Maurice Willmore Barley (1909-1991) grew up in Lincoln where his father was an enthusiastic supporter of the Workers’ Educational Association. He studied history at Reading University, and later worked in the Department of Local History at University College, Hull, teaching local history and archaeology at adult evening classes. In Lincolnshire, he met Ethel Rudkin, a noted Lincolnshire folklorist. After the war, he taught in the Extra-Mural Department at Nottingham University, and gained an MA in vernacular architecture. He expanded his knowledge of archaeology and in 1962 became a senior lecturer in the Department of Classics, and in 1965 Reader in Archaeology at Nottingham. In 1971, he became the university’s first professor of archaeology. (Reference: Peter Millington, ‘Obituary: Maurice Willmore Barley’, Folklore, 103, i (1992), 108-09.)
Barley collected material on Plough Monday plays, starting in Lincolnshire in the 1930s and then in Nottinghamshire in the 1950s. His research was published as ‘Plough Plays in the East Midlands’, Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, 7, 2 (1953), 68-95, with additional information in the two succeeding issues.
Nottingham University Library, Manuscripts Department, document reference Ba. Copy in Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. There may be further information in Nottinghamshire Archives Office.
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