York Mystery Plays

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Photographs : Guild list

Item type: Photographs
Archive reference: YMP/A/21
Date/year: 2002 and later
Description: There are still Guilds in modern York, who lead on production of the Wagon plays around the streets.  The Guild members are volunteers, and sometimes they work with younger partners to be the actors (eg the University of York St John, St Luke's church).  Guilds are usually crucial in the production of the wagon plays.  In 2018 here is the Cordwainers wagon 'resting' outside the Minster.  2018 wagonAdrian Widdowson 2002

Below is a list of York's craft guilds which were commissioned to produce the medieval plays, as known in around 1450.  The guilds were summoned by the Corporation of York and this page has photographs of the equivalent of that process.
Adrian Widdowson as Christ, in the Scriveners' Play: The Incredulity of Thomas, 2002. Right, the Guild of Builders and Creation in 2012.
Builders wadon 2012

Christian Newton 2002

Left: Christian Newton as Christ in the Butchers' Play, the Death of Christ, 2002

A 2012 book by Nicola Rogers of York Archaeological Trust lists the pageants at 1450-75 and the relevant guilds as follows:
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 from Eden
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 Metal 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 of Jesus
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 (Judas meets Caiaphas)
The Baxters (bakers): The Last Supper
The Cordwainers (Leatherworkers and shoemakers): The Agony in the Garden and the Betrayal
The Bowyers and Fletchers (makers of bows and arrows): Christ before Annas and Caiaphas
The Tapiters & Couchers (makers of worsted cloth, bed hangings):Christ before Pilate/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 appears to Mary Magdalene
The Woolpackers: The Supper at Emmaus
The Scriveners (writers and recorders): The Incredulity of Apostle Thomas
The Tailors: Christ Ascends to 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): Coronation of the Virgin in Heaven
The Mercers (merchants): The Last Judgement of good and bad Souls

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