Location: Allendale, Northumberland, England (NY8455)
Year: Perf. 1860 to 1870
Time of Occurrence: New Year, Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers


George Brown
The Mummers
P.T.Millington Collection, 8th Jan.2002




{A Play for New Year written down by George Brown of Belford, Christmas 1986, from memories of Great Grandfather Brown of Allendale who was Head Mummer about 1860-1870. The play was for about six men and was performed at public houses on New Year's Eve, The men carried Tarry Toots. (Sacking tied on stout branches and dipped in pitch to burn.)}

Actors. {Outside, shouting in}

Way, way, make way, for all the merry actors.
We hope to make the play.

Chief Mummer. {Calling in}

Here comes little Diddly Dought,
If you don't give money, I'll chase you all out.
Money I want and money I crave.
If you don't give me money I'll send you all to your grave.

{Chief Mummer departs}

{Enter Knight}


Room! Room ! Make room.
I hope to win the game.

{Enter Second Knight}

Second Knight.

The game, sir; the game, sir, is net within your power,
For I could cut you down in inches in less than half an hour.
For my head is made of iron,
My body made of steel,
Legs and arms of beaten brass
No man can make me feel.

First Knight,

If your head is made of iron
And your body made of steel,
Legs and arms of beaten brass
I'm the man to make you feel.

Second Knight.

You Sir?

First Knight.

Aye Sir.

Second Knight.

Take your sword and try sir.

{They set to and fight- Second Knight falls.}


He hacked him doon in pieces sma'.

First Knight.

Ah me, what have I done?
I have killed my sister's only brother's son.
Call the doctor.
I will give five pounds for a doctor,

Actors, {shouting}

There is no five.

First knight.

I will give ten.

Actors. {shouting}

There is no ten.

First knight.

I'll give the world.


Hurrah! Here comes old Doctor Brown
The best old doctor in the town.
How came you to be a doctor?


By my travels.


How far did you travel?


Upstairs and downstairs, into my grandmother's cupboard
With a lump of sugar and butter and bread.
And I think that's a very hard day's work.


Can you do anything for this man?


Yes I can.
I have a little bottle in my pocket.
That cries Hokey Pokey- take a smell.
Rise up and sing this song.

{Second Knight rises and chants with doctor}

Second Knight and doctor.

Once I was dead, but now I'm alive.
God bless the doctor who made me alive.
With a pocket full of money and a barrel full of beer-
I wish you a Merry Christinas
And a Happy New Year.


From an accompanying letter from M.Williams dated 8th Jan.2002:

"Here is the mummers' play given to me by George brown of Norham, son of the George Brown of Belford mentioned in the text. The play is apparently from Allendale. George jnr. (of Norham) remembers it being performed by this family at home in Gateshead, where his father worked during WW2, every Christmas as family entertainment.
The family has a long and continuing tradition of working in forestry and landscape gardening in various parts of Northumberland, and George snr. always claimed they were descended from 'Capability' Brown.
George jnr can't remember any more details about the play. George snr. died recently.

Peter Millington's Notes:

The typescript of this play was found among the papers of George Brown snr of Belford, Northumberland, and passed to me by M.Williams. It is not known who it was that typed up the play, although it was probably someone in the family. It was this text that was used by the family when they lived in Gateshead.

File History:

2002-01-15 - Entered by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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