Yorkshire, North Riding

A full survey of documents from the North Riding is in progress. Research will particularly focus on rare surviving evidence in England of recusant (Catholic) polemic drama. There is plenty of evidence for Protestant polemic drama from John Bale on, but history is written by the victors, and it has always seemed unlikely that the Catholic establishment (such as it was) would not also have taken advantage of the power of drama. Several anti-Protestant professional companies operating in the North Riding, primarily out of Egton, near the Catholic safe-house of Grosmont Priory, have been known for some time, but the documentation of their activities in the North Riding Quarter Sessions records, and in several Star Chamber cases in the National Archives, have never been collected. A thorough search of the county’s records may produce further information about them. A second area of interest involves civic musicians. Records of civic performers (especially waits) survive from both Richmond and Scarborough. The paucity of the North Riding’s boroughs is balanced by the wealth of gentry establishments, and it is likely that further documentation of late medieval and early modern performers may surface there.

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