Peter Millington (Auth.)Index Terms:
IN YOUR VIEW: DO GUYSERS STILL EXIST? [in the area around Eastwood, Notts.]
Eastwood & Kimberley Advertiser, 18th Jan.1991, Vol.94, No.5052, p.9 c-d
Twenty year ago, I wrote an article for the Advertiser with the above title, and asking your readers about the local custom of Guysing or Bullguysing.
These short rhymed plays, with St. George, Beelzebub, the Doctor, and a host of other possible characters, were traditionally performed around Christmas time by children going from house to house.
My worry at the time was that custom was dying out.
The response from your readers was very rewarding, and several people sent vivid details of their own performances in the 1930s and 1940s. Fortunately Guysing had not died.
I was able to record Bullguysers in Brinsley in 1971 and 1972, and the Eastwood Community Association performed the play to raise funds for Eastwood Festival in the mid 1970s.
However, the last performances I have heard of were recorded about 1980 by Dr.Ian Russell of Sheffield University in Jacksdale and Selston.
Do Guysers still exist?
I would dearly like to know if any of your readers saw or performed a Guysers' play this year, and if so where. Of course, I would still be interested in any other information people can give me on their Guysing experiences, and I will pass this on to local libraries for posterity.
I feel that it would be a pity to see this centuries-old custom disappear. I would like to think that information from your readers will not only keep a record for future generations, but perhaps inspire continued performances into the Twenty First Century.PETER MILLINGTON
232 College Street,
Nottingham, NG10 4GW"
The heading on my original letter to the editor was headed "Out Goes I St. George?"
Locations: Eastwood, Notts. (SK4646); Brinsley, Notts. (SK4649); Jacksdale, Notts. (SK4451); Selston, Notts. (SK4553) Years: Publ. 1991; Perf. 1930s and 1940s; Perf. 1971 and 1972; Perf. mid 1970s Subjects: Guysing; Bullguysing; Plays; St. George; Beelzebub; Doctor; Russell,I. (1981); Christmas; Millington,P.T. (1971); Millington,P.T. (1972); Guysers People: Peter Thomas Millington (Auth.); Eastwood Community Association (Perf.); Dr. Ian Russell (Col.) Archives: Ref.: TD00508