Mumming plays

Like many of the villages in the area of North Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, Handsworth has a tradition of the Old Tup. Also known as Derby Ram or the Derby Tup, this was performed round the New Year by the local boys.

It is known that around 100 years ago there were three separate ‘Tup’ teams in Handsworth, who went round the houses performing and collecting money. The last dedicated team stopped in the 1950s and the tradition was taken up by the Handsworth Sword Dancers in 1971.

We are proud to continue this tradition and perform the Tup at various times throughout the year, but mostly around Christmas.

The play starts with a song about a very large ram. A butcher is called to kill it and uses are found for its various body parts. As with all mumming plays, much chaos-induced hilarity ensues.

The Derby Tup, Handsworth, Boxing Day 2011

Over the years we have written and performed a variety of special mummers plays for Christmas events.