Bibliography of Nottinghamshire Folk Plays & Related Customs

W.Irving (1835)

Source:
*[Washington Irving (Auth.)]
*Miscellanies: Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey
*London, Murray, 1835, pp.162-165

This is a somewhat florid yet brief description of Plough Monday at Newstead Abbey, Notts., and Christmas at Barlborough Hall, Derbys. It is prominent in that it has been much reprinted and cited by later authors.

The Plough Monday "antics" included some sort of play, involving the recitation of "...the old ballad of St. George and the Dragon..." This was followed by "...a set of morrice dancers..." with Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Beelzebub, and Bessy. The trailing of a "fool plough" is mentioned by way of background information, but does not appear to be ascribed to any particular location.

The description of Christmas at Barlborough Hall mentions the "Yule Clog" being put on the fire on Christmas Eve, the wassail bowl and the singing of carols. "We had mummers and mimers, too, with ballads and traditional dialogues, and the famous old interlude of the Hobby Horse..." There were also sword dancers.

According to his published letters, Irving stayed at Barlborough Hall at the end of 1831, making a day trip to Newstead Abbey on the 29th Oct.1831. This was followed in Jan.1832 with a stay of several weeks at Newstead Abbey. Irving returned to the U.S.A. in April 1832, and the miscellanies were first published in 1835.

Index Terms:
Locations: Newstead Abbey, Notts. (SK5453); Barlborough Hall, Derbys. (SK4778)
Years: Publ. 1835; Perf. 1831; Perf. 1832
Subjects: Plough Monday; Christmas; Play; Ballads; St. George and the Dragon; Morrice Dancers; Robin Hood; Maid Marian; Beelzebub; Bessy; Plough Trailing; Fool Plough; Yule Clog; Christmas Eve; Wassail Bowl; Carol Singing; Mummers; Mimers; Hobby Horse; Sword Dancers
Archives: Ref.: TD00064

Indexed by Peter Millington. Last updated Sep.1990

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