Location: Whitley, Berkshire, England (SU7270)
Year: Perf. 1930
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]


Stuart Piggott
Collectanea. Mummers' Plays from Berkshire, Derbyshire, Cumberland, and Isle of Man.
Folk-Lore, 1929, Vol.40, No.3, pp.265-268



{Witley, Reading, Berks.}


"In comes I, old Father Christmas,
Be I welcome, be I not,
I hope old grandfather Christmas
Will never be forgot.
Christmas comes but once a year,
When it comes it brings good cheer.
Roast beef, plum pudding.
Who likes that better than I?"

{Any one of the other characters.-}


"I do, Father!"


"Thee likes everything as is good, doesn't?
Twixt King George and my two sons,
I brought some brave men here to fight.
First hand King George and Turkish Knight.
Step in King George, let's see what thee can do."

{Enter King George.}


"In comes I, King George,
Rand I do appear,
With my broad sword and weapon,
I've come to claim you here.
For England's rights, for England's wrongs,
For England's my salvation.
When I draw out my English weapon,
Is there a noble man to stand before me?
That I may cut him down with my graded hand."


"Oh yes, oh yes, there is a man,
Who all in this room can stand,
Before you stand, but you can't cut him down with thy graded hand."


"Fetch him in then, Father!"


"Walk in, Turkish Knight."

{Enter Turkish Knight.}


"In comes I, this Turkish Knight,
I come from Turkey land to fight.
Fight I will before I go,
Let King George's blood be ever so hot
I will quickly let it flow.
Battle to battle to thee I call."

{They fight.}


"Battle to battle to thee I cry,
To sec which on tills ground shall lie."

{Turkish Knight falls.}


"Thee'st done summat with him, hasn't?
I think I've got another little man to have a fight with thee."


Fetch him in then, Father."


"Walk in Bold Roamer, let's see what thee canst do,"

{Enter Bold Roamer.}


"In comes I, Bold Roamer,
Bold Roamer is my name,
In many a battle have I fought,
And never yet been slain.
I've come to show thee merry sports
Of pastime this long winter's night.
Old activity, new activity,
Activity never seen before
And never shall no more."


"Thee talks rather bold,
Like another little lad that I've been told.
How do'st cut thy capers?
Pull out thy rusty raper.
Pull out thy sword and fight,
Pull out thy purse and pay,
I'll give thee satisfaction
Before I go away."

B.R. -

"No satisfaction at all, King George.
I say before I've fought with thee five minutes I'll take thy life away.
Battle to battle to thee I call."


"Battle to battle to thee I cry,
To see which on this ground shall lie."
{They fight.}
"Mind your hits and guard your blows,
Or off comes your great ugly nose."

{Bold Roamer falls.}


"Oo, thou'st been and done something with un, hasn't?"


"I have, Father."


"Oh, is there and a noble doctor to be found,
To cure my two sons lying bleeding on the ground?"

Doctor {without} .-

"Oh yes, there is and a noble doctor to be found
To cure your two sons lying bleeding on the ground."


"Walk in, noble Doctor."

{Enter Doctor.-}


"In comes I, this noble Doctor,
Lately come from Spain,
For I have come to cure
Your two sons as has been slain."


"What's your fees then, Doctor?"


"Ten guineas is my fees,
But five I'll take of thee.
For I've a little bottle by my side,
What they call the Elecompane :
Cure the itch, the stitch, the palsy, and the gout,
Pains within and pains without.
I cured an old magpie of the itch the other day."


"How do'st do that then, Doctor?"


"Cut off his head, throw his body in the ditch."


"Most safely cured, and a barber's trick.
Just see what thee can do with these two."

Doctor {Shaking their arms} .-

"No broken legs here."
{Shaking their legs} " No broken arms here."
{Sprinkles Elecompane on them both.}
"A drop on thy heart,
A drop on thy skull,
Arise, arise, oh Turkish Knight,
And go to thy Turkey land to fight."


"Walk in, little Twingtwang,
Let you and I have a battle."

{Enter Twingtwang.}


"In comes I, little Twingtwang,
With my left-handed press-gang.
I've come to press all you bold fellows,
And send you to sea.
Likewise my name is little Johnnie Jack,
With my wife and family up my back.
My family's large, my wife is small,
I think myself the best man of all."


"Thee think'st thyself the best man of all?"


I do, Father!"


I don't mind having a battle with thee then."

T. -

Battle to battle to thee I call."

F.C. -

Battle to battle to thee I cry,
To see which on this ground shall lie.
Mind your hits and guard your blows,
Or off comes your great ugly nose."

{They fight. Father Christmas falls with one knee up, on which Twingtwang sits.}


"Hold, behold, look what I've been and done,
I've killed my father Abraham.
And here sets his son [or? sun]
As I set I set at ease,
Ladies and gentlemen, give what you please.
A glass of your best ale
Will make us merry and sing,
Sixpence in our pocket and God save the King."


PiggottÂ’s Notes:

"Dictated to me by a performer, W. Poulter, 1930. Still acted. This version has been performed by at least three generations of the Poulter family and their relatives, the words being transmitted orally. Formerly the actors blacked their faces, but this has not been done for some years. The costumes mainly consist of conical "foolscaps" decorated with scraps of tinsel etc., but King George wears an old red military tunic."

Peter Millington's Notes:

Note the misspelling of "Whitley" in Piggot's published heading.

File History:

2002-02-16 - Scanned & coded by Peter Millington
2004-07-01 - Indexer's note added by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington


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