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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Play Information

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TitleMummers' play
Alternative Title
WordsKee, [Mrs]
Collected FromUnknown
Source Primary
Source SecondaryOliver, Edith: Moonrakings – a little book of Wiltshire stories Coates and Parker n.d. p 54, 55
The Play
No text
Print Play Verse
At Christmas we all looked forward to seeing the Mummers on Boxing Day, as Christmas pudding is for Christmas Day. It would not seem like Christmas without them. The Mummers, as they were called, consisted of a dozen or so men and boys, dressed in various costumes with their faces blackened, and playing all kinds of instruments - melodians, whistle pipes, tambourines, etc., etc. One of the men used to carry some dolls on his back and the song they used to sing was:-

'Here comes I, little Johnny Jack,
With my wife and family on my back.'

It was great fun to us, as children, to watch the Mummers. They used to go round to all the big houses playing their various instruments and collecting money. Our band of Mummers used to go to the neighbouring villages, and their Mummers used to patronise us. Now they too, are a feature of the past, and, like the May Queen, have quite died out in these parts.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2008.



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