The Islip Mummers' Play of 1780

M.J.Preston (1973)


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Islip, Oxon. (SP5214)
Year: Datad 1780
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers

Source:

M.J.Preston
The Oldest British Folk Play
Folklore Forum, 1973, Vol.VI, No.3, pp.168-174


Cast: (Click on any name for the character name index.)
Text:

{THE ISLIP MUMMERS' PLAY OF 1780}

{Anna Domino, Carrying a Besom or Broom}

Anna Domino

What ho! What ho! Make room for mummers
and old Anna Domino
I have brought my champions brave
Fighting men, and Pedlar knave
Old Doctor Spinny, sometimes called Quack,
his man Salt Peter, and old Fat Jack.
Old Father Christmas, so old and white,
he has promised to look in tonight.

Act 1st

Come in my eldest son and show how battles are lost or won
Here come I the Roayl Duke of Blunderland
With my Broad Sword all in my hand,
Where is the man that dares bid me stand
I'll slay him and cut him as small as Flies
and send him to the Cookshop to make mincepies,
Mincepies hot or mincepies cold
I'll send him to the Devil before he three days old.

{Enter Earl or King Percy}

Earl Percy

I am the man that dares to bid you stand,
altho' you swaggers and swears, that with your courageous hand,
you will slay me and cut him as small as Flies,
and send me to the Cook shop, to make Mince pies,
Defend yourself for I show no Mercy,
I fight to the death as sure as I am Percy.

{Instructions, decide which is to be Dead Man, and make a good fight.}

Herald

Call the doctor, call old Quack
Take my donkey to bring him back.

{Knock at the door.}

Come in doctor Quack

[Doctor]

I am not a Quack, as you may see
I am Doctor Spinney with a big M. D.

{Doctor enters mounted, Nag restive, kicks the doctor off. Blame Salt Peter for giving the Nag to many Beans.}

[Act 1st?]

Doctor, doctor, I have kill'd a man.

Salt Peter

Kill'd a man, kill'd a Monkey.

Herald

Doctor, doctor, do your part
the King is wounded to the heart
as you can plainly see.

{D.S. examines the Dead Man & calls Peter to bring his bag of Tools.}

Peter

I shan't, fetch them yourself

D.S.

Keep a dog and bark myself fetch them this minute

{Peter brngs bag of Tools}

{Doctor sews up the wound, and speaks as follows}

Doctor

I am a Doctor, a Doctor Good
Who's hand were never stained with blood,
I can cure the itch, the Pox, the Palsy, and the Gout,
Pains within, and pains without,
If the Devil in I can fetch him out.
I have Plaster and Potions Poisons, and Pills,
Some to cure, and some to kill.
I have travelled thro' England, Ireland, France and Spain,
been to Europe and back again
Hocus, Pocus, Alecampain
Take one of my Pills, Dead Man, rise and fight again.

{Dead Man is alive again}

{Singing heard outside. Song}

[Fat Jack?]

I am a button maker by my trade,
Till I was ruined by a Maid,
Dam such Maids so said I
Fall rall riddle roll ri do.

{Enters Fat Jack Drunk}

Fat Jack

Here come I old Fat Jack,
At fighting I can do my whack
by Day, or Night, or candlelight,
old Jack will Fight, with all his might
wrong or right, sober or tight.

{Jack staggers & falls, and knock Anna Domino down.}

{Ann D. groaning, is examined by D.S}

Salt Peter

Shes got the Toothache.

D.S.

The Tooth Ache why she is quite big
and will bring forth a New-Heir-Year,
on the 31st of December at 12 p.m.

D.S.

Peter fetch Pinchers we will have a tooth out,
and make sure, it will make the Bill longer

{Pulls tooth out and give a Pill. A.D. right again.}

{Knock at door}

Pedlar Chap

Here come I a Pedlar Chap,
On my shoulder I car's my pack,
I have ribbons for the Ladies fair,
ornaments to deck there Hair,
Patches for there Pretty Faces,
High heeled Boots and fine Laces,
Toys to please both great and small,
and I've brought my Fiddle to please you all.

{All dance the Morris}

{Enters Father Christmas. Performers all dance round him, and all sing together.}

[All]

A virgin unspotted the Prophets foretold.
should bring forth a Saviour which we no behold,
to be our redemption from Death, Hell & Sin,
Which Adam's transgressions involved us in.
So let us be merry cast Sorrow away
Christ Jesus our Saviour was born on this day.

{Finis}


Notes:

"The texts is an exact reporoduction of Ms. Top. Oxon. D.199, ff.3014-306r"

"The original ms. was sent to Mr.E.H.Binney by an anonymous person who mailed it from Chichester, March 4, 1902. Binney's copy of his letter follows:

Mr. Binney

Sir, someone sent me the Oxford Journal this week tis not often I get it, I saw your article on the mummers was pleased with it, (fifty years ago I used to belong to a gang of mummers at Islip) and thought praps the enclosed might interest you. Copy made this afternoon the 4th Match 1902.

Following the letter, Binney copies from the ms.:

This copy, The Mummers Play, taken from an old M.S. date 1780 The M.S. was the property of the late Thomas Johnson of Islip Ocon & in his hand writing. He was Clerk of the Parish."


File History:
Entered by Peter Millington - 12th June 1999

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/78sp51be.htm
Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)