The East Riding includes a range of rural parishes, market towns such as Hedon, Patrington and Bridlington, and the larger ports of Beverley and Hull. The Beverley records (fully surveyed) reflect a long tradition of drama: a regularly-performed Corpus Christi cycle and an occasional Pater Noster play, as well as town waits and visiting performers licensed by magnates. The material includes a range of town documents: the ‘Great Guild Book’ (c.1400-1589), accounts (from 1366), Governors’ and Mayors’ Minute Books, and the ‘Small Order Book’. Religious guild returns and antiquarian material have also been extracted, and there may be further material in local wills and ecclesiastical records.
Early surveys of other parts of the Riding suggest much local variation: Hull seems to have had little locally-produced drama other than a Noah play, but did sponsor town waits and visiting performers. A full series survives of town council MSS, the Bench Books, as well as City Chamberlains’ accounts and the records of the Guild of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Trinity Guild. The Hedon records, mostly compiled by the 19th-century antiquarian Gillyat Sumner, include medieval churchwardens’ accounts referring to town waits.
Rural church and manorial records might show different patterns of activity from those in the market towns and ports; there is evidence of a touring circuit of performers within local areas – for example, players from Cottingham appear in the records of Beverley and York. Wills, manor and church court records and family papers have yet to be searched.
Pre-publication records currently available
Map of locations relating to Yorkshire East Riding records