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The Flintham Plough Boys' Play



Foresters Morris as part of the Chatsworth House Spectacular.
More here.



In January 1914 on Plough Monday 7 men from Flintham presented their plough play Performing around the village they earned the usual bounty of mince pies and beer money. It would be a decade or more before the play was performed again. None who performed could have guessed how the year would end.

Characters 2014

Colin - Tom Fool
Barrie - sergeant
Vic - farmers man
Ken -lady 
Joe - Beelzebub 
Frank - George 
Dave - Doctor 

Flintham Plough Boys' Play Script

Tom Fool

In comes one who's never been before,
I can't get through the window
So I've come in thro' the door.
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen
A Happy New Year to you.
There are several more actors at the door,
Some can dance and some can sing,
By your consent they shall come in.
Oakom, Pokom, France and Spain,
Step in Sergeant, o'er the main.

Recruiting Sergeant

In comes I the recruiting sergeant.
I've arrived here just now.
I have orders from the King to list all jolly fellows
That follow either cart, horse or plough.
Pedlars, nailers, tinkers, tailors,
Chimney sweeps to me advance.
The more I hear the fiddle play
The better I can dance.

Tom Fool

If you begin to sing, dance or say,
I will quickly step away.

Recruiting Sergeant sings

Come all ye lads that bound for listing.
List and do not be afraid.
You shall have all kinds of liquor,
Likewise kiss a pretty maid.

Enter Farmer's Man

In comes I the farmer's man.
Don’t you see the whip in my hand
As I go up to plough the land
And turn it upside down.
Straight I go from end to end,
I scarcely make a break or bend,
And to my horses I attend
As they go marching round the end.
Gee, Whoa, Back, Banker.

Recruiting Sergeant to Farmer's Man

You will list young man?
Are you free, able and willing
To take this shilling
While on your old hat I pin this ribbon?

Farmer's Man

Yes, sir

Recruiting Sergeant sings

Ten bright pounds shall be your bounty
If along with me you'll go.
Your old hat shall be trimmed with ribbon
Likewise cut a gallant show.

Farmer's Man

Thanks kind sergeant, I'll take your offer.
Time and away dost quickly pass.
Dash my whip if I'll grieve any longer
For a proud and saucy lass.

Enter Lady singing

In comes I a lady bright and gay
With fortune and sweet charms.
So scornfully I've been thrown away
Out of my true love's arms.
He says that if I don't wed with him
That you will understand.
He will list for some old soldier
And go to foreign land.

Farmer's Man sings to the Lady

Madam, I've got gold and silver
Madam, I've got house and land.
Madam, I've got rings and jewels,
For me to put on thy right hand.

Lady sings to Farmer's Man

What care I for gold and silver,
What care I for your house and land,
What care I for your rings and jewels,
All I want is a handsome man.

Farmer's Man sings to the Lady

A handsome man will not maintain you
Neither will his money flow.
I am the man's that's got the money,
And it's money that made the old mare go.

Tom Fool to Lady

Do you love me my pretty maid?

Lady to Tom Fool

Yes Tommy, to my sorrow

Tom Fool

When shall be our wedding day?


Tommy, love, tomorrow.

Tom Fool

We'll shake hands and we'll lock banns,
We will be wed tomorrow.

Tom Fool joins hands with Lady and Recruiting Sergeant with Farmer's Man

Enter Beelzebub

In comes I, old Beelzebub,
Over my shoulder I carry my club.
Under my arm I've a frying pan,
Don't you think I'm a funny old man.
(If you don't, I do)

Enter St George

In comes I, St George the champion bold,
With my bright sword
I won ten thousand pounds in glittering gold.
I fought the fiery dragon
And brought him to a slaughter
And by that means I gained
The King of Egypt's daughter.
I turn myself round, is there anyone who dare stand before me tonight?

Tom Fool to St George

I will last night but not tonight.

St George to Tom Fool

You will tonight for I will hiss,
I will slice you in ten square pieces
And make your ribbons fly.

Recruiting Sergeant

Hush, hush, young man don't get red hot,
For whom you're daring you know not.
With my sword point there is no doubt
If you've a mind we'll fight it out.

St George accepts the fight

Tom Fool

Stir the fire and strike a light,
And see this fellow act tonight.
One, two three.

Fight begins. Beelzebub steps in between then and is wounded by St George

Tom Fool

Oh George, oh George, what hast thou done?
You've gone and slain my only son.
My only son, my only heir,
How can you see him bleeding there?

St George, pointing to the Recruiting Sergeant

He challenged me to fight, how could I deny?

Tom Fool

Five pounds for a doctor.

Recruiting Sergeant

Ten pounds to stop away.

Tom Fool

Fifteen pounds.
But he must come on a case like this.

Doctor enters

In comes I, a doctor.

Tom Fool

You a doctor?


Yes, me a doctor.

Tom Fool

What do you cure?


Ipsey, pipsey, palsy, gout,
Pains within and pains without.
England, Ireland, France and Spain,
Over the hills and back again.
Draw a tooth, set a leg,
Raise the dead to life again (occasionally).

Doctor hands his gloves and walking stick to the Lady and then looks at Beelzebub's throat


Well this old chap is not dead but in a trance,
His pulse beats very true and irregular. It beats
Fourteen times the tick of my watch once, that's once an
Hour and by the size of his throat he has also
Swallowed a donkey and cart and one of the wheels won't digest.
I have here a small box of pills.

Tom Fool

Yes doctor.


These priceless pills, these priceless pills,
They cure both body and soul.
They kill cats and rats and make a leg of mutton tremble
Half a mile away.
I have here another box of pills Tommy.
Here's stilts for shrimps, glasses for
Blind bees, crutches for lame grasshoppers.
He must take two in the morning and I'm sure if
The pills won't digest, the box will.

Tom Fool

I'll see he takes them, doctor

Doctor helps Beelzebub to his feet

All sing

We are not the London actors that act upon the stage.
We are the country plough boys who plough for little wage.
The mire is so very deep, the water runs so clear.
We wish you all good night and another happy year.
We thank you for your Christmas box and a pitcher of your beer.

The Doctor leaves his address

Mr Killy-me-I-do, where the monkey fought
The weasel up the apple tree.
Good night and I thank you.

Exit Fool

And now our song is ended
You see our fool has gone,
We take it as our business
To follow him along.
We thank you for your civility
And what you've given us here.
We wish you all good night
And another happy year.

Flintham’s Plough Play Team c.1914

Recruiting Sergeant:
Walter Rushby was born at Flintham and worked as a labourer on the Fillingham Estate at Syerston. At the age of 23 he enlisted as a Private with the Notts. Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry. He was a Reserve in the UK until 23rd December 1914 when he was transferred to the Notts. & Derby Regiment, joining the Expeditionary Forces in France. He served until March 1919 when he was discharged with a small pension for a hearing impairment resulting from his war service.

Bob Marshall, born in Scarrington, became a resident farm worker on William Hallam’s farm in Flintham. On 25th November 1914, aged 22, he enlisted as a Private in the Sherwood Foresters (Notts. & Derby Regiment). He was posted within the UK until 25thOctober 1914 when he joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. In June 1915 he and his regiment moved to serve in France but Bob was posted back to the UK in the October and discharged the following April ‘being no longer physically fit for War Service’.

Alf Huskisson was 19 years old at the beginning of the war and working as a ‘day lad’ for the Flintham Estate and later as their gamekeeper. In 1916 he enlisted as a Private with the Notts. & Derby Regiment and served until the end of the war.

Tom Fool:
Henry Percy Jackson, known as Percy, was the son of Flintham’s butcher and assisted in the business. He was 16 years old when the war began. He served in France as a Private with the 3rd Company of the Machine Gun Corps but was severely wounded and died of his wounds and pneumonia on 6th October 1918.

Ralph Palmer, the son of a Flintham shepherd, was an apprentice to the village blacksmith and lived in with his employer’s family. He married Isobel Leonora Pollo (who came from Tynemouth) in the spring of 1914, and just a few months later he enlisted as a Sapper with the 36th Company of the Royal Engineers soon after the war began. Isobel had moved with Ralph’s parents to Melton Mowbray when the news reached her that, on the 20th May 1915, Ralph aged 22, had died of malaria while serving in Sierra Leone.

Horseman: not in the version we have to hand 
In August 1914 Thomas Henry Juckes was living with his widowed mother in Flintham and working as a farm labourer. In 1916, aged 22, he enlisted as a stoker in the Royal Navy. He served on HMS ‘Royal Oak’, a newly commissioned destroyer, which was ordered to join the fleet and almost immediately to engage the Germans in the Battle of Jutland. Thomas continued to serve until the end of the war when he returned to Flintham to work as a coachman at Flintham Hall.

St George:
Edward Grant, known as Ted, was born in 1893 at Carlton, Nottingham moving to Flintham with his parents when his father began working there as a market gardener. Ted was employed as a gardener at Flintham Hall throughout the war years.
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Updated Friday 02-Feb-2024 15:31
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