A rare performance of Thame mummers play (the Lee version) in the mid 1980s. It was organised by site author Alan Cleaver and friends
King Alfred’s Queen
Old King Cole (with a wooden leg)
Old Father Christmas
St George of England
The Old Dragon
The Merry Andrew
Old Doctor Ball
All the mummers men come in singing and walk round the place in a circle and then stand on one side. Enter King Alfred and his Queen, arm in arm:
I am King Alfred, and this here is my Bride,
I’ve a crown on my pate and a sword by my side.
Enter King Cole:
I am King Cole, and I carry my stump,
Hurrah for King Charles, and down with old Noll’s Rump!
Enter King William:
I am King William of Blessed memory
Who came and pulled down the high gallows-tree
And brought us all peace and prosperity.
Enter Giant Blunderbore:
I am Giant Blunderbore, fee, fi, fum,
Ready to fight ye all – so I says ‘come’
Enter Little Jack.
And this here is my little man Jack
A thump on his rump, and a whack on his back
Strikes him twice
I’ll fight King Alfred,
I’ll fight King Cole,
I’m ready to fight any mortal soul;
So here, I Blunderbore, takes my stand
With this little devil Jack at my right hand,
Ready to fight for mortal life.
Fee, fi, fum.
The Giant and Little Jack stand apart.
Enter St George:
I am St George of Merry England,
Bring in the morres-men, bring in our band
Morres-men come forward and dance to a tune from fife and drum. The dance being ended St George continues:
These are our tricks. Ho! men, ho!
These are our sticks – whack men so
Strikes the Dragon who roars and comes forward
The Dragon speaks:
Stand on head, stand on feet
Meat, meat, meat for to eat.
Stand on my head, stand on my feet
Turns a somersault and stands aside.
All sing, several times repeated:
Ho! Ho! Ho! Whack men so.
The drum and fife sounds. They all fight and after general disorder, fall down. Enter Old Doctor Ball:
I am the doctor, and I cure all ills
Only gullup my portion (qy potions) and swallow my pills
I can cure the itch, the stitch the pox, the palsy and the gout,
All pains within and all pains without,
Up from the floor, Giant Blunderbore!
Gives him a pill and he rises at once.
Get up King, Get up Bride
Get up Fool and stand aside.
Gives them each a pill and they rise
Get up King Cole, and tell the gentle folks all
There never was a doctor like Mr Doctor Ball
Get up St George, Old England’s Knight,
Gives him a pill
You have wounded the Dragon and finished the fight
All stand aside but the Dragon who lies in convulsions on the floor
Now kill the old Dragon and poison Old Nick
A Yule-tyde both o’ye, cut your stick
The doctor forces a large pill down the Dragon’s throat who thereupon roars and dies in convulsions. Then enter Father Christmas:
I am Father Christmas! Hold men hold!
Be there loaf in your locker, and sheep in your folk
A fire on the hearth, and good luck for your lot,
Money in your pocket and a pudding in the pot
Hold, men hold!
Put up your stick
End all your tricks
Hold men hold!
Chorus (all sing while one goes round with a hat for gifts)
Hold men hold!
We are very cold
Inside and outside we are very cold
If you don’t give us silver
Then give us your gold
From the money in your pockets
Some of the performers show signs of fighting again
Hold men hold!
Song and chorus:
God A’mighty bless your hearth and fold
Shut out the wolf and keep out the cold;
You gev’ (have given) us silver, keep you the gold
For tis money in your pocket, hold men, hold!
Repeat in chorus
God A’might bless &c.;