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The Stations of the SunA History of the Ritual Year in Britain$
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Ronald Hutton

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205708

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205708.001.0001

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Mummers' Play and Sword Dance

Mummers' Play and Sword Dance

(p.70) 7 Mummers' Play and Sword Dance
The Stations of the Sun

Ronald Hutton

Oxford University Press

Reginald Tiddy wrote the Mummers' Play, a ‘classic’ found all over southern England and the south Midlands, and performed in the Christmas season. Several elements of it were also present in plays presented in the east Midlands on Plough Monday, in Cheshire in November, and in the north-west at Eastertide, to be described later; and also in the north-eastern Christmastide Sword Dance. Over much of the West Country, Father Christmas made the introduction, while everywhere St George or King George was the most common champion, fighting either a Saracen knight or a swaggering soldier called, most frequently, Slasher. The doctor was ubiquitous, and often had an assistant, and the combats could be single or multiple. A renowned scholar of medieval and Elizabethan drama, Sir Edmund Chambers, published a more detailed appraisal of this play, and added a lengthy discussion of the northern Sword Dance, to which it had already been linked.

Keywords:   Reginald Tiddy, Mummers' Play, England, Christmas, Sword Dance, Father Christmas, King George, knight, Slasher, Edmund Chambers

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