York Mystery Plays

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Photographs : Books about the Mystery Plays

Item type: Photographs
Archive reference: YMP/A/17/2/22
Date/year: 1885 to date
There are many books about medieval drama, of which the Archive holds some.  Recently donated from the library of the late Hugh Murray are: Lucy Toulmin Smith, York Plays: The Plays Performed by the Crafts or Mysteries of York, on the Day of Corpus Christi in the 14th, 15th, and 16th Centuries published 1885 by Clarendon Press, reprinted New York 1963;  and The Miracle Play in England: an account of the early religious drama by Sidney W Clarke, 1894.  One of Miss Toulmin Smith's plays was performed in the 1909 York Pageant.
The York Cycle of Mystery Plays: A shorter version of the Ancient Cycle, edited by J S Purvis.  With a note on the production staged at the York Festival of 1951 by E Martin Browne.  Published 1951 by SPCK, London (Title page is left.)  Below is a page from the 1957 edition with signatures of many of the cast.1951 title page
The York Cycle of Mystery Plays: A complete version, J S Purvis, 1962
The York Mystery or Corpus Christi Plays by Elizabeth Brunskill 1963 with reprints (published by YAYAS)
The York Mystery Play, Eileen White, 1984 (published by YAYAS)
York Mystery Plays: A Selection in Modern Spelling, Richard Beadle and Pamela M King, 1984
Professor Margaret Rogerson, the author of two books below, has been a regular visitor to York and has donated material to the NCEM archive.  She  lectured on the Mystery Plays in York in May 2016, just before the 2016 production in York Minster was launched.
Playing a Part in History: The York Mysteries 1951-2006, Margaret Rogerson, 2009
The York Mystery Plays: Performance in the City, Margaret Rogerson (ed.) 2011. 
The Civic Cycles: Artisan Drama and Identity in pre-modern England. by Nicole Rice and Margaret Aziza Pappano, 2015. 
Medieval Afterlives in Contemporary Culture, Gail Ashton (ed) 2015.
Margaret Rogerson 2011

Margaret Rogerson 2009Victor Banerjee playing Christ in 1988 is depicted on the front of this book.
Rogers- craft-Mysteries
In 1979 the academic group Records of Early English Drama published their first two volumes, all about the text of the medieval York Corpus Christi (Nystery) Plays.  They wer donated to the archive in 2022.

Medieval Craft and Mystery: Discovering the People behind York's Mystery Plays, Nicola Rogers,  2012, published by York Archaeological Trust (bottom). Page 27 lists the pageants at 1450-75 and the relevant guilds, as below:
The Barkers (Tanners) The Fall of the Angels
The Plasterers The Creation
The Cardmakers (makers of wool-carding combs) The Creation of Adam and Eve
The Fullers (cloth finishers) Adam and Eve in Eden
The Coopers (Barrelmakers) The Fall of Man
The Armourers The Expulsion
The Gaunters (Glovers) Cain and Abel
The Shipwrights The Building of the Ark
The  Fishers and Mariners The Flood
The Parchment makers and Bookbinders Abraham and Isaac
The Hosiers (makers of hose) Moses and Pharoah
The Spicers The Annunciation and Visitation
The Pewterers and Founders Joseph's trouble about Mary
The Thatchers and Rooftilers The Nativity
The Chandlers The Shepherds
The Masons and Goldsmiths Herod and the Magi
St Leonard's Hospital The Purification
The Marshals (farriers) The Flight into Egypt
The Girdlers and Nailers The Slaughter of the Innocents
The Spuriers and Lorimers Christ with the Doctors in the Temple
The Barbers  The Baptism
The Smiths  The Temptation
The Vintners (winesellers) The Marriage at Cana
The Curriers The Transfiguration
The Ironmongers Jesus in the House of Simon the Leper
The Cappers (capmakers) The Woman taken in Adultery/the Raising of Lazarus
The Skinners and furriers The Entry into Jerusalem
The Cutlers The Conspiracy
The Baxters (bakers) The Last Supper
The Cordwainers (Leatherworkers and shoemakers) The Agony in the Garden and te Betrayal
The Bowyers and Fletchers (makers of bows and arrows) Christ before Annas and Caiaphas
The Tapiters and Couchers (makers of worsted cloth and bed hangings) Christ before Pilate/the Dream of Pilate's wife
The Litsters (dyers) Christ before Herod
The Cooks and Waterleaders (water sellers) The Remorse of Judas
The Tilemakers Christ before Pilate, the Judgement
The Shearmen (cloth finishers) The Road to Calvary
The Pinners The Crucifixion
The Butchers The Death of Christ
The Saddlers The Harrowing of Hell
The Carpenters The Resurrection
The Winedrawers Christ's appearance to Mary Magdalen
The Woolpackers The Supper at Emmaus
The Scriveners (writers and recorders) The Incredulity of Thomas
The Tailors Christ's Ascension into Heaven
The Potters the Apostles and Pentecost
The Drapers The Death of the Virgin
The Linenweavers The Funeral of the Virgin
The Woolweavers The Assumption of the Virgin into Heaven
The Hostelers (innkeepers) the Coronation of the Virgin
The Mercers (merchants) the Last Judgement of good and bad souls. Below:1957 edn. title page
1957 cast signatures

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