Article Title

The Wells Cordwainers Show: New Evidence Concerning Guild Entertainments in Somerset


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Very little information survives concerning craft guild entertainments in Somerset. The records of the guilds themselves seem to have disappeared, and few references occur in other civic records. One of the substantial pieces of evidence is the well-known list, in a Wells Corporation Acts Book, describing six guild shows staged for the Queen on 20 August 1613 during her visit to Wells (see transcription in the Appendix to this paper).1 According to that list, the masters and wardens of six Wells companies representing fifteen local occupations prepared shows which included presentations of their respective company arms, several morris dances, and a variety of pageants. While the brief descriptions survey the broad features of the shows, they provide few details concerning the entertainments the number of actors, the staging, the content, the nature of the presentations themselves. In the absence of further evidence, the list of shows is cryptic at best.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.