Sidmouth Traditional Mummers

Welcome to the home of the Sidmouth Traditional Mummers and thank you for visiting us.  We hope you will find our website interesting and informative and we also hope it might be an encouragement to anyone thinking of reviving a local tradition in their own area.

We would also hope that it might be a source of useful information for future generations of folklorists, and anyone else who is interested in old folk customs.

We would be delighted to hear from anyone with an interest in mumming generally – especially the mumming tradition of Sidmouth and its surrounding area.  Should you have any questions that our website does not answer or you would simply like to ‘talk mumming’ with us please contact us at sidmouthmummers@svcp.co.uk or telephone Henry Piper on 01404 811491. 

This website is affectionately dedicated to Arthur Baker and his mumming companions of 1905, both known and unknown and also to the present generation of the Baker family who have given us much help and encouragement.

 

This is one of two known photographs of Arthur Baker’s troupe of mummers.  It was taken in Mr Fish’s photography studio in Sidmouth some time between 1905 and 1908 and was apparently one of the earliest ‘flash’ photographs to be taken in Sidmouth.  

This troupe were formed in 1905 to perform at the celebrations for the centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar and continued performing for several years afterwards.

Arthur Baker, from whom the play was collected in 1954, can be seen standing on the extreme left as Nelson with his brother Fred standing next to him.  Fred usually played the Duke of Wellington.

 

The other shows a slightly different cast with one of the performers lying down in front of his colleagues and was presumably taken to record a different years performance.

The present-day Sidmouth Traditional Mummers were formed in 1979 by a group of Sidmouth residents.  The photograph below shows the 2007 cast miraculously transported to the same Sidmouth photographer’s studio of long ago.

For a detailed history of the early days of our revival please click here.

To read about the characters depicted in the play and the actors who have played them, please click here.

 

We believe that mumming plays, like most folk customs work best and are more enjoyable when performed at the appropriate time of year, in the place where they originated from and by local people who have a natural rapport with their audience, many of whom are known to the performers personally.

Therefore as a general rule we only perform our play at Christmas in Sidmouth and its immediate surroundings.  However, we do make the occasional exception to this rule and we always try to give at least one performance during Sidmouth Folk Week (the first week in August.)