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rine", saint Clement, the holie Innocents, and such like ", Children [boys] be strangelie decked and apparayled, to counterfeit Priestes, Bisshopes, and Women, and so be ledde with Songes and Dances from house to house, blessing the people, and gathering of money; and Boyes do singe masse, and preache in the pulpitt, with such other vnfittinge and inconuenient vsages, rather to the derysyon than anie true glorie of God, or honor of his sayntes: The Kynges maiestie therefore, myndinge nothinge so moche as to aduance the true glory of God without vain superstition, wylleth and commandeth, that from henceforth all svch svperstitious obseruations be left and clerely extinguished throwout all this his realme and dominions, for-asmoche as the same doth resemble rather the vnlawfull superstition of gentilitie, than the pvre and sincere religion of Christe." With respect to the disguisings of these young fraternities, and their processions from house to house with singing and dancing,

1464, in festo sancti Nicolai non erat EPISCOPUS PUERORUM in schola grammaticali in civitate Cantuariæ ex defectu Magistrorum, viz. J. Sidney et T. Hikson," &c. Lib. Johannis Stone, Monachi Eccles. Cant. sc. De Obitibus et aliis Memorabilibus sui cœnobii ab anno 1415, ad annum 1467. MS. C. C. C. C. Q. 8. The abuses of this custom in Wells cathedral are mentioned so early as Decemb. 1. 1298. Registr. Eccl. Wellens. [See supr. vol. ii. 83. iii. 202. 216.]

"The reader will recollect the old play of Saint Catharine, LUDUS CATHARINE, exhibited at saint Albans abbey in 1160. Strype says, in 1556, "On Saint Katharines day, at six of the clock at night, S. Katharine went about the battlements of S. Paul's church accompanied with fine singing and great lights. This was saint Katharine's Procession." ECCL. MEM. iii. 309. ch. xxxix. Again, her procession, in 1553, is celebrated with five hundred great lights, round saint Paul's steeple, &c. Ibid. p. 51. ch. v. And p. 57. ch. v.

Among the church-processions revived by Queen Mary, that of S. Clement's church, in honour of this saint, was by far the most splendid of any in

London. Their procession to Saint Paul's in 1557, "was made very pompous with fourscore banners and streamers, and the waits of the city playing, and threescore priests and clarkes in copes. And divers of the Inns of Court were there, who went next the priests," &c. Strype, ubi supr. iii. 337. ch. xlix.

P In the SYNODUS CARNOTENSIS, under the year 1526, It is ordered, "In festo sancti Nicholai, Catharinæ, Innocentium, aut alio quovis die, prætextu recreationis, ne Scholastici, Clerici, Sacerdotesve, stultum aliquod aut ridiculum faciant in ecclesia. Denique ab ecclesia ejiciantur VESTES FATUORUM personas SCENICAS agentium." See Bochellus, Decret. ECCLES. GALL. lib. iv. TIT. vii. C. 49. 44. 46. p. 586. Yet these sports seem to have remained in France so late as 1585. For in the Synod of Aix, 1585, it is enjoined, "Cessent in die Sanctorum Innocentium ludibria omnia et pueriles ac theatrales lusus." Bochell. ibid. C. 45. p. 586. A Synod of Tholouse, an. 1590, removes plays, spectacles, and histrionum circulationes, from churches and their cemeteries. Bochell. ibid. lib. iv. TIT. 1. C. 98. p. 560.

specified in this edict, in a very mutilated fragment of a COMPUTUS, or annual Accompt-roll, of saint Swithin's cathedral Priory at Winchester, under the year 1441, a disbursement is made to the singing-boys of the monastery, who, together with the choristers of saint Elisabeth's collegiate chapel near that city, were dressed up like girls, and exhibited their sports before the abbess and nuns of saint Mary's abbey at Winchester, in the public refectory of that convent, on Innocent's day 9. "Pro Pueris Eleemosynaria una cum Pueris Capellæ sanctæ Elizabethæ, ornatis more puellarum, et saltantibus, cantantibus, et ludentibus, coram domina Abbatissa et monialibus Abbathiæ beatæ Mariæ virginis, in aula ibidem in die sanctorum Innocentium '." And again, in a fragment of an Accompt of the Celerar of Hyde Abbey at Winchester, under the year 1490. "In larvis et aliis indumentis Puerorum visentium Dominum apud Wulsey, et Constabularium Castri Winton, in apparatu suo, necnon subintrantium omnia monasteria civitatis Winton, in ffesto sancti Nicholais." That is, "In furnishing masks and dresses for the boys of the convent, when they visited the bishop at Wulvesey-palace, the constable of Winchester-castle, and all the monasteries of the city of Winchester, on the festival of saint Nicholas." As to the divine service being per

In the Register of Wodeloke bishop of Winchester, the following is an article among the INJUNCTIONS given to the nuns of the convent of Rumsey in Hampshire, in consequence of an episcopal visitation, under the year 1310. "Item prohibemus, ne cubent in dormitorio pueri masculi cum monialibus, vel foemellæ, nec per moniales ducantur in Chorum, dum ibidem divinum officium celebratur." fol. 134. In the same Register these Injunctions follow in a literal French translation, made for the conveience of the n uns.

MS. in Archiv. Wulves. apud Winton. It appears to have been a practice for itinerant players to gain admittance into the nunneries, and to play Latin MYSTERIES before the nuns. There is a curious Canon of the COUNCIL of CoLOGNE, in 1549, which is to this effect.

"We have been informed that certain Actors of Comedies, not contented with the stage and theatres, have even entered the nunneries, in order to recreate the nuns, ubi virginibus commoveant voluptatem, with their profane, amorous, and secular gesticulations. Which spectacles, or plays, although they consisted of sacred and pious subjects, can yet notwithstanding leave little good, but on the contrary much harm, in the minds of the nuns, who behold and admire the outward gestures of the performers, and understand not the words. Therefore we decree, that henceforward no Plays, Comedias, shall be admitted into the convents of nuns," &c. Sur. CONCIL. tom. iv. p. 852. Binius, tom. iv. p. 765.

SMS. Ibid. See supr. p. 128.

formed by children on these feasts, it was not only celebrated by boys, but there is an injunction given to the Benedictine nunnery of Godstowe in Oxfordshire, by archbishop Peckham, in the year 1278, that on Innocent's day, the public prayers should not any more be said in the church of that monastery PER PARVULAS, that is, by little girls '.

The ground-work of this religious mockery of the boy-bishop, which is evidently founded on modes of barbarous life, may perhaps be traced backward at least as far as the year 867". At the Constantinopolitan synod under that year, at which were present three hundred and seventy-three bishops, it was found to be a solemn custom in the courts of princes, on certain stated days, to dress some layman in the episcopal apparel, who should exactly personate a bishop both in his tonsure and ornaments: as also to create a burlesque patriarch, who might make sport for the company ". This scandal to the clergy was anathematised. But ecclesiastical synods and censures have often proved too weak to suppress popular spectacles, which take deep root in the public manners, and are only concealed for a while, to spring up afresh with new vigour.

After the form of a legitimate stage had appeared in England, MYSTERIES and MIRACLES were also revived by queen Mary, as an appendage of the papistic worship.

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- In the year 1556, a goodly stage-play of the PASSION OF CHRIST was presented at the Grey friers in London, on Corpus-Christi day, before the lord mayor, the privy-council, and many great estates of the realm. Strype also mentions, under the year 1557, a stage-play at the Grey-friers, of the Passion of Christ, on the day that war was proclaimed in London against France, and in honour of that occasion. On saint Olave's day in the same year, the holiday of the church in Silver-street which is dedicated to that saint, was kept with much solemnity. At eight of the clock at night, began a stageplay, of goodly matter, being the miraculous history of the life of that saint, which continued four hours, and was concluded with many religious songs b.

Many curious circumstances of the nature of these miracleplays, appear in a roll of the church-wardens of Bassingborne in Cambridgeshire, which is an accompt of the expences and receptions for acting the play of SAINT GEORGE at Bassingborne, on the feast of saint Margaret in the year 1511. They collected upwards of four pounds in twenty-seven neighbouring parishes for furnishing the play. They disbursed about two pounds in the representation. These disbursements are to four minstrels, or waits, of Cambridge for three days, v, s. vj, d. To the players, in bread and ale, iij, s. ij, d. To the garnement-man for garnements, and propyrts, that is, for dresses, decorations, and implements, and for play-books, xx, s. Το John Hobard brotherhoode preeste, that is, a priest of the guild

Y MSS. Cott. VITELL. E. 5. STRYPE. See LIFE OF SIR THOMAS POPE, PREF. p. xii.

a

2 ECCL, MEM. vol. iii. ch. xlix. Strype, ibid. p. 379. With the religious pageantries, other antient sports and spectacles also, which had fallen into disuse in the reign of Edward the Sixth, began to be now revived. As thus, "On the 30th of May was a goodly May-game in Fenchurch-street, with drums, and guns, and pikes, with the NINE WORTHIES who rid. And each made his speech. There was also the Morice-dance, and

an elephant and castle, and the Lord and Lady of the May appeared to make up this show." Strype, ibid. 376. ch. xlix.

b Ludovicus Vives relates, that it was customary in Brabant to present annual plays in honour of the respective saints to which the churches were dedicated: and he betrays his great credulity in adding a wonderful story in consequence of this custom. Nor. in Augustin. De CIVIT. DEI. lib. xii. cap. 25. C.

The property-room is yet known at our theatres.

in the church, for the play-book, ij, s. viij, d.

For the crofte,
For propyrte-

or field in which the play was exhibited, j, s.
making, or furniture, j, s. iv, d. "For fish and bread, and to
setting up the stages, iv, d." For painting three fanchoms and
four tormentors, words which I do not understand, but perhaps
phantoms and devils... The rest was expended for a feast
on the occasion, in which are recited, "Four chicken for the
gentilmen, iv, d." It appears from the manuscript of the Co-
ventry plays, that a temporary scaffold only, was erected for
these performances. And Chaucer says, of Absolon, a parish-
clerk, and an actor of king Herod's character in these dramas,
in the MILLER'S TALE,

And for to shew his lightnesse and maistry
He playith Herawdes on a SCAFFald hied.

- Scenical decorations and machinery which employed the genius and invention of Inigo Jones, in the reigns of the first James and Charles, seem to have migrated from the masques at court to the public theatre. In the instrument here cited, the priest who wrote the play, and received only two shillings and eight pence for his labour, seems to have been worse paid in proportion than any of the other persons concerned. The learned Oporinus, in 1547, published in two volumes a collec

d Mill. T. v. 275. Urr. Mr. Steevens and Mr. Malone have shewn, that the accommodations in our early regular theatres were but little better. That the old scenery was very simple, may partly be collected from an entry in a Computus of Winchester-college, under the year 1579. viz. COMP. BURS. Coll. Winton. A. D. 1573. Eliz. xvo.. -"CUSTUS AuLÆ. Item, pro diversis expensis circa Scaffoldam erigendam et deponendam, et pro Domunculis de novo compositis cum carriagio et recarriagio ly joystes, et aliorum mutuatorum ad eandem Scaffoldam, cum vj linckes et jo [uno] duodeno candelarum, pro lumine expensis, tribus noctibus in Ludis comediarum et tragediarum, xxv, s. viij, d." Again in the next quarter, "Pro vij ly linckes de

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liberatis pueris per M. Informatorem [the school-master] pro Ludis, iij, s. Again, in the last quarter, "Pro removendis Organis e templo in Aulam et præparandis eisdem erga Ludos, v, s.' By DOMUNCULIS I understand little cells of board, raised on each side of the stage, for dressing-rooms, or retiring places. Strype, under the year 1559, says, that after a grand feast at Guildhal!, "the same day was a scaffold set up in the hall for a play." ANN. REF. i. 197. edit. 1725.

**

[Dr. Ashby suggests that some distinction should perhaps be made between scenery and machinery and it may probably be ceded that scenic decoration was first introduced.-PARK.]

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