Bibliography of Nottinghamshire Folk Plays & Related Customs

"North Notts." (Auth.)

Source:
"North Notts." (Auth.)
HARVEST CUSTOMS IN NOTTS.
Newark Herald, 3rd Sep.1887, No.792, p.5a

"A CORRESPONDENT, who signs himself 'North Notts.,' writes in the Daily News that a recent article in that paper reminds him of a similar custom which 25 or 30 years ago prevailed in the county of Notts., and which he has, as a boy, frequently taken an active part. He adds - The last load of corn brought home from the fields was the occasion for the boys of the village to have a ride and to shout 'Harvest Home' for the farmers. This load would generally consist of the rakings of the field, and therefore not very valuable. Previous to our mounting the load for our ride we were careful to arm ourselves with branches of trees, the purpose for which will presently appear. On our journey from the field to the farmer's yard, the usual hurrahs would be lustily given, and at intervals of a few minutes a well-known speech or ditty would be recited by the leading boys, two of which I can yet remember:

God bless these horses which trail us home,
They've had many a wet and weary bone.
We've rent our clothes, and torn our skin,
All for to get this harvest in.
So hip, hip, hip hurrah.

In another the name of the farmer would be brought in this:-

Mr. Smith he is a good man,
He lets us ride home on his harvest van.
He gives us bread, and cheese, and ale,
And we hope his heart will never fail.
So hip, hip, hip hurrah.

Then, Sir, curious and barbarous as it may seem, as we drew near to houses, it was the custom to bring out water and throw it upon us as we passed along, and from which we defended ourselves with the branches of trees. If we arrived safely home without a dowsing of water, the occasion was shorn of half the fun for the boys, but that was not the worst calamity. It was supposed that farmer Smith's yield of corn would not be so good. After arrival home apples would be distributed to the boys for their labour in shouting 'Harvest Home.'"

Index Terms:
Locations: Notts.
Years: Perf. 1852 to 1857
Subjects: Harvest Home; Chants; Full Text
Archives: Ref.: TD00730

Indexed by Peter Millington. Last updated Apr.2005

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