peuple en Angleterre [On the Survival of Drama among the Lower Classes of England]
*Revue des Traditions Populaires,
1889, Vol.4, No.12, pp.599-612
This paper in French is divided into four chapters. Chapter I reviews the
history of drama, encompassing Indian and Roman drama, as well as Miracle and
Morality plays. Chapter II describes the Salisbury Giant, St. Christopher, and
the hobby horse Hob Nob.
Chapter III gives the full text (125 lines) of a Plough Monday play from Notts.
The location is not given, but was identified by E.K.Chambers (1903) as
Cropwell, Notts., and the translation tallies with Chaworth-Musters (1890). The
characters are; Thomas le Hardi [Bold Tom], Sergent [Recruiting Sergeant],
Ribbenor [Ribboner], Dame [Lady], Threshing Blade, Hopper Joe/Sanky Benny,
Laboureur de Ferme [Farmer's Man], Dame Jane/Madame Jeanne, Belzébuth
[Beelzebub], and Le Médecin [Doctor].
Chapter IV gives the full text (103 lines) of an unlocated Lincolnshire Plough
Monday play. The characters are; Tom le Bouffon/Tommy [Tom Fool], Sergent
[Sergeant], Ribbenor [Ribboner], Madame Jeanne/Dame Jeanne [Dame Jane], Dame
[Lady Bright and Gay], Esem Esqueesem, Le Médecin [Doctor].
Mrs. Chaworth-Musters (Auth.)
A CAVALIER STRONGHOLD: A Romance of the Vale of Belvoir
London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., Ltd., 1890, pp.272-277,387-392
This book is a historical novel based on the Civil War period. Pages
272-277 introduce into the plot the performance of a Plough Monday play at
Wyverton Hall, Notts. This is of dubious value, since the authoress had
extrapolated back in time from plays she had seen performed there in the late
Fortunately, she also added in appendix the full text (170 lines), and a
description of costumes, for the play she had herself seen performed by "Plough
Bullocks" from Cropwell. The characters comprise; Tom Fool/Bold Tom/Tom the
Fool/Tommy, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner/Recruit, Lady Bright and Gay,
Threshing Blade/Thrashing Blade, Hopper Joe/Sankey-Benny, Farmer's
Man/Ploughman, Dame Jane, Beelzebub, and Doctor. The performance included a
dance and songs.
Quotations are given from W.Hone (1825) p.72, and indirectly, Blomefield's
"History of Norfolk".
This is key source for Notts. folk plays. It has been extensively cited by
later authors, and extracts have been reprinted several times. It has also
influenced the folk play tradition in Notts. A number of teams are known to have
used the book as the source for their text.
Mrs.Chaworth-Musters was a correspondent with T.F.Ordish, probably the first
English scholar to specialise on folk plays. It was for his benefit that she
obtained the costume used for Hopper Joe, and which was donated to the Folk-lore
Society. This contact probably explains the detailed nature of her record.
Curiously, this text was first published translated into French
L. Chaworth-Musters (Auth.)
Reviews and Notices of New Books: HISTORY OF NOTTINGHAMSHIRE. By Cornelius Brown [Plough Monday at Cropwell and Tithby, Notts.]
Jan.1892, Vol.25, No.1, p.44-45
This review of Brown's book includes the following comment:
"Mr. Brown seems to be under the impression that the
Plough Monday play is a thing of the past, but it
was acted as lately as January, 1890 by the Cropwell
and Titleby [sic] 'Plough Bullocks,' and an account of it
sent to the Revue des Traditions Populaires by a
Nottinghamshire member of that society who
witnessed the performance at a neighbouring house."
The submission to the Revue des Traditions Populaires was by H.G.M.Murray-Aynsley (1889).
T. Fairman Ordish (Auth.)
ENGLISH FOLK-DRAMA. II.
Jun.1893, Vol.IV, No.II, pp.149-175
This is the second of two largely theoretical papers, which have been of
great importance in the history of the study of folk drama. Not only did they
prompt a great burst of collecting activity throughout the country, but also
the ideas given in them continued to influence folklorists up to the 1970s.
Ordish's arguments on the probable origins and significance of the plays tend to
be vague and convoluted, and one suspects from odd phrases in the paper that
not everyone agreed with him even in the 1890s. Certainly in the light of the
mass of material which has since been accumulated, his hypotheses do not hold
The paper was read before a meeting of the Folk-lore Society, and towards its
end he introduced a number of exhibits which he had brought along.
The first of these, a Plough-Monday play, came from Mrs. Chaworth-Musters of
"Wiverton Hall, near Bingham, Nottinghamshire". Her covering letter is
reprinted in full. In it she describes costumes, and mentions the characters;
Hopper Joe, sergeant, young lady, Beelzebub, old woman, and doctor. She
mentions little boys house visiting on Plough-Monday throughout the Vale of
Belvoir. She also sent an actual costume, and an autograph manuscript of a song
accompanying the play. Extracts from the play, evidently transcribed from her
book [Chaworth-Musters, 1890], were read out.
This account has been much cited and reprinted by later authors, who because of
the phrasing used for the location, have sometimes described the play as coming
from Bingham, Notts., rather than Cropwell or Wiverton Hall.
The other exhibits were photographs of the Horn-Dance from Abbots Bromley,
Staffs., and donated by Mr. Frank Udale of Uttoxeter.
These exhibits are now in the T.F.Ordish Collection of the Folk-lore Society.
E. K. Chambers (Auth.)
THE MEDIAEVAL STAGE: VOL.I
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1903, pp.205-227
*Vol.I contains Book I - Minstrelsy, and Book II - Folk Drama. Book
II is essentially a precursor to E.K.Chambers (1933) "The English
Folk-play", and has the chapter headings:- (V) The Religion of the
Folk, (VI) Village Festivals, (VII) Festival Play, (VIII) The May-Game,
(IX) The Sword-Dance, (X) The Mummers' Play, (XI) The Beginning of
Winter, (XII) New Year Customs, (XIII) The Feast of Fools, (XIV) The
Feast of Fools (continued), (XV) The Boy Bishop, (XVI) Guild Fools and
Court Fools, and (XVII) Masks and Misrule.
Chapter X, pp.208-210 gives a summary of the Plough Bullocks, Plough
Monday play from Cropwell, Notts., published by Chaworth-Musters (1890),
and H.G.M.Murray-Aynsley (1889). This gives the cast as follows; Tom
the Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner or Recruit, Threshing Blade,
Hopper Joe/Sankey Benny, Ploughman, Doctor, Lady and Dame Jane.
Nottinghamshire Weekly Express (1907b)
Local Notes and Queries: PLOUGH MONDAY MUMMING: A NOTABLE LOCAL CUSTOM (Concluded)
*Nottinghamshire Weekly Express,
Extracts from Chaworth-Musters (1890) historical novel. It dramatises
hypothetical Plough Monday activities at Wyverton Hall, Notts., during the Civil
War by actors from Cropwell. Mrs. Chaworth-Musters' quotations from W.Hone
(1837) are partially requoted.
A. H. (Auth.)
PLOUGH BULLOCK NIGHT: A Merry Old Village Custom of Bygone Days
8th Jan 1926, No.31232, p.4 d-f
Mention of Plough Bullocks in records of the Old Mansfield Society, evidently
meaning A.S.Buxton (1922/23). Also gives the usual general guff about plough
trailing and the ploughing up of doorsteps in Notts., Lincs., and Leics., and
about plough lights, taken from W.Hone (1837) by way of Chaworth-Musters
The full text is reprinted of the play from Cropwell, Notts., published by Mrs.
Chaworth-Musters. This gives the characters as; Tom Fool/Bold Tom/Tommy,
Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner, Lady, Threshing Blade, Hopper Joe/Sanky-Benny,
Farmer's Man, Dame Jane, Beelzebub and Doctor.
S. R. (Auth.)
THE MUMMERS' PLAY: More Light on the Origin of Plough Monday Masque
12th Jan.1926, No.31235, p.4 d-f
The author starts by mentioning the reproduction of Mrs. Chaworth Musters'
version of a Plough Monday play [Cropwell, Notts.] in A.H. (1926), and its
discussion in E.K.Chambers' (1903) "The Mediaeval Stage". However he clearly
disagrees with Chambers' discussion of folk plays. Race recognises two sorts of
play, the Christmas St. George play, and the Plough Monday play. The St.George
play is the older version, with a plot or structure dating back to pagan times,
and a text dating back to the Crusades. The Plough Monday play he considers to
be a "2nd edition" produced to extend the actors' touring season. He notes that
Robin Hood did not appear in Notts., plays, and that the "Recruiting Sergeant"
of Plough Monday plays probably originated with the Napoleonic Wars. He further
notes that chapbooks were a source of some plays in the 1870s.
Quotes fragments of Notts., texts from Cropwell, the Selston district, and
"North Notts. round Retford", the latter probably taken from E.Sutton (1913).
Nottinghamshire Guardian (1939a)
The End Of Plough Mondays
A general description of Plough Monday, with quotations on the disrepute of
the custom through malicious ploughing, from W. Howitt (1834). S.R.Hole (1901)
and Chaworth-Musters (1890) are also cited. Mentions "guisers", and the
characters Robin Hood and Maid Marion.
Places in Notts., listed as having seen the custom within living memory are;
Newark, Mansfield, Southwell, Bulwell, Radford, Wiverton, Cropwell, and Tithby
(1890), Caunton (1900), and East Markham.
F. W. Beazley (Auth.)
PLOUGH MONDAY AND "THE PLOUGH BULLOCKS"
Bulletin of the Nottinghamshire Schools Rural Science Panel,
Dec.1946, No.19, pp.2-6
The full text (54 lines) of a Plough Bullock Night play from Mansfield,
Notts., collected from the author's father Mr.S.Beazley. The characters are;
St. George, Bold Slasher, Doctor, Beelzebub, Molly Mop, Mickey Bent, Polly
Flinders and a Rake.
Mentions that at Clayworth, Notts., Beelzebub went by the name of Old Eezum
Squeezum. Covers plough trailing, malicious ploughing and Plough lights with
the usual quotes, probably derived from Chaworth-Musters (1890) which the author
cites. The Cropwell cast is given as; Tom the Fool, Recruiting Sergeant,
Ribboner or Recruit, Doctor, Lady, Ploughman, Hopper Joe and Threshing Blade.
The final song is given.
S. R. (Auth.)
PLOUGH MONDAY AND THE MUMMERS' PLAY: NOTTINGHAMSHIRE SURVIVALS
18th Jan.1947, No.5305, p.3 c-e
A review of the origins of Mummers' Plays and Plough Monday Plays. Race
regards as fanciful the idea that the Mummers' Plays were a survival from pagan
times, on grounds of lack of evidence. Although it may have originated in the
18th century, it really became popular in the early 19th century, under the
influence of such books such as "Hone's Year Book for 1826". Chapbooks were an
important factor later in the century. He cites a chapbook published in Belper
in 1846, and chapbooks published by Heywoods of Manchester in the 1860s to
1880s. The Plough Monday play evolved from the Mummers' Play in the mid 19th
century. He cites E.K.Chambers' (1933) feeling that the Plough Monday plays
were confined to Lincs., and adjacent districts.
Texts from Clayworth (R.J.E.Tiddy, 1923) and Cropwell (Chaworth Musters, 1890)
are compared. The characters for the Clayworth play are given as; Bold Tom,
Recruiting Sergeant, Farmer's Man, Lady Bright and Gay, old Eazum Squeezum and
the Doctor. The Cropwell characters are given as; Tom the Fool, Recruiting
Sergeant, Ribboner, Doctor, Lady, Beelzebub, Dame Jane and the Farmer's
Men. The text from Chaworth Musters (1890) is also compared with another text
from Cropwell Bishop collected later by Race (S.Race Collection, 1924,
E.R.Granger). In the latter play, the Lady had been lost, and Beelzebub had
been replaced by Easem Squeasem. Other plays mentioned include a team from
Harby, Leics., which used to visit Cropwell Bishop regularly, and a Retford
troupe in the 19th century, one of whose members wore an animal's head.
Race concludes by posing the question, "Why should the observance of Plough
Monday be so general in the countryside, and its play confined to an area
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).
"John Granby" (Auth.)
Local Notes and Queries: PLOUGH MONDAY'S PLAYS.: Part II
12th Jan.1952, No.5565, p.11 b
Crams a lot into three paragraphs. Says that the hobby horse was common on
Plough Monday at Mansfield, Cuckney and Elkesley, Notts., until about 1870.
Summarises M.W.Barley (1951) - again mis-cited as M.W.Bramley. Mentions the
Cropwell/Wiverton play in Chaworth-Musters (1890), recent observances at East
Markham and Weston-on-Trent, and the likelihood of Newstead and Southwell as
good areas to collect. Ends by citing P.Crawford's (1938) "In England Still"
"John Granby" (Auth.)
LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Nottinghamshire's Plough Mondays
10th Jan.1953, No.5617, p.10 a-b
Presents extracts from an account of Plough Monday plough trailing by Thomas
Miller in his "Country Year Book", probably dating from the period 1830 to 1850
in Notts. This seems to be a miscitation of Millers' "Year-Book of Country Life" (1855),
as his "Country Year Book" does not mention Plough Monday. His proposed dates are also
likely to be wrong.
Also quotes an account [from F.M.E.W. (1923)] of Plough Monday,
Plough Bullocks (plough trailing, 1870), and Christmas, Guisers (1872) at
Bulwell Kilnyards, Notts. The play featured; St. George, Doctor, Beelzebub,
Bess and Jack. Finally, briefly mentions Chaworth-Musters' (1890) text of the
Cropwell and Tithby Plough-Bullocks play.
E.H.Rudkin Collection (1974, A.Harper)
Aubrey Harper (Inf.)
A Plough Monday Play from Cropwell Butler, Notts.
Com. 22nd Feb.1974
Manuscript copy of the Cropwell Plough Monday play published
by Mrs. Chaworth-Musters (1890). There is also a typed-up
version. This was sent to Rudkin by Aubrey Harper of Cropwell
Butler, Notts., via Ian Beckwith. In a manuscript letter sent
later, Harper explains his own experiences of the play thus:
"I must tell you that the copy I have
sent you was written out in the early
1900's by a lady wholived quite near
to me. The version I remember as a
boy - and I took the part of the
doctor just once - was rather different.
In fact some of the 'actors' not too sure
of their lines were apt to fill in with
their own words! Being passed on
by word of mouth rather than a written
script and so far as I know the play
has not been performed here at Cropwell
for the past fifty years before
tape-recording was thought of. A pity.
About the dancing - this was not a set
thing, just a linking of arms and a jig.
The songs also, were often made up verse
to some well known tune.
I recollect that the play, as performed in
my school days was most exciting, and
entertaining, in spite of its shortcomings
and for a performer to forget his lines
was greeted with applause."
Diana Diemer (Auth.)
Nottinghamshire Countryside: The Plough Monday celebrations at Cropwell
A description of a Plough Bullocks play from Cropwell, Notts., taken from
Mrs. Chaworth-Musters (1890). The trailing of a plough and malicious ploughing
are mentioned, and the lines of the final song are quoted. The characters
are listed as; Tom Fool, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner/Recruit, Threshing Blade,
Hopper Joe, the Ploughman, Doctor, Young Lady, Dame Jane and Beelzebub.
Peter Millington (Auth.)
The Cropwell Ploughboy's Costume of 1893
Traditional Drama Forum,
Paper concerning a Ploughboys costume from the Plough-Monday play from
Cropwell, Notts. A costume, made by a performer, was sent by
Mrs. L. Chaworth Musters of Wiverton Hall to T.F.Ordish, who exhibited it
during a lecture to the Folk-Lore Society in 1983. Letters from
Mrs. Chaworth Musters to Ordish, and from her informant H.Howell of
Cropwell Butler are quoted. From these, there is are discrepancies between
the their descriptions of the costume sent to Ordish, and the costume he
eventually bequeathed to the Folk-Lore Society - photos of which are given.
It seems likely that this costume is a contemporary reconstruction.
This costume is sometimes attributed to the character Hopper Joe, but this
is not clear cut from the correspondence on which this attribution is based.
The need to include the "Ploughboys Song" in the Ordish Collection with
the Cropwell text is also discussed. This was written down by Wm. Parnham
of Tithby on the 19th Jan.1893
B.Brown & P.Millington (2005)
Bill Brown (Auth.); Peter Millington (Auth.)
Correspondence: Cropwell Ploughboys' Costume
Traditional Drama Forum,
This correspondence follows up the article, P.Millington (2002), about the
Cropwell Ploughboys costume of 1893. Separating the applique figures by colour
using digital image processing shows that the red cotton figures were attached
symmetrically first, and the black silk figures and lettering added asymmetrically
later. It is suggested that the costume originally made by Mr. Howell of Cropwell
Butler only had red figures, and that Mrs. Chaworth-Musters added the black
figures to match her earlier published description and reversed the letter 'N'
and 'S' to make the costume look more primitive or 'folksie' before it was
displayed to the Folk-lore Society by T.Fairman Ordish.
* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.