The engraving and text here are taken from George Walker's book The
Costume of Yorkshire, first published in 1814.
"This is the name given to it by Strutt, though it is better known in Yorkshire under the title of Plough Stotts, which may
not improbably be derived from the German word stütze, a prop or
support. Plough Monday, or the first Monday after Twelfth-day, has been
considered as the Ploughman's holiday, and the annexed Plate represents a
ludicrous procession on that day, not unlike that of the Mummers, or
Morris-dancers, at Christmas. The principal characters in this farce are the
conductors of the plough, the plough-driver with a blown bladder at the end
of a stick by way of whip, the fiddler, a huge clown in female attire, and
the commander in chief, Captain Cauf Tail, dressed out with a cockade
and a genuine calf's tail, fantastically crossed with various coloured
ribbands. This whimsical hero is also an orator and dancer, and is ably
supported by the manual wit of the plough-driver, who applies the bladder
with great and sounding effect to the heads and shoulders of his team."
George Walker, The Costume of Yorkshire, London: 1814. Reprinted 1885.
Sidney Oldall Addy has a brief entry in his A Glossary of Words used in
the Neighbourhood of Sheffield (London 1888, vol II p 177):
"PLOUGH-BULLOCKS [plew-bullocks], sb. pl. plough-stots.
The men who are called the plew-bullocks, or plough-bullocks,
and who represent ploughmen, go about on Plough-Monday, the Monday
next after Twelfth-day, from house to house, drawing a plough without
its share. If money is not given to them they threaten to put the share in,
and plough the 'door-stone' up. One of the men who drives the plough
has a bladder fastened to the end of a whip. They generally come at night.
The one who carries the whip is very gaudily dressed in women's
A number of Plough Monday and Plough Bullock plays (the latter chiefly from
Nottinghamshire) can be seen, with related material, at the website of the Traditional Drama Research
Group at Sheffield University.
See also their review of the book The
Return of the Blue Stots: An Aspect of Traditional Drama in Yorkshire by
Chas Marshall and Stuart Rankin.