Crossing County Boundaries: Sixteenth-Century Performance and Celebration in Yeovil, co. Somerset, and Sherbourne, co. Dorset


  • Rosalind C. Hays Dominican University



In the mid-sixteenth century Sherborne and Yeovil each fostered dramatic activity within a small region straddling the Dorset-Somerset border by renting costumes to small neighbouring communities. 'Crossing County Boundaries' locates the two-decade period of such costume rentals within a comparative history of the dramatic activity of the two towns. Yeovil and Sherborne each had a long, rich tradition of mimetic activity: Yeovil chose Robin Hoods to preside over Whitsun ales, gather funds for the parish, and participate in other celebrations; Sherborne staged plays on Corpus Christi Day in both the 1540s and the 1570s. Despite their very different dramatic interests the two towns' adaptations to changing external pressures on their seasonal celebrations are remarkably parallel.