The City of York and its ‘Play of Pageants’


  • Peter Meredith University of Leeds



This paper first presents a brief overview of York's physical growth and status as a mercantile city and a county in its own right, and its relationships with the monarchy as they appear in royal entries. It then moves on to examine the emergence of its Play from obscure beginnings in the late fourteenth century, and to investigate the changing nature of the Play during its nearly 200-year existence. The paper concludes with an investigation of the demise of the Play in the late sixteenth century. Throughout, the paper emphasizes the instability of the evidence and the necessity of open mindedness, and suggests that this essential absence of closure maintains the value of the continued scholarly investigation.