Warburton Souling Play Homepage
The Warburton Souling Play Homepage
The Parish of Warburton


The Revival

The Post Revival Period

The Present Day

The 2023 Season

The Saracen's Head in Warburton

The illustration above is that of The Saracen's Head in Warburton, the home of the Warburton Souling Play.
Welcome to The Warburton Souling Play.

This website is all about the Warburton Souling Play, its revival and its welfare today.  You'll find details about the history of the play, the background to its revival together with details of its performance up to the present time. We've also included some brief details about Warburton Parish.

The details have been broadly split up into three periods. First we have 'The Revival' roughly defined as years from 1978 up to 1990, the 'Present Day' covers the three most recent years and the 'Post Revival' covers the period between.

Souling in 2023

That's it now, another season of Souling all done for another year. We finished off with two performances, one at the Warburton Autumn Fair then the final performance at the Saracen's Head on Saturday 11th November.

This year we performed with the main season of the 1st through to the 4th November.A slightly shorter season than normal, however we did a fifth short day on the 11th November to perform at the fair and then the Saracen's Head for a final performance before we 'buried the head' for another year. All the details of where we've been can still be seen and are to be found on the Itinerary page.

The first night was a short tour of four pubs and the photo below shows the Gang after the first performance of the year at the Saracen's Head.

The Gang after the first
performance of 2023

As per last year we have elected to pass on any monies collected to the Trafford and South West Manchester branch of the MS Society. That was duly done on Wednesday 13th December at the Life Centre in Sale during one of their regular coffee mornings:

Presenting the Cheque to MS

Pictured here in the orange are Jenny and Andrew Maines (rear left and front centre) and Judy Kirk (rear right) together with Nicola Lewis  at the front with John, Dave and Laurence from the Souling Gang. During the presentation we were able to give them a cheque for 950 as a result of this year's collection.

Souling in 2022

We've now finished with this year's season of Cheshire Souling with the Warburton Souling Play. The venues Warburton ChurchWarburton Churchhere we went can be found on the Itinerary page. 

Following two years of us being restricted by the Covid-19 pandemic this year was back to more of our normal routine of going out for five or six nights, in this case for five staring on Tuesday the 1st November and finishing on Saturday 5th. So the 1st perfomance was in the Saracen's Head on the 1st November as usual and the last was also there on the 5th November.  


The Gang after the performance in the Old No3 in Little Bollington
The Gang after the performance in Ye Olde No3 in Little Bollington on our second night out.

This year we were very happy to give all our proceeds to the Trafford and South West Manchester branch of the MS Society. We therefore attended one of their coffee mornings on Wednesday 14th December and presented them with a cheque for 1000.00.


Ruth Mannell accepting the cheque for 1000 on behalf of the MS Society
Ruth Mannell on behalf of the MS Society accepting the cheque for 1000 .

Souling in 2021

Following last year's Souling that had to make use of modern technology to 'make the play happen' this year it was good to be out and about again, even if only for a couple of evenings this year. Those two days were the 1st and the 6th November.

We did two performances on Monday 1st with the first performance at the Saracen's Head at 8:00pm. We then went to the Black Swan at Hollins Green, however this turned out to have closed early so instead we went to the Red Lion a bit further back down the road where we were made very welcome.

The second day, the 6th November, started at the Lymm Heritage Centre where we're performing at 4:00pm and after that it was the Brewery Tap followed by the Spread Eagle. From here we went to Barn Owl in Agden Wharf then our second attempt at performing in the Black Swan in Hollins Green. We finish off back at the Saracen's Head a s usual to complete our season of Souling for this year.  

For the collection, we decided not to do a formal collection as that involves us going round the audience with a hat as we felt was still something that we should avoid for this year. Instead the hat was left on the bar or on the floor where we had performed. It still resulted in donations and all funds collected that way will be passed onto Lymm Heritage Centre.

It is still strange times we find ourselves in, and we still had to make do with what we coulrealistically achieve under the circumstances.

Souling in 2020

The Warburton Souling Play in 2020 was not what we're all used to. Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic had wreaked havoc across the country, indeed across the world, and with various lockdowns imposed right at the last minute together with pubs being closed we were left with little choice but to resort to modern technology to help us out - technology that was unheard of when these plays started many, many years ago!

On Monday 2nd November we therefore all made ourselves comfortable in our respective Covid free environments, with the neccessary liquid refreshment of course(!), and with the aid of aforementioned modern technology produced two performances of the Warburton Souling Play. These performances are available for your delight on the Souling in 2020 page.

Strange times we found ourselves in, and indeed still do, however we had to make do with what we could achieve under the circumstances.

Souling in 2019

The 1st November arrived, and off the play went for six nights of performance. 

We started at the Saracen's Head in Warburton on the 1st November before heading into Lymm later that evening. The following day was a trip to Knutsford for a tour walking round and performing in various pubs there before going to the Agden area on the 6th November.

The forth night, 7th November was in Sale, Urmston and Flixton and the fifth night in the Altrincham area. We finished with our sixth night, or rather day and night,on the 9th November. The day bit as it included our usual appearance at the Warburton Autumn Fair in the afternoon. This was followed later on in the evening by our last performance of the year and was accompanied by the usual evening of song and music, all taking place in the Saracen's Head. 

All the details are available on the Souling 2019 page where you can find further details of where we went.

The Gang ready to leave for the first performance of 2018. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong)Souling in 2018

A special year 2018 was as it being our 40th year since the play was revived - a period, that if the date we'd been given of it last being performed in 1938 is correct, makes the revived period as long as the play was dormant.

The summary for this year was that after the usual start at the Saracen's Head on the 1st November we took the play out on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd November of the first week then Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the second week. We finished on the 10th with what was a memorable performance evening of song and music at the Saracen's Head in Warburton. The full itinerary for were we went is available here.

This year our donation went to The Children's Adventure Farm Trust, a charity that's bast in Millington Cheshire and provideds support for terminally ill, disabled and disadvantaged children from the North West of England.  On the 6th December 2018 we duly delivered them a cheque for 1470.

For those of you new to the play, an idea of what we get up to can be found in the summaries of the last few years below, and reading some of the information about the play that can be found through the links above left.

Souling in 2017

The 2017 Souling season's details can be found in the 2017 pages where you'll get a good idea of what happened. Needless to say we felt we had a cracking year, although a bit quieter than normal in some places, but busier in others. It did however, result in a record amount being collected that will in turn be donated to our chosen charity for this year, the Trafford and South West Manchester Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

The Gang prior to leaving for the Saracen's Head. (Photo: Laurence Armstrong)

The Gang prior to leaving for the Saracen's Head - 1st November 2017

There was a fear that this year could've been somewhat different to previous years due to the Saracen's Head closing earlier in the year, however, as you'll also read on the 2017 season page all turned out well in the end and we were able to continue the tradition there as we've always done.

One more thing to look out for is an article about the Warburton Play that was published in the November 2017 issue of the Fortean Times

As mentioned above we had chosen the Trafford and South West Manchester Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society as our charity for this year and so on the 5th December two of us attended their monthly Coffee Morning to present them with a cheque for 1520.

Presenting the cheque to an MS representative.

Andrew Maines (left) with the donation cheque

It's always nice to be able to give such a substantial amount and we know it will be put to good use for the benefit of local MS sufferers.

Also for a bit more help for those not familiar with the Play then please take time to have a look around to see what it's all about using the menus top left. The Parish of Warburton gives you an idea of where the Play comes from, History, a brief interpretation of this type of play and details of the Warburton play itself. For an alternative approach, you'll be able to get a good impression by looking at what we've got up to in the last few years by visiting the 'present' pages. And for those wanting to look further back, try the Past Galleries from where you'll find links to some much earlier seasons.

If you need help in tracking down a specific page or you're looking for specific information then try the Site Map.

Souling Site updated: 13th  November 2023.
This page updated:
13th  December 2023.