Mother Naked

dame-edna_sticky

Dame Edna, via Wikimedia Commons. Was Mother Naked a flamboyant performer like Dame Edna Everage? The equivalent of a pantomime dame? Or something else?

Records from Durham Priory in 1433-1434 show that a performer by the name of ‘Mother Naked’ was paid the measly sum of four pence for whatever act it was that he put on.

This was the lowest fee for any performer in two centuries of accounts. Was his act thought to be obscene, and the low payment meant to discourage him? And who on earth was Mother Naked anyway?

Listen to this podcast with Professor John McKinnell to find out more.