Yorkshire, West Riding

The West Riding records have already been thoroughly surveyed (in part by the late Dr. Barbara Palmer, who was the original REED editor for West Yorkshire), but the material has still to be checked and edited. Entries relate to eighteen parishes, but most of the records reflect dramatic activity in major households, boroughs and religious houses. Relevant collections include the British Library, Chatsworth House, Doncaster Record Office, the Folger Library, Hull History Centre, Nottinghamshire County Record Office, West Yorkshire Record Offices in Kirklees and Leeds, and Yorkshire Archaeological Society in Leeds.

The Ingram, Shrewsbury (Talbot) and Wentworth households have been checked. Similar work is ongoing for the Saviles of Rufford, the Slingsbys of Scriven, and the Cliffords. Families with smaller collections include the Beaumonts of Whitley (with evidence of a procession and masque), the Shann family (whose commonplace book records a performance of Cannimore and Lionley in 1614), the Whartons of Healaugh, the Beckwiths, Constables, Lowthers, Plumptons, Stringers, Ramsdens, the Kayes of Woodsome, the Yorkes of Gowthwaite, and the letters of James Ryther of Harewood referring to Hogmanay.

Evidence for the boroughs of Doncaster, Pontefract, Ripon, Rotherham and Wakefield has been identified; the latter has been the subject of extensive discussion on the Towneley plays. Doncaster shows plentiful new evidence of visiting players, waits and Corpus Christi pageants.

Bolton priory aside, Fountains and Selby abbeys are the major sites for monastic evidence. At Fountains this refers mainly to musical entertainment, while at Selby it is distributed between musicians, players and fools, with the occasional boy bishop of York, or Lord of Misrule played by the ‘king of the kitchen boys’. The West Riding collection is also rich in notices of touring entertainers at all periods from medieval to early Stuart.

Pre-publication records currently available

Map of locations relating to West Riding records

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