British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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298                                 CORPUS CHRISTI DAY.                       [MAY 21.
made their procession on this day, having " borne before them more than two hundred torches of wax, costly garnished, burning bright" (or painted and gilded with various devices); and " above two hundred clerks and priests, in surplices and copes, singing," after which came the officers; " the mayor and aldermen in scarlet, and then the skinners in their best liveries." A temporary revival of these imposing shows took place in Mary's days previously to their discontinuance. —Timbs' Something for Everybody, 1861, p. 84.
At one time on Corpus Christi Day the crafts or companies of Norwich walked in procession from the common hall, by Cutter Row, and round the market to the hall again. Each company had its banner, on which was painted its patron or guardian saint.—See History of Norwich, 1768, vol. i. p. 175.
The earliest mention of the religious ceremony of Corpus Christi play and procession in Newcastle-upon-Tyne occurs in the Ordinary of the Coopers' Company, dated January 20th, 1426; though the great popularity of these exhibitions at York and other places must have induced the clergy, merchants, and incorporated traders of that town, to adopt them long before this time. There can be but little doubt that the several trades strove to outvie each other in the splendour of their exhibitions. The Company of Merchant Adventurers were concerned in the representation of five plays. The hoastmen, drapers, mercers, and boothmen had probably each one.
" Hoggmaygowyk " was the title of one of their plays, the representing of which, in 1554, cost Al. 2s. This Company in 1480, made an act for settling the order of their procession on Corpus Christi Day. In 1586 the offering of Abraha and Isaac was exhibited by the slaters.
By the Ordinary of the goldsmiths, plumbers, glazie pewterers, and painters, dated 1436, they were commande to play at their feast the three Kings of Coleyn. In the books of the fullers and dyers, one of the charges for the
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