A Servant's Christmas - The Nativity

3 pm: 15th & 16th December

The National Trust, Charlecote Park, Warwickshire

(see the servants in rehearsal throughout the day 12-4pm)

Hunt & Ellis (© Triangle, 2007) More photos here.

Honoured Guests we the servants are rehearsing for our fifteen minute nativity presentation to be given to Mary Elizabeth Lucy. You are welcome to stay and watch we will be here for no longer than half an hour. You may join in if you wish - perhaps you know the words to the songs.

Once in Royal David's City (on the recorder), in the billiard room

Ellis "The angel appears before Mary"

Talbot (is revealed from under a white sheet, with a flourescent star label, copying The National Trust method of secure winter storage of artefacts)
The angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings drifted as snow
His eyes as flame
"All hail" said he thou lowly maiden Mary
Most highly favoured lady


and Joseph went up to Galilee for the census with his wife Mary who was great with child on a donkey

Mary rides on the donkey. They move to the Dining Room. Talbot leaves the sceptre by the tree

All (while walking)
Little donkey, little donkey
On a dusty road
Got to keep on plodding onwards
With the precious load.
Been a long time little donkey
Through the winter's night.
Don't give up now little donkey
Bethlehem's in sight.

Ring out those bells tonight
Bethlehem, Bethlehem.
Follow the star tonight
Bethlehem, Bethlehem.

Little donkey, little donkey
Had a heavy day
Little donkey carry Mary
Safely on her way.

Trumpet sounds

Audience are requested to sit.

In the same country there were shepherds abiding in the field. The angel appeared before the shepherds.

Ellis: Baa Baa
All: Baa Baa

While shepherd watched their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down and glory shone around
"Fear not" said he for mighty dread had seized their troubled minds
"Glad tidings of good cheer I bring for you and all mankind".

The angel said fear not for I bring you glad tidings of great joy. Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a saviour which is Christ the Lord

Talbot Glo-o-oria
Hunt recorder & Talbot flute, then in German

Ellis holds the baby - White laced cloth is baby.

Stille Nacht Heilige Nacht
Alles shlaft, einsam wacht
Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar
Holder knab in lockingen Haar
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh !
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh !

The shepherds found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in a manger

Ellis: Moo Moo
All: Moo Moo

Ellis (standing up and declaring his love for Hunt)
My Gift by Christine Rossetti
What can I give her
poor as I am ?
If I were a shepherd
I would give her a lamb
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part
But what can I give her ?
Give my heart.

Ellis produces a piece of mistletoe and holds it above his head so that Hunt may kiss him.

Gabriel plays on the mobile. Talbot dances around the couple

Talbot behold there came three kings, the Magi travelling from the east to Jerusalem. One was caled Balthazar, the other-

Ellis starts drumming. All wear crowns. Ellis- drum & donkey, Talbot & Hunt on camels.

March of the drummer boys

Everyone moves into the Great Hall

Ellis: hums lully lulay

Talbot: Camel noise
All: Camel noise

The wise men collect gifts and display them to the audience:


I am Balthazar and I present a ceramic jug c.1853
I am Ellis and I present a plate from Stamford
I am Melchior and I present a copper kettle

Lully Lullay on mobile
Lully Lullay thou little tiny child
Bye bye Luly Lullay

Oh sisters too how may we do
For to preserve this day
This poor youngling for whom we sing
Bye bye Luly Lullay

Herod the king
In his raging
Charged he hath this day
His men of might
In his own right
All children young to slay

The last verse is repeated stronger each time.The soldiers threaten the children

The angel appeared in a dream to the Magi saying take the other way back and the angel appeared to Joseph saying taking the other way and fly with child and Mary to Egypt. No not that way, the other way.

Ellis and Hunt run around the table and get in a muddle. Out of this movement Hunt directs the Haywood

with music on mobile (Hunt to lead dance)

Hands form fists at chest, right, left, right, left,right & jazz hands
Do-si-do (pairs)
Link arms and weave round circle in different directions
Bob knees

Thanks to The Herbert Coventry for the loan of some of their handling collection.