The West Wittering Tipteerers Play

This version of the Mummers play was collected by Mr. James I.C. Boger and published in the Sussex Archaeological Collections volume 44. The play is from the village of West Wittering on the coast south-west of Chichester. There seems to be some confusion regarding the "First Man", "Prince Feather" and the "Valiant Soldier" where the lines are marked for the First Man who names himself as Prince Feather and kills the Turk as the Valiant Soldier. The reader is left to interpret this as they wish. Mr. Boger gives us the following note at the beginning of the text :

"The 'Tipteers' consist of six boys or men, dressed in fantastic costume, and some carrying wooden swords. The play is acted at Christmas time and is said to be a very old custom in the village, being handed down by word of mouth."



First Man30
Father Christmas16
Noble Captain30
King George43
Turkey Knight13
Valiant Soldier18

First Man:
Now your doors are open and we are come in,
I hope your favour we shall win;
Whether we rise or whether we fall,
We will do our best endeavours to please you all.
Now the merry time of Christmas is drawn near
We will show our sport in the pastime you have not seen me (in) for one long year.
None of your ragged swords, but some of your loyal train,
We will cross the seas King George to please
And home we will return again.
If you have not (a) mind to believe what I have got to say,
Send in Old Father Christmas and he will boldly clear the way.
Father Christmas:
In comes I,Old Father Christmas,
Welcome or welcome not,
Sometimes cold and sometimes hot,
I hope Old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
Old Father Christmas (has) got but a short time to stay,
He will show his sport in pastime before he goes away.
Room! Room! Ladies and gentlemen, room I pray!
For I am the man that leads the Noble Captain and all his men this way.
Noble Captain:
In comes I, the Noble Captain,
Just lately come from France
With my broad sword and jolly Turk (dirk)
I will make King George dance.
King George:
In comes I, King George,
That man of courage bold,
With my broad sword and sphere (spear)
I have won ten tons of gold.
I fought the fiery Dragon
And brought it to great slaughter,
And by that means I wish to win
The King of Egypt's daughter.
Neither unto thee will I bow nor bend.
Stand off ! stand off !
I will not take you to be my friend.
Noble Captain: Why, sir, why, have I done you any kind of wrong?
King George: Yes, you saucy man, so get you gone.
Noble Captain: You saucy man, you draw my name,
You ought to be stabb'd, you saucy man.
King George: Stab or stabs, the least is my fear ;
Point me the place
And I will meet you there.
Noble Captain: The place I point (appoint) is on the ground
And there I will lay your body down
Across the water at the hour of five.
King George: Done, sir, done! I will meet you there,
If I am alive I will cut you, I will slay you,
All for to let you know that I am King George over Great Britain O !

[ Fight. King George wounds the Noble Captain. ]

Ladies and gentlemen,
Set in your chair;
See, I have cut him down.
With a snare he is rose (risen) again,
Like a man of courage bold,
And by him now I will never be controlled.
Noble Captain: For saying so you ought to be controlled.
King George: And now send in your Turkey Knight,
Which (who) calls me on your guard to fight.
Turkey Knight:
In comes I, the little proud and Turkey Knight,
Just lately come from the Russian wars to fight, to fight!
King George, that man of courage bold,
If his blood's hot I will quickly make it cold.
King George: O thou little proud Turk, do not vapour,
Or else I will cut you down
With my rusty raper (rapier).
Turkey Knight:
O King George, do not boast,
Or else I will cut you down like the dust.

[ Fight. King George brings the Turk on to his knees. ]

Down on my bended knee I crave
All for to be a Turkey slave.
King George: Arise, arise, thou Turkey Knight,
Get home unto thy Turkey land and fight;
Get home unto thy Turkey land (and) tell
What champions in old England dwell.
Here goes I with my strict charge,
God bless the Noble Captain, likewise King George;
God bless us all, for I must go,
Because my orders are all so.
First Man: Now he's gone with his strict charge,
Now send in King George's guard.
Valiant Soldier:
In comes I, the Valiant Soldier,
Bold and slather is my name,
Sword and pistol by my side,
I wish to win the game.
My head is made with iron,
My body made with steel;
Unto my hand and knuckle bone
I will fight you in the field.
I have been to Ireland, Scotland, France and Spain,
Aboard a man-of-war and other merchant men.
For what King George has done
Shall have his right and will,
But that Turkey dog
I will fight and kill.
Draw out your swords and fight,
Pull out your purse and pay,
For satisfaction I will have
Before I go away.
Turkey Knight:
No satisfaction shall you have,
No money will I pay,
For I mean to try my valour on
Before I go away.
Father Christmas:
Stand off! stand off! both sword in hand
Now send in Prince Feather in hand.
First Man: In comes I, Prince Feather, in hand,
Bid my foe, sir, not to stand,
But stand King George,
The commander over the sea,
The ruler over the land.
Grant the hour and the power,
The gallant must obey;
Let fly the storm and cheer the morn,
Fight on, brave boys, Hussa! Hussa!

[ Valiant Soldier kills the Turk. ]

Ladies and gentlemen,
Behold and see what I have done,
I have cut that grand Turk down
Like the evening sun.
He and I and ten thousand more
Would I boldly fight
Unto (for to) maintain
King George's right.
Noble Captain: O fie,O fie, my man is slain
And on the ground his body lain;
My gold shall fly like chaff before the wind
If there is a doctor to be found.
O yes, there is a doctor to be found,
Well and good,
And with my hands
I will stop the blood;
I will stop blood
And heal the wound,
And raise the dead man
From the ground.
Noble Captain: What parts did you come from last ?
Doctor: All parts of Christ'dom.
Noble Captain: What is your fee ?
Doctor: Ten pounds is my fee,
But I can do with fifty pounds
I can demand of thee.
Noble Captain: What can you cure ?
Doctor: I can cure the hipsey, pipsey, palsey and the gout,
A strain within and a strain without,
A broken arm or a broken leg
All this I will maintain
If I break his neck I will set it again;
I won't charge you one single farthing for my pain.
Noble Captain: Doctor! Doctor! try your skill.
Doctor: Behold, ladies and gentlemen, see I'm not like the mountebank
doctors that run about from town to town and tell as many lies
in one half-hour as you find true (truth) in me in seven years!
Behold, ladies and gentlemen, see, I have a little box by my side
which is called "Jupiter Pills", and a little bottle in my waistcoat
pocket which is called "Golden Philosopher" Drops. I one drop
on his nose and another on his temple, which will strike a light
in his whole body. Behold, ladies and gentlemen! See, he
moves one leg already. If he has been dead for this two and
fifty years it will bring his proper (body) all to right(s). Arise,
arise, young man, and see how you can walk.
Noble Captain: Pocany Pie lost his eye,
Bottomsee broke his knee,
Twice through the head this man's been shot,
Hie brains will boil like any pot;
He and I and seven more
Fought and beat eleven score;
If ever I live to get over this
I will never fight no (any) more.
Turkey Knight:
More won't I.
Noble Captain: And that's for you, Mr. Frog. None of your apples, pies, cheese, crust, nor curds; but set us down to a good fat duck, and then we might pick a bone, whip it into our knapsacks, and be off to the next rendezvous.
King George: Ladies and gentlemen, standing by,
See the noble valiant men fighting high;
We have gained the very victory,
We have dyed our hands as white as snow,
We will cover our gloves and sing you a song,
And then from hence we will go.
Father Christmas:
In comes I, the Prince of Peace, Just lately come from the Russian Wars, To peace, peace, peace, as my General calls, I hope, ladies and gentlemen, we have pleased you all ; Now our sport it is all over, we will sing you a song And go a little further.
The Song :

When I left my happy home
In the world to (go and) roam
My poor old Mother dear did sob and cry;
I can fancy see her now,
As she fondly kissed my brow
And clasped me to her heart and said good-bye.
I was thoughtless, young and gay,
As the good ship sailed away,
From weeks and months and years the time rolled on.
I returned at last, but Oh!
What an agonizing blow,
Was to find my poor old Mother dead and gone.

We never miss a Mother till she's gone,
Her portrait all we have to gaze upon,
We can fancy see her there,
Sitting in her old arm chair;
We never miss a Mother till she's gone.

When far across the sea
How soothing 'twas to me
To look upon her portrait day by day ;
I think I'll soon go back
And hear her say, " O, Jack,
My darling boy, why did you go away?"
I wish I'd never left her
I must have heartless been
To leave her full of grief and (so) forlorn.
What misery we bring
If in youth we have our fling;
We never miss a Mother till she's gone.

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