Dr Jeremy Goldberg

Jeremy Goldberg is a social and cultural historian of the English later Middle Ages with a diverse range of interests, but focused particularly on family, gender, sexuality, childhood and adolescence, and the relationship between people and the buildings they habit. He has subsidiary interests in the cult of Richard Scrope, the martyred archbishop of York, and in urban drama, particularly the Corpus Christi drama cycles that were characteristic particularly of a number of Northern towns at the end of the Middle Ages.

In the case of York from the early fifteenth century these two phenomena collide and it becomes difficult to disentangle the cult of the body of Christ and the re-enactment of the Passion through the streets of the city from the commemoration of Richard Scrope whose identity in martyrdom was so closely mapped onto that of Christ. Scrope was the virgin bishop, devoted to the Name of Jesus, who was carried to the site of his death on the back of an old nag and who asked for five strokes of the sword at his execution.

So far as the varying pageants in the Corpus Christi Play recreate specific moments in a scriptural narrative that came to run from Creation to Doomsday, but focused especially on the Passion, the streets of York were transformed in the imagination each year to the streets of Jerusalem and the actual players on the pageants entered upon a kind of pilgrimage as they took their pageants on a journey from the gates of Holy Trinity Priory to the city’s grain market located between the churches of St Crux and All Saints’, Pavement.

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