York Mystery Plays


The York Mystery Plays, more properly called the York Corpus Christi Plays, are a Middle English cycle of forty-eight mystery plays, or pageants, which cover sacred history from the creation to the Last Judgment. These were traditionally presented on the feast day of Corpus Christi (a movable feast occurring the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, between 23 May and 24 June). They were performed in the city of York, from the middle of the fourteenth century until 1569. It is one of only four virtually complete surviving English mystery play cycles, with the others known as the Chester Mystery Plays, the Towneley/Wakefield plays and N-Town plays. In addition to these, two long, composite, and late mystery pageants have survived from the Coventry cycle, and there are records and fragments from other similar productions which took place elsewhere. A manuscript of the York plays, probably dating from some time between 1463 and 1477, survives at the British Library.[1][2]

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