York Mystery Plays

Introduction

The York Mystery Plays, more properly the York Corpus Christi Plays, are a Middle English cycle of 48 mystery plays or pageants covering sacred history from the creation to the Last Judgment. They were traditionally presented on the feast day of Corpus Christi (a movable feast on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, between 23 May and 24 June) and were performed in the city of York, from the mid-fourteenth century until their suppression in 1569. The plays are one of four virtually complete surviving English mystery play cycles, along with the Chester Mystery Plays, the Towneley/Wakefield plays and the N-Town plays. Two long, composite, and late mystery pageants have survived from the Coventry cycle and there are records and fragments from other similar productions that took place elsewhere. A manuscript of the plays, probably dating from between 1463 and 1477, is still intact and stored at the British Library.[1][2]


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