Hucknall (SK5349), Nottinghamshire
Llewellynn Jewitt (Auth.)
ON ANCIENT CUSTOMS AND SPORTS OF THE COUNTY OF NOTTINGHAM
*Journal of the British Archaeological Association,
1853, Vol.8, pp.229-240
A rambling general summary of customs in Notts. It followed two similar
papers concerning Cheshire and Derbyshire, and a certain amount of
extrapolation from these counties is evident.
Among the customs covered are; drawing lots for Valentines near Mansfield, the
blessing of St. Ann's Well, Nottingham on Easter Monday and of another well at
Newark, a May-pole at Hucknall Folkard [presumably meant to be Hucknall
Torkard], divination on All Hallows at Lenton, the perambulation of crib called a
Wassail Cup at Christmas, and Groaning Cakes & Cheeses - a birth custom.
He quotes Deering's description of the Midsummer's Eve watch at Nottingham.
The description of Christmas says "... the mummers, or guisors, pass from house
to house, and still perform their play of St. George..."
Also; "On Plough Monday, as well as during the Christmas holidays, the plough
bullocks are still to be seen in various parts of the country. This extremely
picturesque and popular custom, - with its plough, drawn by farmer's men, gaily
dressed in ribbands, its drivers, with their long wands and bladders, its
sword-dancers, its fool and its celebrated Bessy, and hobby-horse, - I have
described in my Derbyshire paper; it will therefore be sufficient to say, that
amongst other places the neighbourhoods of Newstead, Mansfield, and Southwell,
are still famous for its observance, and that it has been well described by
Washington Irving in his Newstead Abbey."
"John Granby" (Auth.)
*LOCAL NOTES AND QUERIES: Poor owd 'oss
"RUSTIC wassailing was not yet extinct, but the excesses of
disgruntled plough-bullockers had put them out of favour. Mummers
or guisers entertained villagers with their play of St. George
into the later years of the century.
At Mansfield, the hobby-horse performance was represented by the
'Poor old 'oss' until about 1870. Still later at Sutton-in-Ashfield
a man was accustomed to parade the streets at four o'clock in the
morning ringing a bell to summon people to awake and prepare for
Children at Hucknall continued to carry about a glass-topped box
in which dolls representing the Virgin and infant Babe lay among
ivy and holly.
At each house of call the covering cloth was withdrawn, the images
viewed, and it was deemed unlucky to let the children depart without
The Education Act of 1870 helped to put an end to old customs, but
some struggled on to disappear completely during the war of 1914-18.
It is significant of the hold Christmas customs obtained upon the
public that present conditions of life have not killed them all.
Some of the more domestic celebrations still exist. Others have
lately been revived."
P.T.Millington Collection (1971, L.Platt)
Lawrence Platt (Col.)
MISCELLANEOUS NOTES ON NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AND DERBYSHIRE FOLK DRAMA RECORDED BY PETER T. MILLINGTON: HUCKNALL Notts SK 5349
Brief note as follows:-
"Lawrence Platt of the Nottingham Traditional Music Club stated that a
'travesty' of a plough play was still performed in Hucknall (1970)."
[At the time this record was noted, we were not really aware of non-play Plough
Monday customs. So it is possible that this custom could have been a simple
house visiting custom.]
* indicates data that not yet been validated against the original source and/or has yet to be completely indexed.