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3 Play Titles without Play Texts: What Can They Tell Us, and How? 
An Investigation of the Evidence for the Beverley Corpus Christi Play

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Chapter Summary

Beverley, in the historical East Riding of Yorkshire, is known – from extant local manuscript evidence covering almost 150 years – to have had a Corpus Christi play like York, thirty miles to the north-west. The surviving Beverley manuscript records witness a play structure and performance method similar to that of York, though on a smaller scale: up to thirty-six pageants performed by craft guilds and other local groups on wagons at six stations over a route through the town from the North Bar to the port area at the Beckside. But whereas York also provides a play text which the manuscript evidence can support, from Beverley only records survive. This essay investigates the surviving evidence from Beverley itself as well as comparisons with extant play texts from York and elsewhere, and analogous evidence from Biblical subjects depicted in late medieval art, to try to establish how much we can learn from a play-text-less body of evidence about the content and nature of the Beverley play and its performance.



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