Location: Alton Barnes, Wiltshire, England (SU1061)
Year: Perf. 1930
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]


Douglas Kennedy
Observations on the Sword-Dance and Mummers' Play
Journal of the English Folk Dance Society, 2nd Series, 1930, No.3, pp.32-33



Father Christmas. No.1.

In comes I, old Father Christmas.
Christmas or Christmas not,
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
Christmas comes but once a year,
When it comes it brings good cheer.
'Roast Beef', 'Plum Pudding', and 'Mince Pies',
Who likes them better than you and I?
Fugril, fugril, a jug of Christmas ale
Will make us dance and sing,
Money in our pocket is a very fine thing.
Room, room, ladies and gentlemen,
Let King William walk in.

King William. No.2.

Here comes I, King William King,
Man, son of great courage,
Both sword and spear in my hand,
An open crown of gold.
I slew the dragon and brought him to the slaughter
All through the Queen's famous daughter.

Turkey Snipe. No.3

In comes I, Old Turkey Snipe,
From my Turkish lands I'll fight;
I'll fight William the King.

{Turkey Snipe and the King fight. Turkey Snipe falls.}

King William.

Is there a doctor to be found
To cure this man from bleeding
On this cold ground

The Doctor. No.4.

Yes, there is a doctor to be found
To cure this man from bleeding
On this cold ground

King William.

Doctor, doctor, what is thy fee?


Ten pound, but ten guineas I'll take off thee.
{Doctor walks forward to the dead man.}
Here comes I the Spanish Doctor
Lately come from Spain.
I can cure the big-bellied man
And fetch the dead to life again.
If he's got the itch, stitch, the palsy or the gout,
Or if the Old Man's in him, I'll soon fetch him out.
Open thy flip flop
and take this slip slop.
Arise, arise, Old Turkey Snipe
Go to thy Turkish land and fight.
I'll fight thee and seven more
To save King William.

Valiant Soldier. No.5.

Here comes I, the Valiant Soldier,
Whip Him and Slash Him is my name.
From the bleeding war I came,
Only I and seven more
slew the battle of eleven score,
The last battle I fought
To save William the King.

Saucy Jack. No.6

Here comes I, old Saucy Jack,
Wife and family on my back.
Out of mine I've got but five,
All the rest be starved alive.
Out of five I've got but one,
He'll have to go when I gets home.
I went out one morning before it was light,
I met a man, he axed me if I were upright.
And it were so dark I couldn't see,
So I humped up my back like a neddie.
Don't you think I'm a beautiful boy?
I will give you a Merry Christmas a Happy New Year,
A pocket full of money and a cellar full of beer.

Little Twing Twang. No.7.

Here comes I, little Twing Twang,
I'm the best in this rough gang.
Times are hard and children small,
If I hadn't come now, I shouldn't come at all.
Josie gets up in the morning. Mary whistles and sings.
Money in our pockets is a very fine thing.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, sit at your ease,
Put your hands in your pockets and give what you please.


Kennedy's introduction:

"This play was kindly noted for me by Miss J.M.Lawson from Mrs. Walter Pearce, who gets up the play every Christmas. Pearce learned the play from a man living at Stanton St. Bernard.
The play is done from house to house during Christmas time. Father Christmas is dressed in white robes and beard. King William and Turkey Snipe have hats and belts made of paper strips of wallpaper and cloaks made of streamers of paper. Valiant Soldier wears a Wiltshire Regiment red coat, and the Doctor has the usual top hat and black bag. Saucy Jack, who has a hump, is dressed in rough working clothes, and his uncouthness must be emphasized according to local tradition. Little Twing Twang can dress as his fancy takes him."

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2001-01-01 - Entered by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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