The Origins of Plough Monday - Appendix C
Traditional Drama '79, One Day Conference, University of Sheffield, 20th Oct.1979
Special Points for Future Plough Monday Research
Look for non-play and non-dance customs in order to obtain balanced evidence.
Look at customs occurring about the right time of year, but without ploughs, to see if they relate (e.g. Handsel Monday). Look especially at other 'trailing' customs e.g. Ships, anchors, straw men, etc.
Look at customs occurring on neighbouring festival days to see if they relate. Look especially at Epiphany and days marking the end of Christmas.
Look for early records (older than seventeenth century) to check the hypotheses on origins. Look especially at non-Parish records, and check all information to see if it was written at the right time of year.
Look for Plough Monday customs in particular areas :-
Yorks and Northants (these are apparently the chief areas of non-play and non-dance customs).
East Anglia (especially pre-Reformation records) to see if Plough Monday customs really did not exist there.
The Fens (especially prior to the drainages of the seventeenth & eighteenth centuries) to see if the customs existed there before the drainages.
Areas outside the Danelaw, to confirm the apparent zoning.
Look for equivalent customs in the rest of Europe (especially Denmark and Sweden) to check on possible overseas origins.
Seek more historical evidence regarding sokemen and their Scandinavian equivalents. In particular, look for;
More details of their agricultural duties need to be traced
Less circumstantial evidence regarding the hypothetical link with Plough Monday.