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Marshfield Mummers, Marshfield, Gloucestershire, England
1974, Boxing Day
Gelatin silver print
Provided by the artist - Homer Sykes
© Homer Sykes
Like the Ripon Sword Dancer Play, this Boxing Day tradition is based on a death and resurrection theme. The town crier ringing his bell leads a troupe of Paper Boys into the village square to start. Each of the five separate performances takes approximately five minutes. Records show that the play died out during the 1890‘s, to be revived again in 1932. The traditional costume is made up of strips of newspaper stuck onto a "cowgown", and more recently additional coloured paper has been added. In 1975 the Paper Boys collected eighty four pounds all of which was donated to local charities and village organisations.
This photograph was included in the book by Homer Sykes "Once a Year: Some Traditional British Customs" (Gordon Faser, 1977)