Anonymous: Towneley Cycle of the Mystery Plays

(1294 words)
  • Claire Sponsler (University of Iowa )

The Towneley plays, one of four more or less complete extant Middle English biblical cycles – the others being the York, Chester, and N-Town plays – survive in a single manuscript, now in the Huntington Library in California. The manuscript dates to the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century, although the plays themselves were presumably in performance before that time. The Towneley plays derive their name from the family who acquired the manuscript sometime in the seventeenth century. Since early in the twentieth century, the small town of Wakefield in Yorkshire has been suggested as having been the original home of the cycle in the late medieval period, based on internal references in the plays and on historical records …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Sponsler, Claire. "Towneley Cycle of the Mystery Plays". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 December 2004
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]