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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Play Information

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TitleMummers' play
Alternative Title
WordsUnknown
Collected FromUnknown
Occupation
Age
Date
LocationStratton St. Margaret
CountyWiltshire
Source PrimaryWSRO 3433 Morrison, Jean: Folklore and customs Box 16865 Folk customs 2
Source SecondaryWilliams, Alfred: Wiltshire village, Duckworth, 1912 p 244
Recording
 
The Play
No text
 
Print Play Verse
 
Notes
Note 1

There is the briefest reference to the Stratton St Margaret Mummers in Williams’ Wiltshire village in a passage on the South Marston Mummers:

There was also a party of mummers who came from St Margaret, and who were better taught than those of the village. Sometimes these came in contact at the farm-houses, but, though they were very jealous of each other, there was no unpleasantness.

Note 2

Jean Morrison – ‘Wore masks’.

Note 3

Chris Wildridge – ‘Jean Morrison lived in Bratton, Wiltshire for many of the last fifty years of her life. She was a keen amateur historian with a particular interest in folklore. She published articles and co-edited a volume in the Wiltshire Record Society Series. Her archive at the History Centre is substantial and is in the early stages of being catalogued. The folklore boxes contain a series of folders which contain many newspaper cuttings and notes culled from many sources, many of which are unidentified.

In Box 16865 the folder Folk Customs 2 contains a document – ‘Folk lore calendar with special reference to Wilts’. This is arranged by the year’s quarters and in the Winter Quarter refers to Mummers as follows – [All Cannings, Alton Barnes, Avebury, Bassett Down, Burbage, Chitterne, Highworth, Keevil, Lydiard Tregoze, Marlborough, Minety, Potterne Christmas Boys, Quidhampton, Salisbury, Shrewton, Stratton St Margaret, Stourton, Woodford, Wootton Rivers] Marshfield Paper Boys, Andover Jolly Jacks Walk in, St George at Simonsbury. The last three are obviously not Wiltshire locations.

There are alternative published sources to confirm for example the existence of Mummers at Potterne, Quidhampton and Woodford. The folder also contains two 8x5 cards entitled ‘Mummers Disguise’ and two giving references to the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine which confirms her reference regarding All Cannings. The Mummers Disguise cards contain the majority of the communities referred to above. Later in the folder is a note referring to a WI Scrapbook for Fittleton as a source.

For some plays the only extant evidence at this time is the folk lore calendar. So the evidence for some plays is limited and unconfirmed by additional sources. However, they are offered here on the basis that there is clear corroboration for some plays in her list, e.g. All Cannings and no doubt somewhere in her papers is corroboration for the others she mentions.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2013.

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