Broadwell Christmas Play, 1900 or 1901

I.Gatty (1948) pp.32-34


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Broadwell, Warwickshire, England (SP4565)
Year: Col. 1900 or 1901
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

Ivor Gatty
Collectanea: The Eden Collection of Mumming Plays
Folk-Lore, 1948, Vol.59, pp.16-34


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

{Broadwell. (E.Isham.) Eden Collection.}

Old Woman.

In comes I tall hind before,
I come first to open the door.
I brought a broom to sweep the room.
I'll warrant all give me room to rise,
I've come to show activity this merry Christmas time.
Activity at first, activity at late
That's never been acted in this common state.

{Walk in Old Prussian King.}

[Old Prussian King].

In comes I Old Prussian King.
Born to defend all nations.
I value no man, neither French nor Turk,
I dont know the man that can do me any hurt.
Where is the man that dare bid me stand?

Bold Slasher.

Oh I am the man that dare bid thee stand,
Bold Slasher is my name,
With sword and buckle at my side
I long to win the game.
For there shall be war between us two,
To see which first on the ground shall go.
So mind your hits and guard your blows,
Or else you'll have one on your nose.
For I will cut you up as small as flies
And send you to Jamica [sic] to make mince pies.

{Then the battle.}

{Then the fall of Bold Slasher.}

{Then the Old Woman says:}

[Old Woman]

Doctor, doctor do your part
King George is wounded in his heart.
Not in his heart but in his knee.
Five pounds in gold I'll give to thee.

[? Doctor outside].

Doctor aint coming for no such money as that.

Old Woman.

Doctor, doctor do your part,
King George is wounded in his heart.
Not in his heart but in his knee,
20 [Note 1] pounds in gold I'll give to thee.

[?Jack].

Doctor's a coming.

{Then the Doctor comes in and says :}

[Doctor]

My man Jack !

[Jack].

Hullo !

[Doctor].

Bring my horse.

[Jack].

You fetch him.

[Doctor].

You bring him.

[Jack].

All right, Be I to ride him?

[Doctor].

No. He throwed me last night and broke my neck,
I was obliged to have it tin-tacked together again this morning.

{Then the horse is brought.}

{Then the horse throws the doctor.}

{Then the Doctor says :}

[Doctor]

My man Jack !

[Jack].

Hullo

[Doctor].

What did you give my horse to eat last night?

[Jack].

A bean and a half to eat,
a bucket of dry ashes to drink,
and racked him up with a furze faggot.

[Doctor].

Well don't you give him so much within half a bean tonight.
Well what do you think's the matter with this man?

{Old Woman says :}

[Old Woman]

Got the tooth-ache in his big toe.

[Doctor].

Well, we'd better draw it a bit.

Old Woman.

Come no. How can you draw a man toe?

[Doctor].

Well we had better try at his tooth.

Old Woman.

Come yes.

Doctor.

Can ever one of you draw a tooth like that without fetching blood?

Beelzebub.

Yes. For I are a cleverer doctor than you.

Doctor.

What can you do then?

[Beelzebub].

Cure a magpie of the tooth-ache.

[Doctor].

How should you do it?

[Beelzebub].

Cut him a piece of tin-tack pudding and give him that.
That would stick to his ribs.

[Doctor].

I know a better cure than that.

[Beelzebub].

How should you do it?

[Doctor].

Why cut his head off and throw his body in the ditch,
that's a safe cure.
And now I have some pills, they are but few,
They will search this man's body through and through,
They will strike fire to his heart like a dung drag,
and come from him like a turn-pike gate;
and if any man has been dead three score years and ten
they will fetch him to life again.

{Giving Slasher a pill.}

And now bold soldier is not quite dead,
rise up and fight again.

{Then another battle.}

{Then the Old Woman parts them and calls in Beelzebub.}

[Beelzebub].

In comes I Beelzebub,
And on my shoulder I carry a club,
And in my hand a dripping pan
And dont you think I'm a jolly old man?
Jolly enough.
Last Christmas time I turned to spit
and burnt my finger. I feel it yet.
The saucepan beat the ladle.
Hullo, said the grid iron, can't you two agree?
I am the Justice bring him to me.
As I was walking down a long dirty muddy lane
I saw nine cast iron fir trees walking about.
I thought that very funny.
I went a bit further.
I saw a pigsty tied to an elder bush.
I thought that very funny.
I went a bit further
I saw a house built with pancakes
and thatched with apple dumplings.
I thought that very funny.
I knocked at the maid and the door came out
and I asked her if she would lend me a pick axe;
she said, ah yes, you go up nineteen pairs of stairs,
and down seventeen, into the garret
you will find one put to bed with seven young ones.
And when I came back she asked me if I could eat a glass of beer
and drink a crust of bread and cheese.
I said, ah yes and no thank you, and meant yes please all the same.
And if I come this way another year
I will bring you a brace of rabbits to make you a pigeon pie of.

[Old Woman].

Walk in John Finny.

[John Finny].

I wish to be called Mr. Finny.

[Old Woman].

Walk in Mr. Finny.

[John Finny].

In comes I that's never been yet
With my big head and little wit.
My head so big, my wit so small,
I will play you a tune that will please you all.
Green sleeves and yellow faces,
Now my lads come take your places.

{Then the dance.}

{Finishes.}


Notes:

Gatty's Footnote:

Footnote 1: "An illegible symbol, might possibly stand for 20."

Gatty's Notes:

N.B. The handwriting is clearly that of a boy. The script is endorsed by Mrs. Eden " E. Isham, Broadwell ". From other sources I learn that Isham was boot-boy at Hill Brow Preparatory School at Rugby, of which Mr. Eden was then Head-master. The date is certainly 1900 or 1901.

Indexer's Notes:

In "English Ritual Drama" by E.C.Cawte et al (1967) p.60, two sources are listed for Broadwell, the second source being the T.F.Ordish Collection. These are also listed for the neighbouring village of Leamington Hastings (SP4467). These are footnoted as follows:

E.C.Cawte et al's footnote:

"The texts of these two plays are identical, and the original source, E.Isham, the same in both cases. The text in OrdC is labelled Leamington Hastings, and that in CatL, Broadwell. A separate note in OrdC refers to a Broadwell play, but no text or any other detail is given. Under the circumstances therefore, we have given both locations, but whether or not one team served both, or two separate teams used the same text, it is now impossible to say."


File History:
22nd February 2002 - Scanned & Coded by Peter Millington

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