Entertainment in Medieval Towns

Amusements tended to be of a rough nature. On Sunday and feast days the dwellers would attend church. The church services offered some small degree of visual diversion with the pageantry and stained glass windows and occasional liturgical dramas on festival days. After church there would be bowling, wresting, football, and other physical diversions. Folk dancing was also a popular pastime. And when royalty visited a city it was quite an event. Royal entries might feature, among other things, spectacles such as a tableau vivant procession or fireworks. Weddings, another especially festive occasion might feature parades. Guilds also rejoiced with feasting and parades on patron saints' days. Itinerant individuals and troupes might, for example, perform minstrelsy, dancing, or mumming or might bring manageries to town. Sometimes civic, guild, or religious organizations sponsored plays. Margery Kempe and her husband seem to have been in York during one of these festive times.

Learn even more about medieval towns on Stephen Alsford's wonderful Medieval Towns Website


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