The reasons of misrule revisited: evangelical appropriations of carnival in Tudor revels.
The imposition of this anachronistic stereotype on an earlier era has, in fact, produced a distorted critical perspective, a curious, reverse historical anamorphosis that insists upon upholding an illusory proportionality where it did not exist. Particularly in terms of the eruption of misrule registered under Henry and Edward, the one-sided view of proto-puritan sobriety ascribed to Edward's reign distorts grotesque realities, while the humorous funhouse image of Scrots's spectacular oil painting captures much truth. Indeed, given the misrule that would so mark Edwardian court spectacle and collegiate revels alike, Scrots's anamorphosis affords a useful emblem of the surprisingly carnivalesque character and disproportionate impact of a foreshortened reign whose monarch was crowned, fittingly, during the Shrovetide season.
A broader historical distortion conventionally imposed in analyses of Tudor misrule generally, moreover, is that of continuity. Rather than being characterized by continuous popular customs, a sustained onslaught by protestants against said misrule, or an enduring determination to retain the same among Catholics, carnivalesque traditions in the wake of Tudor Reformations could instead be marked by significant discontinuities, as contexts, motivations, and meanings changed. Above all, the inspiration for burgeoning Edwardian misrule was not a continuation of traditional rites, such as the defunct Boy Bishop or long absent court Lord of Misrule, but a revival and expansion of the zealous revels initiated by evangelicals in the 1530s. Not surprisingly, late-Henrician and Marian traditionalists moved to check such charged misrule, just as puritans later opposed carnivalesque rites once they were turned against them.
'Sports and follies against the Pope': Cromwellian-Inspired Appropriations of Misrule
As historian Patrick Collinson has observed, 'The first [English] generation of protestant publicists and propagandists ... made polemical and creative use of cultural vehicles which their spiritual children and grandchildren later repudiated.' (2) Evangelizing arrogations of unexpected cultural vehicles are nowhere more apparent than when looking at developments in that festive mode characterized by license, parody, and inversion known in England under the category of misrule. In marked contrast to the traditional stereotype of protestant seriousness that would emerge later in the Renaissance, early evangelicals enthusiastically employed--in service of propaganda--the carnivalesque misrule their spiritual descendants would abhor; historian Diarmaid MacCulloch thus describes early Tudor evangelical propaganda as characterized by a 'gleeful destructiveness' in 'utilizing public ridicule against traditional devotion' while employing a 'savagely symbolic overturning of the past'. (3) So it was that contemporary Thomas More could compare William Tyndale to an 'abbote of mysrule in a Christemas game'. (4)
Insight into the motives behind evangelical topsy-turveydom is provided by what amounts to a strategy statement left to us by Thomas Cromwell's secretary, Richard Morison, entitled 'A Discourse Touching the Reformation of the Lawes of England' (c 1534-5). Since carnivalesque processions and plays are 'daily by all meanes ... inculked and driven into the peoples heddes' to prop up 'the bysshop of Rome', Morison reasons, reformers must fight back with the same weapons, while eradicating Catholic traditions: 'Howmoche better is it that [their] plaies shulde be forbodden and deleted and others dyvysed to set forthe ... lyvely before the peoples eies the abhomynation and wickednes of the bisshop of Rome, monkes, ffreers, ... and suche like'. (5) To make reform appeal to 'the commen people', for whom 'thynges sooner enter by the eies, then by the eares', some things 'are to be born withal, thowghe som thing in them ... be misliked'; Morison thus advocates that the English 'ought [to] ... go in procession' as a festive 'memoryall of the distruction of the bishop of Rome out of this Realm'. (6) In short, Morison's plan promoted the appropriation of the carnivalesque as a means of inculcating Reformation. Gritting teeth bared in laughter, evangelicals exploited the very cultural vehicles some already found anathema in order to instill antipathy in others. This polemical arrogation would, inevitably, radically reshape the meaning of, and the very reasons for, misrule.
After all, Morison's strategy was put into practice with a vengeance through an 'extensive campaign of Reformation propaganda, organized by the government'. (7) Two exemplary highlights of this campaign were the jeering February 1538 public sermon in London exposing the puppet-like Boxley Rood (with its mechanisms for moving Jesus's eyes, mouth, and limbs), which ended with the throwing down of the once-miraculous image for 'rude people and boyes' to gleefully dismember, and a raucous June 1539 royal triumph on the Thames that ended when 'at last the Pope and his cardinalles were overcome, and all his men cast over the borde into the Thames'. (8) As such official propaganda touched off what Sydney Anglo characterized as 'a veritable fever of iconoclasm [that] seized the country', it also helped to spur expressions of the 'anticlericalism' Christopher Haigh identifies as a 'result rather than a cause of the Reformation'. (9) Notably, in 1538 at the Cornish parish of St. Stephen's, Launceston, 'riotous and misruled persons' harassed their chaplain, while in 1540 'misruled and wild persons' in Pawlett, Somerset, prevented their vicar from offering communion as they 'stood at the chancel door' and on another occasion dragged him out and 'cast him over the churchyard wall'. (10) In July 1539, the French ambassador Marillac could report from London in a letter to Montmorency on the frequent occurrence of 'sports and follies against the Pope'. There was, it seemed to the Frenchman, 'not a village feast nor pastime anywhere in which there [was] not something inserted in derision of the Holy Father'. (11) '[M]isruled persons', then, were among the vanguard of the Reformation.
In the context of recently successful promotions of polemical misrule, a royal proclamation altering feast days, dated 12 July 1541, documents an effort to impose discontinuity in misrule in that, while reinstituting the lately abrogated Catholic feasts of St. Mary Magdalene and others, it also seemed to ban inversionary rites touching upon religion:
And whereas heretofore diverse and many superstitious and childysshe observations have been usid, and yet to this day are observed and kept in many and sundry partes of this realm as upon sainte Nicolas, ... the holye Innocentes, and such like; children be strangelye decked and apparelid to counterfaite priestes, bysshopps, and boyes doo singe masse and preache in the pulpit, ... the kyng's majestie therefore ... commaundeth that from henceforth all such superstitions be loste and clyerlye extinguished throughowte all this his realms and dominions. (12)
Most assume that this section of the proclamation simply reflects a protestant ban on the ceremonies of the Boy Bishop associated with the Catholic feasts of St. Nicholas (December 6) and of Holy Innocents (December 28). But why would protestants reinstate other Catholic feasts and then ban customs that would seem to allow the iconoclastic mockery recently proposed by Morison, enacted with the government's support, and so politically notable as to be lamented by the ambassador Marillac? And, why was there such a marked concern about 'childysshe' misrule engaged in by 'children' or 'boyes'? For that matter, was a ban on Catholic misrule actually necessary at this time? Ultimately, historical context and accounts of boyish misrule at the colleges, providing some of the richest records, demonstrate that a crackdown on so-called papist festivities was not required as of 1541; instead, church traditionalists now in power, notably (as we shall see) Stephen Gardiner and Edmund Bonner, appear to have been reversing course to reign in iconoclastic excesses that Cromwell had unleashed before his fall.
At Cambridge, in fact, the recent pattern of misrule reflected not the influence of 'papistry' but that of the innovative and iconoclastic propaganda promoted by radical evangelical reformers. Indeed, the Boy Bishop's last appearance in the college records of Cambridge was at King's College in 1534-5, (13) well before the 1541 ban and at a time when evangelical appropriations had dampened enthusiasm for the tradition. By 1530, the records of a Boy Bishop had already broken down at King's, where entries 'pro tunica ordinanda pro Episcopo' had appeared on 'die sancti Nicholai' semi-regularly from 1450-1 through 1529-30 (yearly since 1527), (14) as first Erasmian- and Lutheran-and then Cromwellian-inspired iconoclasm flourished. Waning enthusiasm for the custom suggests that traditional inversionary rites faded as former participants witnessed their meanings and character being converted by Reformation appropriation. Thus, following 1530-1, (15) theatrical accounts, now entered by evangelicals in English rather than Latin, are dominated by iconoclasm at Christ's (founded in 1439 and refounded under its current name in 1505), and, after 1534-5, (16) St. John's (founded 1511).
Here it should be noted that most contemporary evidence, especially that not drawn from 'sixteenth-century partisan propaganda', points to the Boy Bishop ceremony being of a strikingly different character than Reformationera misrule. (17) Whereas an inventory for the Boy Bishop from King's College, Cambridge, in 1505-6 included such carefully preserved items as 'a gowne of skarlett with a whode for the same furred with white', 'a miter of white damaske with ... perles and vj other stones', 'ffyne knytt gloves', 'a noche of gold havyng a precius stone in the myddes and iij grete perles aboute [it]', and 'Rynges of gold for the bisshop', (18) accounts for the post-Reformation Lord of Misrule, we shall see, would include instead 'olde ... vestmente[s]' (19) representing proverbial 'Romish rags'. Like the inventory at King's, other pre-Reformation records of Ornamentis Episcopi Puerorum consist of 'precious' vestments indicative of remarkable decorum, including: 'i white cope, ... with ... orferes [ie, borders of] redde sylkes, with does of gold', 'i vesture, redde, with lyons of silver, with brydds [birds] of gold', 'i myter, well garneshed with perle and precious stones', 'iiij rynges of silver and gilt, with four redde precious stones', 'i pontifical with silver and gilt, with a blew stone in hytt', 'a hode of skarlett, lyned with blue sylk'. (20) Westminster Abbey inventories contained items of such extraordinary beauty and detail as 'The vj myter of Seynt Nycholas bysshoppe, the grounde therof of whyte sylk, garnysshed complete with floures, gret and small, of sylver and gylte, and stones ... , with the scripture, Ora pro nobis Sancte Nicholai, embroidered theron in perll, the sydes sylver and gylt, and the toppys sylver and gylt, and enamelyd with ij labelles of the same, and garnysshed in lyk maner, and with viij long bells of sylver and gylt'. (21) Consistent with such ornate, ceremonious vestments, which appear more likely to have inspired reverence than riot, other evidence unearthed by Richard de Molen reveals that, far from being unambiguously indicative of boyish, licensed misrule, the Boy Bishop seems to have been less about 'catharsis and burlesque' than spiritual, Pauline inversion. (22) Later anti-papist misrule, featuring burlesques of Catholic ritual (and of the Boy Bishop himself), was of a very different stripe than the traditional Boy Bishop ceremony, since jeering iconoclasm did not reinforce ritual, hierarchy, and devotion as pre-Reformation custom involving Pauline inversion of acknowledged authority had.
Given the Boy Bishop ceremony's status as 'religious ceremony, per se', (23) and the absence of such rites at Cambridge after 1535, it is all the more significant that at stoutly evangelical Christ's College, Cambridge, the earliest payments to 'the Lorde in Chrystynmes'--ie, the favored Cambridge name for the Lord of Misrule presiding over pastimes during the Christmas season--'for players garmentes' are recorded as of 1539, (24) that is, beginning at the peak of the iconoclasm described by the French ambassador during a Reformation campaign featuring an 'orgy of destruction and dissolution' of relics and monasteries between 1536 and April of 1540. (25) Such Christ's revels were spurred on by Cromwell's campaign, since payments appear in Cambridge accounts from 1536-7, 1537-8, and 1539-40 for 'mimis domini Cromwell' and 'lorde Crumwelles players', who left an increase in anti-papist revels in their wake. (26)
At St. John's College, signs of iconoclastic and innovative playing to be found thereafter include costume chests traceable from 1540. (27) After Cromwell and Cambridge Reformer Robert Barnes were martyred later in that year, the 'St. John's College Register of Inventories' of 1540-1 and 1541-2 defiantly reveals in a catalogue of 'Plaiares Garmentes Lienge in the chest' a number of vestments used for performances, including 'Item xxviijti stoles', 'Item ij grene vestimentes', 'Item a yellow olde silke cope', 'Item a olde white vestmente', 'Item ij white aulter clothes with rede crosses', and 'an owld cope now turned yn to a cote garded with stoles' (28) (guarded long coats being the wear of fools), while noting '[v]estmentes', remarkably, in connection to 'ye comedies'. (29) As the anti-papist plays Morison had envisaged were set forth 'before the peoples eies', such playing struck one particular eyewitness, John Christopherson, who received his B.A. from St. John's, Cambridge, in 1540-1 and his M.A. in 1543, as impious:
At [that] tyme ... ye devil, for ye better furtherauce of heresy, piked out ... people, that shuld ... set forward his purpose, as wel as false preachers dyd in the pulpet: that is to say, ... players ... to set forth openly before mens eyes the wicked blasphemye, that they had co[n]trived for the defacing of all rites, ceremonies, and all the whole order, used in the administration of the blessed Sacramentes. (30)
At Christopherson's own St. John's, in defiance of the 1541 ban on 'counterfaite' churchmen, a Lord of Christmas (ie, Lord of Misrule) and his attendant seasonal revels were promoted in the statutes of 1544-5, whereas neither the prior statutes (1516, 1524, 1530) nor the subsequent ones (1560) mention a Lord at all. (31) Accounts reflect payments of 'xx s' for 'playinge the lorde' or 'playng the lord in Chrystynmas' as early as 1545-6. (32) Cromwell's anti-papist brand of misrule was not to be deterred among the 'boyes' at college, then, whatever proclamations might say.
Indeed, at Christ's College, we have definite evidence of evangelical theatrical misrule in the sensational scandal recorded in the 1544-5 letters exchanged between Stephen Gardiner, the traditionalist bishop of Winchester (1531-51 and 1553-5) who was named Chancellor of Cambridge to replace Cromwell during the Henrician regime's religious retrenchment, (33) and protestant Matthew Parker, who was vice-chancellor at Cambridge and, along with the martyred Thomas Bilney and Robert Barnes, one of a pioneering group of Cambridge reformers promoting the Reformation in England. (34) The letters were prompted by Gardiner's discovery of the performance of an 'intolerable' play called Pammachius, 'late played in chrystys college', that was aptly deemed provocation to 'Innouation and disorder'. (35)
The decidedly polemical Pammachius, first published in 1538, was written by German Calvinist propagandist Thomas Kirchmeyer, and was again published at Wittenberg in 1542 as part of a collection of the author's plays dedicated to the reformer Archbishop Cranmer. As a piece of satire against papal ceremony and abuses, both real and imaginary, Kirchmeyer's ribald play achieved considerable fame throughout Europe among extremist reformers. Pammachius tells the sensational story of a fictional pope who determines to worship Satan rather than Christ. With Satan's help, this imaginary pope takes his place as Antichrist, deposes Caesar, and institutes blasphemous ceremonies until God allows the apostle Paul and Truth to return to earth in order to expose Pammachius's abuses. The satire ends with the result undetermined, (36) in an urgent call to action that reverberated in the halls at Christ's for decades after the 1544 performance.
In the letters unfolding the details of the production it becomes clear that the play proceeded with the full support of resident protestant authorities. For instance, the college paid 'wellnigh xx nobles allowed bi the master' to bring it off and Parker insisted that the master had omitted 'all such matter wherby offense might Iustly haue risen'. Yet, the traditionalist Gardiner learned that the play 'reproved Lent fastinges[,] al ceremonies[,] and albeit the words of sacrament and masse wer not named[,] yet the rest of the matier wryten in ... the reproofe of them was expressed'. Far from restraining such 'wylde wanton libertie', Cambridge authorities promoted a play that would 'presumptuously mok and skorne the direction of their prince in matier of religion'. Parker responded that the 'entent' was merely 'to plucke downe ye popes vsurped power', followed by the somewhat lame assurance that he had discovered 'by Inquistion not aboue two that wer offended'. Gardiner, by contrast, found 'thinges [to] be very far out of ordre both openly in the vniuersitie and seuerally in the colleges'--a measure of how widespread evangelical misrule was at Cambridge--and the Privy Council instructed Parker that 'no suche matter eyther in playe or in ernest [should] be ... medled with' and that in the future Cambridge heads must take 'speciall ... care as if any misordre be among the yowugth ye refourme it'. (37) It is unclear, however, whether ensuing payments at Christ's for 'souing ye pleyers gere and sowynges the albes' (clerical vestments) in 1546-7 (38) reflect quite the kind of 'refourme' the Council had in mind.
Though the 1541 ban has been taken as unambiguous evidence of a sustained Reformation 'onslaught on many kinds of inversionary laughter'--implicitly Catholic--'which had hitherto flourished largely unchecked', (39) ironically, most of the evidence points rather to the conclusion that it was instead restraining the radical appropriation of misrule Cromwellian-era evangelicals had unleashed. Henry's administration had already moved to reverse course before the 1541 ban. In 1539, the conservative Six Articles reaffirmed most Catholic doctrine, and, in 1540, Cromwell had been executed. It was, then, a traditionalist crackdown on what the Privy Council deemed heretical 'misordre ... among the yowugth' (40) that was the immediate context for the 1541 proclamation against 'children ... strangelye ... apparelid to counterfaite priestes[,] bysshopps', and 'boyes ... sing[ing] masse'. (41)
Subsequent conservative injunctions further clarify that it was the protestant 'Innouation and disorder' opposed by Gardiner that were undoubtedly the target of the 1541 ban. In April 1542, for instance, London's staunch traditionalist bishop, Edmund Bonner, ordered the clergy not to 'permit or suffer any manner of common plays, games, or interludes, to be played, set forth, or declared' in mockery of 'the blessed sacrament ... or any other sacrament ministered'. By January 1543, Parliament, too, was trying to restrain iconoclastic misrule, drawing up an act that attacked the recent slew of polemical 'printed bokes printed balades playes rymes songes and other fantasies' advocating Reformation and appealing 'speciallye [to] theyouthe'. (42)
The motives behind such official sanctions against boyish evangelical misrule appear all the more clearly against the backdrop of Susan Brigden's findings in her classic essay, 'Youth and the English Reformation', according to which Henrician traditionalists viewed Protestantism as 'a conspiracy in which "lewde laddys" took concerted action to spread their heresy'. (43) At the time of the 1541 proclamation banning religious misrule, traditionalists did in fact have cause to worry about 'lewde laddys' or 'foolish boys'. Early (sometimes physical) attacks upon the mass were frequently undertaken by youths, so that the young were 'among the first Protestant martyrs for their sacramentarianism', and when assaults upon the clergy became widespread throughout England in the 1540s 'it was usually young people who were the aggressors'. (44) If Brigden is correct in observing that iconoclasm--and I would specify iconoclastic misrule--was among the 'new ... pastimes' ushered in by the Reformation, then it is more than coincidence that 'it was the young', to whom misrule was most likely to appeal, 'who were the statue smashers'. (45)
'Whan ye christenmas lordes came': From Edward's Court to Inns of Court and Cambridge
Following late-Henrician efforts to repress it, evangelical misrule expanded during the zealous reign of Edward VI (1547-53), when royally sponsored entertainments at court were dominated by anti-papist revels. Such revels were initially organized by Sir Thomas Cawarden, Master of Revels and a 'committed evangelical' (46) who 'collaborated in devising and producing propaganda under Somerset['s Protectorship]'. (47) Revels accounts indicate that the first season of Edwardian entertainment, at Shrovetide, 1547-8, included an anti-papist play in which Edward himself performed as a priest (48) and which required 'Cardynalles hates for players' and 'ffyne golde for the making of Crownes & Crosses for the poope in playe'. (49) The 1550-51 season likewise involved papist 'me[i]ters for plaiers'. (50) But it is especially entertainments performed by the favorite George Ferrers, 'promoted to the royal household', appropriately enough, 'by Cromwell in 1539' (51) and later appointed as the Lord of Misrule for the last two years of Edward's reign, that best reveal the incredible scale--and zeal--of Edwardian misrule.
Ferrers's innovative antics as the Lord of Misrule, to be discussed below, can only be appreciated fully in contrast to the reigns of other Christmas Lords. It would seem, as Sydney Anglo observed, that 'royal Lords of Misrule, though of annual appointment, had never played a major part in court festivals' prior to Ferrers. (52) The Lord of Misrule thus appears, relatively, not to have been so important at court before Edward. E.K. Chambers too noted that, although household accounts under Henry VII mention 'a Lord or Abbot of Misrule for nearly every Christmas in the reign' and under Henry VIII 'annually ... with one exception, until 1520', 'Little information can be gleaned as to the functions of the Lord of Misrule in the first two Tudor reigns.' (53) As for what little is definitely known, a William Ringley was named as either Abbot or Lord of Misrule in 1491-2, 1492-3, 1495-6, 1500-1, and 1501-2, (54) just as a William Wynnsbury was named in records as Abbot of Misrule in 1508-9 and Lord of Misrule in 1509-10, 1512-13, 1513-14, and 1514-15 and was perhaps the unnamed Lord in 1510-11 and 1511-12. (55) W.R. Streitberger does speculate, 'given the amounts of ... imprests, payments, and rewards (which on occasion mention "revels")', that at least Wynnsbury's entertainments between 1508 and 1515 were 'probably elaborate', since their cost points to the lavish 'participatory revels' which Henry VIII 'preferred to plays'. (56)
Although evidence unearthed by the reed project may some day alter the picture, it is worth noting as well that the Lord of Misrule himself, the English embodiment of the character 'Carnival', seemingly never became so important a figure in England as in mainland Europe, just as Shrovetide never developed in England as it did elsewhere. (57) In the same way, the tradition of the Feast of Fools, so important on the continent, did not long remain in England: 'the few notices of it are all previous to the end of the fourteenth century'. (58)
Within this context, previous analysis of English misrule insisting that Edwardian favorite Ferrers's 'reign' points to a 'continuum' with prior traditions (even though his is 'the first [Lord of Misrule] ... whose reign can be enjoyed in any detail') is mistaken, all the more so in claiming continuity particularly with revels at inns of court (where Ferrers had studied law at Lincoln's Inn after receiving his BA from Cambridge in 1531). (59) Rather, the innovative Edwardian expansion in misrule is especially noteworthy at the inns where, prior to Edward, drama and Lords of Misrule had not been prevalent. Instead, few records of revels involving dramatic entertainment exist at all at any inns before the 1550s. (60) At Gray's Inn, for instance, the Lord of Misrule did not appear before Edward's accession. (61) Accounts of the first appearance of a Lord of Misrule at Gray's in 1550 actually reveal haphazard innovation in ordering that 'thenceforth there should be no comedies called Interludes in this House out of Term times, but when the Feast of the Nativity ... is solemnly observed' and in proclaiming that 'when there shall be any such Comedies, then all the Society at that time in the Commons, [shall] bear the charge of the Apparel'. (62) Like Cambridge statutes, such orders point to an attempt to perpetuate recently instituted innovations (here, comedies) in perpetuity.
Edwardian efforts to establish a continuous tradition of misrule revels failed, however, as subsequent instances were abortive and sporadic. Indeed, at Gray's, where the 'Lord' or 'Prince' came to be known by the title 'Purpoole' (after the area in which the inn was situated), the first Purpoole did not reign until 15 87. (63) At the Inner Temple, the first dramatic revels to draw notice, also occurring subsequent to Ferrers's absurd Edwardian misrule at court, were the stately Christmas revels of 1561-2. These extraordinary revels occurred during the reign of Lord Robert Dudley (Elizabeth's staunchly protestant earl of Leicester) as Christmas Lord, when the first known five-act tragedy in English, Gorboduc, was performed. (64) F.A. Inderwick thus concluded: 'Excepting the special entertainment for Lord Robert Dudley in 1561, the revels were not apparently so fully kept up from 1555 till the end of Elizabeth's reign'. (65)
Just as the inns reflect Edwardian innovation, so did iconoclastic misrule at Cambridge expand dramatically under Edward. Whereas only the vaguest sense of the tradition of Tudor Cambridge Lords has long prevailed in theatre histories, happily, more information is now available from Cambridge accounts compiled in Alan H. Nelson's reed volumes. These records presently reveal that the quite apparent eruption of misrule in the late 1540s is not merely an accident of recordkeeping, but that Cambridge Lords of Misrule and their theatrical revels were actively promoted by the militant Edwardian administration at the colleges, just as they had been with reformers' encouragement under Henry. At St. John's College, for instance, after innovations in misrule were vigorously restrained by Henry's administration in 1545, payments to a Lord of Misrule reappear in 1547-8, 1548-9, and 1549-50, and a costume inventory appears in 1548. (66) Rather than being subject to tacit approval, such misrule was prompted by the appearance at Cambridge of 'the Kynges players' and 'my lorde Protectors players' in 1547-8. (67)
An indication that evangelical St. John's particularly established precedents promoting iconoclastic misrule may be found in the history of its disciple, Trinity. John Dee boasted that after he was 'out of St. Iohn's Colledge' and then 'chosen Fellow of Trinity Colledge' (founded 1546-7), it was 'by my advise, & by my endeavours' that there was a 'Christmas Magistrate, first named ... emperor' there c 1547. (68) Although actual payments to the 'lord in Christynmas' were not recorded until 1552-3, (69) other Trinity accounts show An Inuetory off all vestymentes coppes & altar clothis' (1547-8), including entries for no less than fourteen 'coppes and altar clothis' that were 'brokin att plais for players garments'; (70) that is, Catholic vestments converted into, or simply used as, theatrical costumes. There were as well Christmas-Shrovetide charges at Trinity in 1549-50 'for puddings', 'for Cheese', and 'for good aile [for] Mr Atkingesons players' and his 'play', and, in 1550-1, 'for ii Loynes & a breste of mutton for Mr Atkynsons players' again. (71) In the latter year, the Steward's Accounts show an unprecedented boom in theatrical activity, totaling six performances of 'play[s]' or by 'players'. (72) The Trinity 'emperor' no doubt oversaw such revels, since the Christmas Lord often served as master of pastimes.
Like St. John's and its imitator Trinity, other Cambridge colleges experienced Edwardian inspiration for misrule and revels. For example, the first record of a mock Christmas king at King's College appears in 1547-8. (73) In addition, novel costume chests are recorded not just at St. John's in connection with the 1547-8 revels but at Queens' College (founded under its current name in 1448) in 1547-8 (74) and at King's College in 1552-3, (75) a year in which we also find 4 s. were paid at King's 'for makynge thunder against the plays' (76) and when Catholic vestments there, too, were 'transposyd into players garmentes'. (77) Queens' College, characterized by its marked 'sympathy with the Reformers', (78) especially followed the Edwardian pattern of revels innovation in recording payments for items such as marmalade, cakes, wine and fruit in 1546-7, 1547-8, and 1548-9 when the king of the college ruled ('quando rex collegii regalis'). (79) In the latter season, polemical, anti-papist tenor in misrule is reflected in the title of one of the plays: Hypocrisis, a 'tragoedia'. (80) More enigmatic perhaps, though consistent with misrule of some kind, is the 1551-2 riotous finestraclasm indicated in payments of 8 s. 4 d. for repairs to forty panes of glass from the western windows of one hall after a play ('pro reparatione 40 pedum vitri in occidentali fenestra aulae post lusus'). (81) During the same period when three of Queens' College's altars were overthrown and the painted images on the walls were whitewashed, (82) a stage was built between the years 1546-7 and 1548-9, (83) a heavens was erected for plays ('erectione coeli in lusu') for the riotous season of 1551-2, and an inventory of players garments was completed in 15 52-3. (84) Finally, the same evangelical Nicholas Robinson (85) who would later praise what 'a wonderful thing' Nicholas Udall's lost iconoclastic Henrician comedy Ezechias was when it was revived during Elizabeth's 1564 Cambridge visit (86) is previously associated under Edward with a 'commoedia' for which he had 'taken downe ... ij kassokes of sylke' in 1552 at Queens' College. (87) Here was theatrical innovation indeed, as Cambridge witnessed an unprecedented flurry of revels, with the most activity centered in protestant seedbeds.
In addition to burgeoning drama, misrule processions also emerged at the university. John Mere's diary offers evidence supporting such a conclusion in the form of two Marian entries from 1556-7. One of these tells us: 'On sonday ... ye lorde of christes college came Christmas lyke thither with a drum before hym &c.' (88) Although here there was no unambiguous reference to a full-scale procession, a drum and the coming 'Christmas lyke' would likely have encouraged such a following. The second entry more clearly reflects some sort of procession: 'One Tuesday candlemas day ... Item ye Christmas lorde at trinite college was had from ye churche to ye hall with drum[,] bylles &c which [was] ... liked not.' (89) Here, a journey from the church to the college hall proceeded 'with drum' and, oddly, plural weapons, along with the tantalizing '&c'. Tellingly, the only other accounts of Lords that 'came' to the university, evidently in procession, are from zealous Christ's, one in 1539-40, in the wake of Cromwellian iconoclasm, and the other an Edwardian reference from 1552-3. (90) How these Lords came we are not told.
More detailed information and more promising evidence of processions and their often iconoclastic character appear in the 'St. John's College Register of Inventories' in 1548-9. Building on the aforementioned statutes of 1544-5, this record includes a 'decree of the Master and the xij Seniors' that the 'Plaiers Apparell' listed 'be preserved & kept from yere to yere of him, which shalbe Lord In Christmas, And so the said Lord to deliuer the same apparel bi Indenture to his next Lorrd successor'. (91) The 1548-9 entry simultaneously reflects both the prior misrule established in 1544-5 and a still somewhat novel determination to preserve a tradition 'kept from yere to yere', in perpetuity, by statute. Among items listed here are some that we might expect from any generic Lord (eg, several 'fooles coote[s]' in various states of repair, 'ii Crownes one Imperial & ye oyer regal', 'iij scepters', 'a fooles dagger of wodd', and 'A silk gold cap with a cockes hed in ye crown'), but also others hinting at more pointed anti-papist intent: 'A miter', 'A long pest of silk & gold lined with blew bokeram' (likely a Catholic priest's stole), 'iij shildes . two with [superstitious] red draggones', 'ii draggones', 'ii black develles cootes with hornes', two 'steple capp[s]' (perhaps bishops' hats), one being 'couered with painted clothe' and the other in two of the fool's traditional colors 'painted blew & grene', and 'ii past[e] hates'. (92) The several pairs listed here suggest their use in mock religious processions, going two by two, for 'religious procession ... [was] featured in evangelical propaganda'. (93)
Given that Edwardian Cambridge likely witnessed an anti-papist tradition of misrule processions by 1548-9, it is interesting to note that at St. John's, ultimately one of 'the colleges with the strongest puritan element', (94) the 'Master' appears three times in the 'Register of Inventories' as an authorizing official for the aim of establishing and perpetuating its recent tradition. We should also take note here of the identity of the 1548-9 Lord of Misrule, for he would later be of some importance: 'Item to Mr leaver for playng ye lord yn chrystynmas.' As if to resolve our doubts as to the identity of this 'Mr leaver', the apparel in the coffers is 'committed to the Custodie of Mr Thomas Lever' for this 'said Lord to deliuer ... to his next Lord successor'. (95) Not coincidentally, having been thoroughly indoctrinated via such anti-papist misrule, Thomas Lever would later declare himself to be one of the 'godly preachers which have utterly forsaken Antichrist and all his Romish rags'. (96) Lever indeed 'quickly became the leader of the more advanced evangelical party' at the university (97) and thereafter a Marian exile, a prominent leader of the puritan party, a thorn in the side of the Elizabethan church, and a colleague of noted puritans such as Miles Coverdale, Anthony Gilby, John Foxe, Robert Crowley, Hugh Latimer, John Gough, John Field, and Thomas Cartwright. After Lever was made Master of St. John's by royal mandate in 1551, he mentored Cartwright, who originally came up in 1547. (98) Cartwright's zealous sermons and lectures would eventually 'thrust the university into turmoil' and 'much divided' it, according to John Strype, 'into two factions', being 'the younger sort ... much for innovations' who 'were followers of Cartwright's principles' versus 'the graver sort' who 'laboured to restrain' them. (99) Though the fiery Elizabethan sermons might initially seem far removed from the misrule of Cartwright's Edwardian youth, his appeal to 'the younger sort' as well as his 'radically anti-authoritarian' program were, in spirit, surprisingly similar. (100) In any case, far from opposing misrule as would later puritan fellows, (101) in 1548, we have seen that the Master of St. John's promoted it.
When we turn to Christ's College, here too we find striking Edwardian enthusiasm for misrule. After a hiatus following innovation in the misrule of 1539-40, there are extant records of costume chests in 15 5 0-1, (102) of visits by parish Lords of 'trinitie parish' and 'saint andrewes' who performed 'shewes' in 1552-3, (103) and of payments to 'ye carpenter for ... setting ... vp . ye houses and other things' in connection with 'S. Stephenson['s] play' in 1551-2. (104) This play was likely the mock-Terentian Gammer Gurton'sNeedle, which features iconoclastic, carnivalesque mock-rituals involving conjuring, superstitious oaths, kneeling, candles, ass-kissing, and excrement in 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, and 5.2. (105) In assessing account entries, we must also recognize that 'Christ's College was Edwardian (and later positively Puritan), in its sympathies. In fact, the Master, Richard Wilkes, was ejected in 1553 and there was rapid turnover in personnel in the years immediately following', including the absence of William Stevenson, apparent author of Gammer Gurton's Needle, as a Marian exile until 1559. (106)
Also indicative of the evangelical character of Cambridge revels is the influence there of Martin Bucer. The Strasbourg reformer and mentor to Calvin was a friend of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Matthew Parker and Regius professor from 1549 to his death in 1551. While at Cambridge, he advocated the use of drama in order to promote godliness. In De Regno Christi or 'The Reign of Christ' (1551), dedicated to Edward VI, Bucer calls for playwrights 'schooled in the knowledge of Christ's kingdom' to write plays for 'schoolboys' in such a way as 'to create and increase ... the horror of impiety and of the sowing and fostering of every kind of evil'--'both in the vernacular and in Latin and Greek', 'in either kind of poetry, [whether] comic or tragic', with comedy defined as dealing with the 'actions and fortunes ... of everyday, ordinary people'. (107) Comedy in and of itself was, therefore, not inherently objectionable to early evangelicals; indeed it was desirable so long as it was didactic and even (from a modern perspective) decidedly propagandist. Far from being morosely suspicious of laughter, the evangelical movement and its membership were initially united and defined by jeering laughter at purported papist impiety. In dedicating to Edward a work that promotes drama (including invective vernacular comedy), Bucer was, as it were, preaching to the converted.
Not coincidentally, then, apart from the initial eruption of misrule in the wake of Cromwell's propaganda, the bulk of the Tudor Cambridge records of Christmas Lords appear at protestant centers during the Edwardian period. A 1549 order of the Edwardian visitors forbidding the appointment of Lords of Misrule at Cambridge (108) thus appears to have been political cover, given that it was not enforced and that the 1547 statutes forbidding offensive jokes about the Eucharist were equally insincere. At least, John Shepherd's satirical dialogue Jon Bon and Mast Person of 1548, favored at court where 'the Courtiers wore it in their pockets', (109) openly invited mockery of the Catholic Eucharistic Host. It begins, in fact, with an appropriated Catholic woodcut of a Corpus Christi procession above the text:
Alasse poore fooles, so sore ye be lade ... For ye beare a great God, which ye yourselfes made Make of it what ye wyl, it is a wafer cake And between two Irons printed it is and bake And loke where Idolatrye is, Christe wyl not be there Wherfore ley downe your burden, an Idole ye do beare Alasse poore Fooles. (110)
Together, the Edwardian Cambridge records and Shepherd's satire foreshadow the iconoclastic humour to come, on a larger scale, from the Lord of Misrule as embodied by Ferrers.
'The hobby-horse is forgot': Unintended Consequences of Ferrers's Misrule
A great deal of insight into the fundamentally evangelical character of George Ferrers's misrule can be gleaned from exceptionally detailed Revels accounts and the colorful reactions of contemporary chroniclers, diplomats, and diarists. To begin with, evidence of the potential import of Ferrers's revels is found in the fact that his entertainments were the most costly of Edward's reign. Thus, whereas the revels for the combined Christmas-Shrovetide season of 1550-1 cost a total of 31 [pounds sterling]. 4s. 4d, (111) and whereas Edwardian revels cost as little as 19 [pounds sterling] 3s. 2d. for the season of 1548-9, (112) by contrast, the Christmas season entertainments of 1551-2, Ferrers's first as Lord of Misrule, cost a considerable 509 [pounds sterling] 0s. 9 V d. (113) The extraordinary character of the latter productions aroused discomfort in some contemporaries at court. Indeed, one ambassador, Jehan Schyfve, noting that 'one of the King's lesser gentlemen was created Lord of Misrule, which had not been done for fifteen or sixteen years' (114) (the last being recorded in 1534-5), (115) reports in a letter dated 18 January of Ferrers's first season that 'Not a few Englishman were highly scandalized' and that the Catholic 'French and Venetian ambassadors, who were at Court at the time, showed clearly enough that the spectacle was repugnant to them'. (116)
Certainly, there was little of the sobriety that would mark later zealous protestants to be found in Ferrers's revelry. Among the entertainments offered by Ferrers in 1551-2, for example, was a 'dronken Maske'. (117) Special direction was also provided in the Revels Accounts for Misrule's fool, this time played by one of the King's Players, John Smith: 'one vices dagger & a ladle with a bable pendante ... delivered to the Lorde of misrules foole ... & other weapons for the lorde of Mysrule & his fooles'. (118) But the highlight, as described by diarist Henry Machyn, was Ferrers's arrival at Tower Wharf and the subsequent procession as the Lord of Misrule on 4 January in London where, in an iconoclastic public entertainment, there 'was mad[e] a grett skaffold in Chepe hard by the crosse'--later confirmed as 'at the crosse in Chepe'. (119) This site, 'right at the heart of the city', Margaret Aston notes, was 'London's leading monument' and featured a 'wealth of religious imagery' and 'problematical iconography', including a standing figure of the Virgin Mary and Christ Child and, at the very top, a cross; it was at this Catholic monument, which zealous reformers would come to call 'that gorgeous Idoll', (120) where 'my lord dranke'. Here the Lord of Misrule came in procession with 'a gret company all in yellow and gren', colors traditionally associated with misrule, but also, following the Lord himself, a hooded retinue of '[h]alff a hundred in red and wyht', (121) colors associated with 'papistry'. Despite recent assertions that little can be determined in terms of 'the political import of [Ferrers's] revels', (122) the anti-papist significance suggested here may even more confidently be ascribed elsewhere.
Catholic practices at which Ferrers's misrule took aim included religious processions. As the ambassador Schyfve records in reference to Ferrers's first season, in addition to 'several witty and harmless pranks, he played other quite outrageous ones, for example, a religious procession of priests and bishops.' The Lord of Misrule even offered a crude burlesque of the ritual blessing of the eucharistic monstrance: 'They paraded through the Court, and carried, under an infamous tabernacle, a representation of the holy sacrament in its monstrance, which they wetted and perfumed in most strange fashion, with great ridicule'. (123) If such details have been viewed as perhaps akin to the long-defunct Boy Bishop ceremony, with its solemn blessing of the altar, (124) the aforementioned 'highly scandalised' reactions of contemporaries who found 'the spectacle ... repugnant' reveal instead the dangers of conflating pre-Reformation practice with post-Reformation propaganda.
Hints of anti-papist import are even indicated in Machyn's description of the 1551-2 season procession being led by 'furst a standard of yellow and grene sylke with Sant Gorge'. (125) This saint's appearance reflected the recent Edwardian assault on St. George as a figure of Catholic legend. By the January 1550-1 season, Edward had already purged papist vestiges from the Order of St. George, which he renamed the Order of the Garter, and whose observances he moved from the feast of the saint, near summer, to the fall. (126) The new statutes read: 'First, it is agreed that, whereas this ordre was called the ordre of saint George, whereby th'onour due to God was gevin to a creature, it shal no more be so called, nor yet saint George reputed as patron therof, but it shall be called th'ordre of the gartier, or defence of the trueth.' (127) In misrule the following year, which, Ferrers warned a rival, 'was not of our device but of the Counseills appoyntement', (128) St. George in turn became the patron of disorder and superstition.
In Revels Accounts of the subsequent season, 1552-3, anti-papal Apocalyptic symbolism recorded in Ferrers's own detailed instructions reflects the Lord of Misrule's role in evangelical propaganda as a sort of comic Pope as Antichrist, the inversion of godliness. Notably, for the Lord's coat of arms Ferrers would require: '[T]he serpente with sevin heddes ... is the chief beast of myne armes./ and the wholie bushe is the devise of my Crest / my worde is semper ferians ... always feasting or keeping holie daie.' (129) Both the Apocalyptic beast associated with Rome and the mockery of keeping holy days underscore an anti-papist theme, as does the inclusion among his attendants of 'a divine ... Iuglers / tumblers / fooles / friers andsuche other. (130) Here, fools and friars are all of a piece. Indeed, at least one fool was clothed as a popish vice, this time with 'a vices coote' for King's Men clown 'Iohn Smith of white and redde damaske figured with goulde churche worke', that is, a Roman Catholic clerical vestment. (131) The professional clown Smith, appearing as a vice in a clerical gown, evidently portrayed one of the 'Iuglers' referred to here, since 'juggler' was a term regularly applied in evangelical polemic to Catholic masspriests. (132) Reformers ranging from Wycliffe (who had called priests 'the divels iugglers') (133) to late-Henrician and Edwardian Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (whose 'favourite word for transubstantiation was "juggling"') (134) employed such cant in order to indicate trickery and illusion in the Catholic mass. Given the symbolism of the Romish beast, the clown Smith's priestly garb, and the use of evangelical cant, some iconoclastic jesting against the Catholic mass is apparent, since Edwardian satire 'above all else ... attacked and derided the Catholic Mass'. (135)
Ferrers's evangelical propaganda represented Catholicism as both carnivalesque and wicked, since, in addition to adopting the Apocalyptic beast as his emblem, the Lord of Misrule appears seated upon 'a dragons head and dragons mowthe of plate and stoppes to burne like fier'. (136) Here the dragon carrying Misrule himself recalled what Morison had called 'that wicked dragon the bishop of Rome'. (137) King Edward's revels thus aggressively combined carnivalesque symbolism--one Edwardian entertainment featured upside-down men in 'legges and half bodies with leggpeces lyke armes and handes ... for a maske of tumblers to goe vpon theyr handes' (138)--and iconoclastic iconography to provoke a visceral mixture of debasing scorn and horror aimed at Catholicism.
Furthering anti-papist hostility, Ferrers's 1551-2 entertainment in London, culminating in his arrival at the scaffold at Cheapside Cross, required 'stockes', 'a pyllary', 'a payer of manacles', 'Ieylers', and, most ominously, a 'hedding block, all of which were 'boghte for the lorde of misrule and occupied abowte hym'. (139) Ferrers evidently staged a popish Misrule's elaborate mock-execution before a massive audience, according to Machyn, on 'a gret brod skaffold' at the cross-idol in Cheapside where 'there was a hoghed of wyne [at] the skaffold, and ther my lord dranke'. (140) Misrule's entry into London the following year similarly featured not just friars and fools, but '[h]ys gayllers stokes, and [h]ys axe, gyffes, and boltes, sum fast by the leges and sum by the nekes'. (141) In employing such theatrics, Ferrers became a semiprofessional stage clown, jeering against now-criminalized Catholicism.
A final striking example of evangelical use of humourous carnivalesque cultural vehicles as propaganda may be found in the prominence of the Morris dance and its characteristic Hobby horse in Ferrers's entertainments. Puritans' hatred of both would later become a by-word, and their attacks on the iconic Hobby horse would contribute to its eventual scarcity in the dance so that it became proverbial in later Renaissance England that 'the hobby-horse is forgot'. (142) In Bartholmew Fair (1614), for instance, Jonson's Zeal-of-the-Land Busy, looking upon a puppet stall, would rail: 'Thy hobby-horse is an idol, a very idol, a fierce and rank idol' (3.652-53). (143) And Busy would then cast down the puppet stall (and, for good measure, the gingerbread stall as well) in a fit of inspired zeal against idols. Likewise, in a comic set piece, Fletcher's puritan cobbler clown Hope-on-High Bomby in Women Pleas'd (1620) would cast off his own Hobby horse and rant against it in 4.1 as if it were the Apocalyptic Romish beast:
The beast is an unseemly and a lewd beast, And got at Rome by the pope's coach-horses; ... I do defy thee, and thy foot-cloth too; And tell thee to thy face, this profane riding, (I feel it in my conscience, and I dare speak it,) This unedified ambling hath brought a scourge upon us; This hobby-horse sincerity we liv'd in, War and the sword of slaughter: I renounce it, And put the beast off thus, the beast polluted ... [Throws off the hobby-horse] (144)
This later stereotypical antipathy, and the otherwise curious belief that the Hobby horse was a popish image, makes it all the more striking that the anti-papist Edwardian revels during Ferrers's reign as Lord of Misrule focused disproportionately on the Hobby horse. The revels of 1551-2 included a mock combat featuring several 'hoby horses'. (145) In fact, the entertainment called for 'as many ... as ye may spare'. (146) In the end, there were thirteen Hobby-horses, including a grotesque one 'with 3 heads' for the Lord of Misrule, bought from a carver for a comic joust. (147) The entertainments of 1552-3 would require still more--'xxvj Hobby horses'. (148) On both occasions, Machyn's diary repeatedly confirms the conspicuousness of 'morse danse dansyng' (1551-2), the 'mores dansse', 'ys mores dansse', and 'ys morse dansse danssyng' (1552-3) (149) that would become an abomination or enormity to full-fledged puritans.
It is significant, then, that Morison had made special mention of Morris dance 'playes of Robyn hoode [and] mayde Marian', which featured 'rebawdry' (150) that could be appropriated for propaganda. At Edward's court, Morison's proposed arrogation of the Morris in anti-papist festivity was put to use alongside foolish priests, monks, friars, jugglers, tumblers, fools, religious processions, and the mass. Here in full was Bucer's vision of spectacle employed to create and increase horror at purported Catholic impiety and to arouse hatred. The point of appropriating twenty-six Hobby horses or a monstrous three-headed one was evidently to promote precisely the iconoclastic impulses later exhibited by Busy and Bomby.
Just how evangelicals finally made this transition to utter antipathy toward misrule is a question requiring much more research, since early evangelical uses have heretofore gone largely unrecognized. It seems likely, however, that an intermediate step was ambivalence and aversion as horror at impiety only gradually transferred to festivity and laughter. Real evangelicals no less than fictional ones had used and experienced comedy and festivity alike in contexts that purposely elicited such aversion. At the same time, although it is probable that a profound ambivalence toward laughter increased alongside the evangelical equation of 'papist' impiety with laughter, it also appears that laughter began to seem really sinful only after it had been turned against the puritans. What is certain is that Cambridge puritans did not make their final break with misrule until September 1588 (the autumn the Martin Marprelate controversy began), when St. John's evangelicals requested 'That noe lord of misrule ... be vsed in ye Colledge', because 'there is nothing sought herein but disgrace, disfaming, and abuse'. (151) Of course, defaming abuse had previously been precisely the point, but the targets of invective misrule had changed. Though the carnivalesque Marprelate vainly attempted to turn back the clock, following the anti-puritan satirical backlash he incited, the associations evangelicals had with impiety would expand, as both antipathy toward Catholicism and resentment of mockery at the puritans' expense extended to laughter itself, thereby demonizing it too. At least, William Prynne would later find laughter at theatre 'altogether inconsistent with the gravity, modesty and sobriety of a Christian', a group of puritans in 1655 would soberly resolve never to joke, and Fifth Monarchists would debate whether all laughter was sinful. (152)
'Liked Not': Marian Disruption of Evangelical Misrule
Many traditionalists under Mary quite evidently experienced their own aversion to misrule. Here, more was at stake than even the hated match to Phillip II, who, when he 'came ryding thorugh London' in January 1554, was greeted by 'boyes [who] peleted at [him] with snowballes'. (153) Over the three decades that the Reformation had established a strong footing in England, misrule had come to be less about the temporary inversion of accepted hierarchy than the iconoclastic tearing down of 'popery'. From the traditionalists' perspective, misrule was now necessarily associated above all with heresy. Consequently, all signs indicate not just a lack of official enthusiasm but that misrule actually met stout opposition from the Marian administration. Because evangelical propaganda and polemic had promoted the idea that Catholicism was folly, Marian authorities labored to disassociate irreverence and religion by censoring evangelical misrule. Mary's first proclamation thus forbade religious satire, singling out 'playing' in any way 'touching the high points and mysteries of Christian religion'. (154) In 1554, as Parliament reenacted medieval statutes against heresy, the visitation articles of Bishop Bonner (soon to be known as 'Bloody Bonner') sought printers and booksellers associated with 'slanderous books, ballads or plays, contrary to Christian religion' or any lay people who 'jangled ... or played the fool' during mass or otherwise mocked the priests. (155)
Given overwhelming evidence of expanding misrule during Edward's brief reign, the dearth of misrule in Marian accounts further presents a stark contrast, particularly at Cambridge. At Trinity, payments to Lords of Misrule resurface only in 1553-4 and 1554-5. (156) The latter entry for a pro-Marian 'shew ... played cawled Anglia deformata [andAnglia Restituta]' constituted a brief Marian rebuttal to the disempowered evangelicals, after which, although some plays are still recorded, official enthusiasm for misrule diminished. Instead, at King's College, a stark shift from anti-papist misrule is reflected in work completed by one 'Carleton' indicating that the ecclesiastical vestments formerly 'transposyd into players garmentes' for anti-papist misrule under Edward had to be converted back into vestments again ('Item sol. Carleton sacristepro labore in conuertendis tunicis hystrionum in vestimenta ecclesie'). (157) Other Marian instances of Cambridge misrule met a hostile response, as Mere's aforementioned 1556-7 diary recounts: 'Item ye Christmas lorde at trinite college was had from ye churche to ye hall with drum[,] bylles &c which the visitors liked not.' (158) On this occasion, there seems to have been a procession of some kind from the church to a Cambridge hall, with weapons ('bylles' being long shafts with blades at the end). This time, however, the Marian 'visitors' or inspectors disliked this misrule in which the setting out from the church now reflects an iconoclastic mock-procession.
Unsupportive Marian attitudes toward misrule appear at Oxford as well. At Christ's Church, where a Christmas Lord reigned, Frederick Boas noted, 'as early as the reconstitution of the College in 1546', there seems to have been a tighter budget for misrule under Mary: '[T]here shall be no more allowed yearly towards the charges of the pastime in Christmas ... but for two Comedies 20 s a piece and for two tragedies 20 s a piece ... towards the Lords other charges also 13 s. 4 d. yearly to be allowed and no more.' That Mary's administration did not favour collegiate misrule we may further determine from the fact that Trinity, Oxford, founded under Mary in 1556, never had a Lord of Misrule at all. (159)
As for London misrule, after a gap of four years following Edward's death, in 1557, within days of 'Gospellers' trying to publicly perform a mock mass suggesting that 'the communion was play', after which the ringleaders were burned for 'herese', Machyn records a Lord of Misrule now defiantly riding through the city. This time, he set out from the now-Catholic Westminster with 'm[a]ny disgyssyd in whytt'. On this occasion, far from being licensed or welcomed, Misrule himself 'was browth [brought] in-to the contur in the Pultre; and dyver[se] of ys men lay all nyght ther'. (160) Contrary to the patronage misrule had experienced under Edward, under Mary the Lord's company was treated to a night in jail.
At court, evidence likewise confirms that misrule was frowned upon during the reign of Edward's successors. Chambers notes, for example, that 'neither Mary nor Elizabeth seems to have revived the appointment of a Lord of Misrule at court' (161) that marked Edwardian practice in 1551-2 and 1552-3 revels. While Anglo attributed the lack of royally patronized misrule under Mary wholly to a dreary court characterized by hated Spaniards and a 'psychosomatically pregnant' Queen, 'sick in mind and body', (162) the context of prior evangelical appropriation of misrule against Catholics, combined with the Marian crackdown on heresy and religious satire throughout England, now points to a more purposeful constraint of misrule.
The intent of the protestant reformers' appropriation of carnivalesque misrule, as Morison explained, had been 'to set forthe and declare lyvely before the peoples eies the abhomynations and wickedness of the bishop of Rome, ... and suche like'. The goal was to impress anti-papist views upon 'the commen people' (163) by using traditional tools in iconoclastic ways that turned them upside down to de-sacralize Catholicism. But the results extended beyond even such ambitious goals and had ironic consequences. Certainly, the appropriation of carnival, which created what one historian describes as an 'atmosphere of festive mayhem' featuring 'public feasts of destruction', (164) served its iconoclastic purposes. Inevitably, however, the gleeful appropriation of carnival eventually made Tudor evangelicals seem carnivalesque themselves.
Anachronistic notions of sober protestants and riotous Catholics distort the evidence, then. In truth, Tudor evangelicals and traditionalists could alternately reject or embrace misrule depending upon who had the upper hand or who had become most associated with stereotypes of misrule. When misrule was appropriated to demean 'papistry' as Morison and Cromwell had planned, Henrician and Marian traditionalists subsequently moved to censor it. On the other hand, though the influence of reformist misrule may have lingered on in London apprentices' otherwise incongruous Renaissance custom of pulling down brothels on Shrovetide, (165) hints that a carnivalesque typology later rankled puritans, and that misrule was in fact being turned against them, appear on the eve of the Martin Marprelate controversy (1588-9)--in which a puritan satirist abortively revived carnivalesque evangelical propaganda--in the 1588 St. John's petition requesting a ban on misrule and its 'disfaming' invective. (166) Just how the full force of carnival was turned against the puritans in the wake of Marprelate is quite another story, but it is an irony of history that evangelicals had once promoted misrule and theatre (especially comedy) with the same zeal with which they came to oppose them.
(1) See the NPG website: <http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/portrait.aspPsearch =sa&s Text=scrot&LinkID=mp07539&rNo=0&role=art> and <http://126.96.36.199/live/ unusual.asp>.
(2) Patrick Collinson, From Iconoclasm to Iconophobia: the Cultural Impact of the Second English Reformation (Reading, 1986), 8.
(3) Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Boy King: Edward VI and the Protestant Reformation (Berkeley, 2002), 71, 74.
(4) St Thomas More, The Confutation of Tyndale's Answer, ed. L.A. Schuster et al., in The Complete Works of St. Thomas More, vol viii (1), (New Haven, 1973), 42.
(5) Sydney Anglo, 'An Early Tudor Programme for Plays and Other Demonstrations Against the Pope,' The Journal of Warburg and Courtnay Institute 20 (1957), 177-78.
(6) Anglo, 178.
(7) Sydney Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy (1969; Oxford, 1997), 272.
(8) Anglo, 272-73.
(9) Anglo, 270; Christopher Haigh, 'Anticlericalism and the English Reformation,' in The English Reformation Revised, (ed) Christopher Haigh, (1987; Cambridge, 2000), 56-74; 58.
(10) Ethan Shagan, Popular Politics and the English Reformation (Cambridge, 2003), 136-7, 131.
(11) James Gairdner and R.H. Brodie (eds), Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII (London, 1894), vol XIV, part 1, 558.
(12) P.L. Hughes and J.F. Larkin (eds), Tudor Royal Proclamations, 3 vols., (New Haven, 196^69), I no. 203, 33 Henry VIII (1541), 301-2.
(13) Alan H. Nelson (ed), REED: Cambridge (Toronto, 1989), 2.731.
(14) Nelson, 1.32 ff. through 100.
(15) Nelson, 1.102 ff.
(16) Nelson, 1.109 ff.
(17) Richard L. de Molen, 'The Boy-Bishop Festival in Tudor England,' Moreana 45 (Feb. 1975): 17-28; 18.
(18) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.79-81.
(19) Nelson, 1.123, 127.
(20) John Gough Nichols (ed), Two Sermons Preached by the Boy Bishop at St. Paul's ... with an Introduction ... by EdwardF. Rimbault (Westminster, 1875), xxiv-xxv.
(21) Nichols, xxvi.
(22) de Molen, 18.
(23) de Molen, 17.
(24) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.117. 1539 coincides with the presence of evangelical Nicholas Grimald, who took zealous revels with him to Oxford with Christus Rediuiuus (Cologne, 1543). F.S. Boas, University Drama in the Tudor Age (Oxford, 1914), 26.
(25) Roger Lockyer, Tudor and Stuart Britain, 1471-1714 (1964; New York, 1993), 61.
(26) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.112, 114, 119.
(27) Nelson, 1.111.
(28) Nelson, 1.123, 127.
(29) Nelson, 1.122.
(30) Boas, University Drama in the Tudor Age, 43, 44.
(31) G.C. Moore Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, 1923), 18.
(32) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.143.
(33) C.D.C. Armstrong, 'Gardiner, Stephen (c 1495/8-1555),' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004); http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/10364.
(34) D.J. Crankshaw and A. Gillespie, 'Parker, Matthew (1504-1575),' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004); <http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/ article/21327>.
(35) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.133.
(36) On Pammachius, see James Bass Mullinger, The University of Cambridge: From the Royal Injunctions of 1535 to the Accession of Charles the First (Cambridge, 1884), 73-74.
(37) All previous quotes in this paragraph from Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.133-40.
(38) Nelson, 1.144.
(39) Keith Thomas, 'The Place of Laughter in Tudor and Stuart England,' Times Literary Supplement 21 (January 1977): 77-81; 79.
(40) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.140.
(41) Hughes and Larkin, Tudor Royal Proclamations, 1.301-2.
(42) Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 271; emphases added.
(43) Susan Brigden, 'Youth and the English Reformation,' in The Impact of the English Reformation 1500-1640, (ed) Peter Marshall, (London, 1997), 55.
(44) Brigden, 65, 67.
(45) Brigden, 72.
(46) William B. Robison, 'Cawarden, Sir Thomas (c. 1514-1559),' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004); http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/37270.
(47) W.R. Streitberger, Court Revels, 1485-1559 (Toronto, 1994), 195.
(48) Albert Feuillerat (ed), Documents Relating to the Revels at Court in the Time of King Edward VIand Queen Mary (Louvain, 1914), 20, 22, 194, 255-58.
(49) Feuillerat, 5-6, 26.
(50) Feuillerat, 49.
(51) Streitberger, Court Revels, 194.
(52) Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 309.
(53) E.K. Chambers, The Medieval Stage, vol 1 (Oxford, 1903), 403-4.
(54) Streitberger, Court Revels, 429.
(55) Streitberger, 89. Other unnamed Abbots or Lords of Misrule are also recorded in 1489-90, 1502-3, 1504-5, 1505-6, 1506-7, 1507-8, and 1534-5 (Streitberger, 429).
(56) Streitberger, 89.
(57) See Chris Humphrey, The Politics of Carnival: Festive Misrule in Medieval England (Manchester, 2001), 65, 68; C. Davidson, 'Carnival, Lent, and Early English Drama,' Research Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 36 (1997), 123-4.
(58) Chambers, Medieval Stage, 1.321-22.
(59) Marie Axton, The Queen's Two Bodies: Drama and the Elizabethan Succession (London, 1977), 8. At Lincoln's Inn, William Ball cites only masques from the Jacobean period and a Restoration mock court. Lincoln's Inn: Its History and Tradition (London, 1947), 51.
(60) W. C. Richardson, A History of the Inns of Court (Baton Rouge, nd), 211. Prior festivity focused on eating and holding courts (F.A. Inderwick, A Calendar of the Inner Temple Records, vol I, 1505-1603, [London, 1896], 57). Iconoclastic misrule did appear once in 1526 via a performance produced at Gray's by John Rowe featuring masks and morris dances. The chronicler Hall wrote that this entertainment was 'highly praised of all menne, sauyng ... Cardinall [Wolsey],' who was 'sore displeased' (Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 238-39). Some participants were jailed and the lead, 'known Protestant activist' Simon Fish, fled to the continent. Paul Whitfield White, 'Theatre and Religious Culture,' A New History of Early English Drama, (eds) John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan, (New York, 1997), 138.
(61) Chambers, Medieval Stage, 1.417.
(62) Reginald J. Fletcher (ed), The Pension Book of Gray's Inn: 1569- (London, 1901-1910), Appendix II, 1.496; emphasis added.
(63) Richardson, History of the Inns of Court, 227.
(64) Richardson, 221.
(65) F.A. Inderwick, Calendar ofthe Inner Temple Records, 1.490.
(66) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.152, 159, 165.
(67) Nelson, 1.154. If '[n]o fewer than six members of Edward VI's Privy Council known to have supported Protestantism were patrons of acting companies recorded for performances ... across the realm' (White, 'Theatre and Religious Culture,' 136), then it is not difficult to guess what type of drama was preferred by such patrons.
(68) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.155.
(69) Nelson, 1.183.
(70) Nelson, 1.152-3; emphasis added.
(71) Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, 44.
(72) Smith, 53.
(73) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 2.731.
(74) Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, 31.
(75) Alan H. Nelson, Early Cambridge Theatres: College, University, and Town Stages, 1464-1720 (Cambridge, 1994), 111.
(76) Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, 29.
(77) Nelson, Early Cambridge Theatres, 64.
(78) Mullinger, University of Cambridge, 45.
(79) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.146, 150, 157.
(80) Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, 52.
(81) Smith, 45.
(82) V.H.H. Green, Religion at Oxford and Cambridge (London, 1964), 94.
(83) Alan H. Nelson, 'Early Staging in Cambridge,' in A New History of Early English Drama, (ed) John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan (New York, 1997), 59. The Queens' College stage, constructed some thirty years before the Theatre in Shoreditch, is especially noteworthy in that it consisted of five hundred pieces so that it could be erected and dismantled annually--and in fact lasted some ninety years, according to an inventory in 1638.
(84) Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, 29; Nelson, Early Cambridge Theatres, 113, 183-4.
(85) Robinson opposed 'the dreggs of [popish] superstition' and 'the closing up of God's word ... in an unknown tongue' (ie, Latin) and even boasted a 'reputation ... as a severe persecutor of Catholics.' J. Gwynfor Jones, 'Robinson, Nicholas (ca 1530-1585),' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004); http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/23860.
(86) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 2.1137-38.
(87) Nelson, 1.182.
(88) Nelson, 1.62.
(89) Nelson, 1.200.
(90) Nelson, 1.174; 2.736.
(91) Nelson, 1.159-60.
(92) Nelson, 1.161-62.
(93) R.W. Scribner, For the Sake of the Simple Folk: Popular Propaganda for the German Reformation (Cambridge, 1981), 96. Scribner does not refer to Cambridge accounts here.
(94) Patrick Collinson, Elizabethan Puritan Movement (1967; Oxford, 1990), 127-28.
(95) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.159.
(96) Collinson, Elizabethan Puritan Movement, 48.
(97) Ben Lowe, 'Lever, Thomas (1521-1577),' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004); http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/16535.
(98) Collinson, Elizabethan Puritan Movement, 48-49, 51, 72, 74, 90, 92, 112.
(99) Collinson, 123, 122.
(100) Collinson, 124. Consider also that during the 1564 royal visit to Cambridge in which Elizabeth preferred a humble traditionalist debater to Cartwright and deigned not to see all of the revival of Udall's iconoclastic Ezechias ('[a]fter enough had been seen'), the Queen first refused and then, being 'so importuned ... that at last she consented,' was unwittingly subjected to evangelical misrule: 'The actors came in dressed as some imprisoned bishops. First came the bishop of London carrying a lamb in his hands as if he were eating it as he walked along, and then ... one ... in the figure of a dog with the Host in his mouth.... [T]he queen was so angry that she at once entered her chamber using strong language, and the men who held the torches ... left them in the dark, and so ended the ... scandalous representation.' Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 2.1138, 1142-43.
(101) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.321.
(102) Nelson, Early Cambridge Theatres, 111.
(103) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.177, 178.
(104) Nelson, 1.173; Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, 28.
(105) See especially the following carnivalesque parody of the Catholic mass: TYB: Nay, break it you, Hodge, according to your word. HODGE: Gog's sides, fye, it stinks; it is a cat's turd! It were well done to make thee eat it, by the Mass! (2.1.52-54) C. W. Whitworth (ed), Three Sixteenth-Century Comedies (New York, 1984). When Hodge breaks the 'turd' in search of the needle, the staging self-consciously offers a parody of the breaking of the bread in the mass. Hodge completes the debased ritual in offering to make the kneeling Tyb eat the turd, as the timely oath ('by the Mass!') drives home the point.
(106) Whitworth, xxv.
(107) Glynne Wickham, Early English Stages 1300 to 1600, Volume II, Part 1 (New York, 1963), Appendix C, 'An Extract from De Honestis Ludis of Martin Bucer, 1551,' 329-331.
(108) Boas, University Drama in the Tudor Age, 9.
(109) John Strype, Ecclesiastical Memorials, Relating Chiefly to Religion ... Under King Henry VIII, King Edward VI, and Queen Mary (Oxford, 1822), 2.116.
(110) Luke Shepherd, Jon Bon & Mast Person, in An Edition of Luke Shepherd's Satires, (ed) Janice Devereux, (Tempe, 2001), 50.
(111) Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, 49, 55.
(112) Feuillerat, 35, 40.
(113) Feuillerat, 76.
(114) Royall Tyler (ed), Calendar of Letters, Despatches, and State Papers. Relating to the Negotiations Between England and Spain (London, 1914), 10.444.
(115) Streitberger, Court Revels, 143, 429.
(116) Tyler, Calendar of Letters, Despatches, and State Papers.... Spain, 10.444.
(117) Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 306-7.
(118) Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, 73.
(119) John Gough Nichols (ed), The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor of London, From A.D. 1550 to A.D. 1563 (London, 1848), 13-14. See also the excellent internet edition, A London provisioner's chronicle, 1550-1563, by Henry Machyn: manuscript, transcription, and modernization, (eds) Richard W. Bailey, Marilyn Miller, and Colette Moore (Ann Arbor, 2006): http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/machyn.
(120) Margaret Aston, The King's Bedpost: Reformation and Iconography in a Tudor Group Portrait (Cambridge, 1993), 108, 110, 111.
(121) Nichols, Diary of Henry Machyn, 13-14.
(122) Axton, Queen's Two Bodies, 9.
(123) Tyler, Calendar of Letters, Despatches, and State Papers.... Spain, 10. 444.
(124) On such, see Nichols, Two Sermons Preached by the Boy Bishop at St. Paul's, vii-x.
(125) Nichols, Diary of Henry Machyn, 13.
(126) John Gough Nichols (ed), Literary Remains of King Edward the Sixth (London, 1857), 2.529.
(127) Nichols, 2.521.
(128) Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, 59-60.
(129) Feuillerat, 89; emphases added.
(130) Feuillerat, 89-90; emphases added.
(131) Feuillerat, 97; emphasis added.
(132) Marie Axton (ed), Three Tudor Classical Interludes (Cambridge, 1982), 19-20.
(133) Paul Whitfield White, Theatre and Reformation: Protestantism, Patronage, and Playing in Tudor England (Cambridge, 1993), 126.
(134) Axton, Three Tudor Classical Interludes, 20.
(135) Devereux, An Edition of Luke Shepherd's Satires, xi, xx.
(136) Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, 107-8.
(137) Anglo, 'Early Tudor Programme,' 178.
(138) Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 316-17.
(139) Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, 72; emphasis mine.
(140) Nichols, Diary of Henry Machyn, 14.
(141) Nichols, 28-29.
(142) Francois Laroque, Shakespeare's Festive World: Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage (Cambridge, 1993), 124.
(143) Ben Jonson, Bartholmew Fair, (ed) G. R. Hibbard, (New York, 1997).
(144) The Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, (ed) Alexander Dyce, (London, 1844), 7.62-63; no lineation.
(145) Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 306-7.
(146) Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, 59.
(147) Chambers, Medieval Stage, 1.406.
(148) Feuillerat, Documents Relating to the Revels at Court, 91.
(149) Nichols, Diary of Henry Machyn, 13, 28-29.
(150) Anglo, 'Early Tudor Programme,' 179; on Maid Marian in the morris, see Laroque, Shakespeare's Festive World, 122-128; and on Robin Hood, see 122-23.
(151) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.321.
(152) Thomas, 'The Place of Laughter in Tudor and Stuart England,' 81.
(153) Brigden, 'Youth and the English Reformation,' 61.
(154) Tudor Royal Proclamations, II no. 390, I Mary I (1553), 6. Excluded from the ban was the more sober Boy Bishop, restored with other Catholic practices in a sweeping proclamation (Tudor Royal Proclamations, II no. 407, I Mary I , 37). In 1554 Bonner commanded Londoners 'to have Saint Nicholas,' and in 1556 'Saint Nicholas went abroad in most parts of London singing after the old fashion.' Nichols, Two Sermons Preached by the Boy Bishop, xxi.
(155) Eamon Duffy, The Stripping ofthe Altars: Traditional Religion in England 1400-1580 (New Haven, 1992), 544.
(156) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.186, 187, 190.
(157) Nelson, Early Cambridge Theatres, 64; Smith, College Plays Performed in the University of Cambridge, 31.
(158) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.200; emphasis added.
(159) All quotes and information in this paragraph are from Boas, University Drama in the Tudor Age, 7-8; emphasis added.
(160) All quotes in this paragraph are from Nichols, Diary of Henry Machyn, 160-62.
(161) Chambers, Medieval Stage, 1.407.
(162) Anglo, Spectacle, Pageantry, and Early Tudor Policy, 339.
(163) Anglo, 'An Early Tudor Programme,' 177.
(164) MacCulloch, The Boy King, 74, 96.
(165) John Stow, Survey of London, (ed) C.L. Kingsford, (Oxford, 1908), 1.255-6.
(166) Nelson, REED: Cambridge, 1.321.
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