A Mummer’s Play for Yule


Woodcuts by David Gentleman from Saint George and the Dragon – a mummer’s play by John Langstaff, published in 1973 in the United States and Canada. It contains the script of a typical mummer’s play which explores the death of Winter through the symbolic figure of Saint George:

First comes Christmas,
Then comes Spring.
Like Winter I must die,
Then to life again in Spring!

Saint George - David Gentleman

The Hobby Horse - David Gentleman

The Hobby Horse (above) ‘a symbolic life-giving figure’. A sprig of holly from the Hobby Horse restores Saint George to life.

Fool - David Gentleman

Room (above), the presenter of the play, decked in paper ribbons with ‘a noisemaker’.

Jonny Jack - David Gentleman

Jonny Jack (above) carries his family on his back – his role is to sweep the area of the performance. I was hoping for a convoluted fairy tale to explain this image, so a little disappointed by the explanation of his character… some investigation probably worthwhile!


2 thoughts on “A Mummer’s Play for Yule

  1. Really interesting to see this. Susan Cooper has written a book about John Langstaff called The Magic Maker (you probably know about it already) which I’d love to get round to reading sometime… I was so interested to learn a while back about her involvement in Langstaff’s Revels.

    Love the David Gentleman woodcuts – so exuberant and full of the spirit of the mummers. Great to be back in Whistlesinthewind World now I’m able to draw breath again and get back to blogging.

    Happy New Year!

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