Mumming in Hampshire: The Crookham Mummers

The Paper Boys 2017

Crookham Mummers Play, Tuesday December 26th

The ancient tradition of the Crookham Mummers Play is to collect money on behalf of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.

The play is performed each Boxing Day in Crookham Village, near Fleet, in Hampshire.

 The Exchequer (Crondall Road) Noon
 The Spice Merchant/Black Horse (The Street)  12.45pm 
 The Crescent Green (Pilcot Road) 1.30pm
 The Queens Head (Dogmersfield) 2.00pm

Phyllis Tuckwell is the only Hospice Care service for adult patients, and their families, across the whole of West Surrey and part of North East Hampshire. For many patients living with a terminal illness, Phyllis Tuckwell is a way to get the most appropriate care in the last phase of life. They provide care at the Hospice in Farnham, at the Beacon Centre in Guildford, in patients’ own homes and in the community.

The Crookham Mummers Play is one of England's strangest traditions. The play lasts about 20-25 minutes. In it King George, England’s hero battling his adversaries, Bold Slasher, Bold Roamer and the fearsome Turkish Knight. The adversaries battle away with using wooden swords which often break during the fierce fighting. With dramatic action, jokes and colourful costumes, the play is great fun for all the family to watch. In addition to the basic script, topical jokes and ad-libs ensure no two performances are quite the same.

The play also includes a Doctor who has grusome yet comic miracle cures, Johnny Jack, a sailor from the press gang, and Father Christmas. Thankfully, if this sounds a bit confusing the play is performed outside of three local pubs, so you can combine the two things.

Long-time Mummer, Keith Woolley says:

“Historic records and recollections of old performers confirm that the Crookham Mummers plays could be quite rowdy so we are proud to continue in the style that was set by our predecessors. It is a bit like a pantomime crossed with wrestling - plenty of goodies to cheer and baddies to boo."

Keith adds:

“Going to see the Mummers is the perfect way to get a bit of exercise, have a drink, have a laugh and share in a community spirit and a sense of history. While it is free to watch, we are delighted that all donations will go to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care."

Post Scriptum

The Crookham Mummers are one of the longest running Mummers plays in the world. They have appeared in numerous books on folk customs, on ITV, BBC, Radio 4, at the Sidmouth International Folk Festival and are widely recognised by experts as the most authentic Mummers in the raucous “outdoor” tradition. The play has been performed since in the village almost every year since 1870, although its origins are much older.

Phyllis Tuckwell receives just 20% of it funding from the Government/NHS - the rest is from fundraising and donations.

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