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Marshfield Paper Boys


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The Paper Boys of Marshfield (Avon, formerly Gloucestershire) are one of the few extant mumming play teams which can be regarded as traditional, although they cannot claim an unbroken tradition. The play was revived in 1932 at the instigation of folklorist Violet Alford, but with the active participation of men who had taken part in the custom in their youth in the 1880s. The Marshfield play text is a fairly typical Gloucestershire Hero-Combat version. The Marshfield costume follows the general southern pattern of strips sewn on to everyday clothes, covering the whole head and body, but the use of newspapers instead of wallpaper or rag is unusual. The team comes out every Boxing Day, with performances taking place outdoors at set points around the village.

Simon Lichman, ‘The Gardener's Story and What Came Next’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 1981), and Folklore 93:1 (1982), 105–11.


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