‘Mell’ was the dialect word for the last sheaf cut in the harvest field across the northern counties of England, and the Mell Supper was the Harvest Home gathering to celebrate. In addition to the general feasting and dancing, there was a tradition in some areas for certain ‘acts’ to be performed—one given in full by Gutch comprises a sung dialogue between Polly and, in succession, an old man, an old lady, and a squire, and the latter she decides to marry. Another feature was a visit from the Guisers, and it was customary to make a show of resistance to their entry (Blakeborough, 1898: 85–6).
Wright, EDD, 1903: iv. 82–3;Gutch, 1901: 257–66