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Craig Fees
Christmas Mumming in a North Cotswold Town: With Special Reference to Tourism, Urbanisation and Immigration-Related Social Change

Submitted in accordance with the requirement for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy.
Institute of Dialect and Folklife Studies
School of English
The University of Leeds
May 1988

[PDFs scanned by volunteers at the Campden and District Historical and Archaeological Society, CADHAS, and used here with gratitude]


Over the last hundred years the Cotswold market town of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, has become increasingly economically dependent on tourism and simultaneously popular for holiday, commuter and retirement residence. During the same period it has come increasingly into the orbit of central government, at the expense of local autonomy. Young people must, for the most part, seek jobs and careers outside the heavily restricted conservation area of Chipping Campden itself and the North Cotswolds, and few can afford to remain in a town where property prices have been pushed high by outside demand. There is not a viable age-structure in the town; and there is the danger that the native Campdonian, as such, will disappear. This dissertation examines these developments and their impact on local culture over the past hundred years, through the lens of the Campden mumming - a labouring-men's Christmas custom involving an archetypal mummers' play, drinking, and the collection of money. It is examined both in terms of the tourist industry and as an assertion of local identity. The ways the custom has met social and demographic change without surrendering vital features, its role as a cultural mnemonic, and the motivation of its leaders is examined. A performative model is proposed both for the broader social changes and the response of the Campden mummers.

This dissertation concludes that tourism puts the entire community on view: it places "character" on (or challenges it forth from) the countryman, and into this role the Campden mummers have been pleased to step. Residentiallsm, a kind of tourism-in-residence, supported the mummers in the interwar period, and discovered in the mumming an induction into belonging to "Campden". It was only when the balance between incomers and locals shifted radically in the 1950s and 1960s that this residentialism became destructive, as part of a broader acculturation which left the mumming virtually stranded. Because of the resources of the men most closely involved, and because of their personal belief and commitment to the way of life the Campden mumming calls into being, the mumming has been made to keep going. It will continue to live as long as this way of life is valued, and the role of the mumming in calling it into being understood.



List of Maps, Tables and Photographs


I. Introduction

A. Prologue 15

a. The Purpose of the Dissertation 15
b. What is Chipping Campden? 16
c. What is Folk Drama? 20
d. What is Performance? 20

B. A Brief Guide to the Dissertation 30

C. A Note on the Fieldwork 31

II. 1860-1900

1. Sources

2. Context 40

A. Introduction 40

a. The Periods 40
b. The Public Meeting: A Performative Type 41
c. The Britannia Benefit Society 43

B. The Periods 45

a. 1860-1870: Pastoral Content 45
b. 1870-1878: Turbulence and Stability 51
c. 1878-1889: Agricultural Depression, The Increasing Importance of Trade 64
d. 1890-1900: Boosting Campden 69

C. Public Display and Civic Boosterism 73

a. The Uses of Publicity 73
b. 1887. The Queen's Jubilee 82
c. 1895-1897. Whit Monday Fetes 83
d. 1890-1900. Reprise: Farmers and Labourers 88

D. Conclusion 92

3. Discussion 95

A. Audience

Kingzetts 95

B. Mummers 97

a. Henry Brotheridge 97
b. Henry I 98
c. Henry III 99
d. Henry II 101
e. Harry Keeley 109
f. George Griffin 113
g. George Greenall (senior) 115
h. Tom Benfield 117

C. Conclusion 119

III. 1900-1914

1. Sources: An Unattested Tradition 122

A. Cumulative Silence 122

B. Solicited Reminiscence: Oral Evidence for a Mumming? 127

2. Context: The Guild of Handicraft and the "Revival and Reinvigoratlon" of Campden 136

A. The Metaphor of Revival 136

B. U.C. Stanley and the School of Arts and Crafts 144

a. Historical Background: School of Arts and Crafts 144
b. Opposition 145
c. Ulric Stanley 146
d. The Technical School 151
e. Ulric Stanley as Politician 152
f. The Campden School of Arts and Crafts 153

C. The Bathing Lake and Conclusion 161

3. The Impact on Campden of the Guild of Handicraft 164

1. The Guild as Folk Community 164
2. C.R. Ashbee 173

a. Philosophy and Belief 173
b. Ashbee, Sports and Games 182
c. Guy Fawkes, 1902-1905 184
d. Swimming Sports 187
e. Rustic Sympathy 192
f. Indirect Influence 196
g. Conclusion 198

3. Janet Ashbee 199

a. Philosophy, Customs 199
b. Spring Celebrations 204
c. Christmas Carolling 208
d. Influence on the Mumming? 211

4. The Influence of a Guildsman: Jim Pyment 213

a. Guildsman Pyment 213
b. Pyment and the Town Band 215
c. Pyment and the Morris 223

5. Concluding Remarks 228

IV. The Interwar Years

1. Sources 230

A. Description 230

a. Written 230
b. Visual 238
c. Recorded 239
d. Reminiscence/Oral Tradition 239

B. Discussion 242

a. F.L. Griggs 242
b. T. Hannam-Clark, Miss Griffiths, Mrs. Hathaway 252
c. H.J. Massingham 257
d. Percy Dewey 269
e. James Madison Carpenter 271
f. Christopher Whitfield 277

2. Context 286

A. War, Memory, The Rhetoric of Localism 286

a. War, Loss, and Reconstruction 286
b. The German Field Gun Affair 293
c. The War Memorial Affair 298
d. The Town Maces Affair 306

B. Tourism, Incomers, and Urbanisation 314

a. Tourism and the Incoming "They" 314
b. Residentialism 316
c. The Politics of Use vs. Beauty 320
d. Tourism 326
e. Urbanisation: the Wireless 331
f. Urbanisation: the Automobile 333

C. Conclusion 335

3. Discussion 339

A. Why the Revival? 339

a. Introduction 339
b. The 19th Century Model 342
c. Drunkenness 345
d. Charity 348
e. Charity and Drink: Against the Trend 352
f. Intrusion and Localism: A Foray into Ephemeral Signification 353

B. Why the Fame? 359

a. The Broadcast 359
b. The School Mumming 366
c. Meeting a Need 373

V. 1945-1986

1. Sources 379

A. The Mumming 379

a. Written 379
b. Oral 393
c. Photographic 396

B. The Shadow Mumming 398

a. Written 398
b. Oral 407
c. Photographic 407

2. Context 409

A. 1946-1950s: A Kind of Golden Era 409

a. Introduction 409
b. Dogs vs. Children 411

B. 1950s-1964: The Worm Awakens 415

a. The Impact of Government 415
b. Dogs or Children 417

C. 1964-1974. Whose Campden Is It? 418

a. Snobs 418
b. Campden Thwarted: A Subtler Bureaucracy 420
c. Institutionalised Division: The Campden Society 425

D. 1974-1980. A Kind of Dunkirk Glory 430

a. The Elm Tree 430
b. Dunkirk Glory 432
c. A Potty Scheme 434

E. 1980-1986 438

3. Discussion 441

A. Introduction 441

B. The Custom Resumes 443

C. Endemic Crisis 444

a. Personnel 444
b. Loss of Fame: Rise of Shadow 449

D. Motivation: Ernest Buckland's Mumming, 1946-1972 453

a. Justice, Heritage and History 453
b. The Bath University Performance 457

E. Problems and Solutions: Jack Tomes' Mumming, circa 1973-Present 459

a. Background 459
b. Concrete Problems: Concrete Solutions 462

F. Copyright Reserve 468

a. Introduction 468
b. Textual Copyright 468
c. Resource Management 469
d. Cultural Property 471
e. A Small Family Industry 475
f. Performance Rights Within a Territory 476

VI. Conclusion

A. More Groundwork 479

B. Unity Diverges 479

C. Tourism, Incomers and the Performative Field 483

D. Concluding Remarks 494

Footnotes 495-628

Footnotes Section I

Footnotes Section II

Footnotes Section III

Footnotes Section IV

Footnotes Section V

Footnotes Section VI

Abbreviations 496

Bibliography 629-667

1. Institutions and Public Collections Consulted 630

2. Newspapers and Periodicals Searched 631

3. Material Concerning Chipping Campden 633

A. Published 633

a. Major References 633
b. Minor References 645
c. Ashbee/Guild/School of Arts and Crafts 648
d. Broadcasts 650
e. Dover's Hill and Games 651
f. Campden Wonder 652
g. Christopher Whitfield 653

B. Unpublished 654

a. Major References 654
b. Minor References 657
c. Ashbee/Guild/School of Arts and Crafts 658
d. Dover's Hill and Games 659

4. Regional Works Consulted 659

5. Tourism, Residentialism, Emigration, Immigration, Urban and Rural Social Change 664

6. Relevant Works by Craig Fees 666

Appendices 668-721

A. Campden Bands, 1861-1902 669

B. Business and Industry, 18&5-1939, Compiled from Kelly's Directory 675

C. Cecil Sharp in Campden 680

D. Campden and Broadcasting: A List 685

E. Publicity for the 1934 "Microphone at Large" Broadcast 688

F. Gloucestershire County Council Bye-Laws and Regulations 702

G. Christopher Whitfield: "The Christmas Mummers" 707

H. Analogues to the Campden Mummers' Song 720

Continued Appendices: Post-Submission Material 722-732

I. Seumas Stewart: "The Merrimix Mumming Play" 723

J. Don Ellis: Excerpt from Letter 731





1. England and the District Around Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire 17
2. Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire 18


1. Dichotomies in the Rhetoric of Localism in Post-World War One Campden. 313
2. Cases from Campden in the Petty Sessions Draft Minutes Involving Drinking and Abusive, etc.. Language or Behaviour, 1885-1922. 346
3. Some Rhetorical Dichotomies in Campden, Post-World War Two. 489
4. Turnover in Private Residents and Commercial Establishments, 1870-1939, from Kelly's Directory Listings. 628

Photographic Plates [available in the original thesis]

1. The Cast of the 1934 "Microphone at Large" Broadcast. 360
2. The 1937 School Concert: The Published Photograph of the Full Cast. 368
3. The 1937 School Concert: The Unpublished Photograph of the Boy Mummers. 370
4. 24.12.1981, Volunteer Inn. Bold Slasher. 390
5. 24.12.198l, Volunteer Inn, King George, Dead. 390
6. 24.12.1981, Volunteer Inn, Doctor With Tooth. 391
7. 24.12.1981, Volunteer Inn, The Song: Jack Vinney, Doctor, the Drummer, King George, Fiddler Crump. 391
8. Town Hall, 15.1.1983. Bold Slasher, King George. 394
9. Town Hall, 15.1.1983, Jack Vinney, Doctor, King George. 394
10. Town Hall, 15.1.1983. Drummer, Bold Slasher, King George, Doctor. 395
11. Town Hall, 15.1.1983, Background: Father Christmas, Bold Slasher, King George. Doctor, Jack Vinney, Drummer: Foreground: Beelzebub. 395