The Origins and Development of English Folk Plays

Peter Thomas Millington
Ph.D. Thesis, University of Sheffield, May 2002

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New Classification of Quack Doctor Plays

In the main body of the thesis, the following classes are defined in terms on the basis of characteristic dialogue lines. However, as many of these lines belong to certain dramatis personae, these are given instead in this summary classification. The heirarchy of the classification is indicated using indentation.

          Class Defining Characters
Quack Doctor plays - Doctor
     Plough Plays - Dame Jane
          Multiple Wooing plays - Noble Anthony, Father's Eldest Son, Farming Man, Lawyer, Ancient Man
          Recruiting Sergeant plays - Bold Tom, Recruiting Sergeant, Ribboner, Lady Bright and Gay, Farmer's Man
     Hero-Combat plays
          North British plays
               Sword Dance plays - No individual combatants - Dancers include the Squire's Son
               Galoshins plays - Galation
          Irish plays - Saint Patrick, Oliver Cromwell
          Southern English plays - Father Christmas, Turkish Knight
          Cotswold plays - Jack Finney
               Robin Hood plays - Robin Hood, Arthur Abland
          Northern English plays - Slasher, [Bull Guy]
               West Indian Mummies - Saint George, Saint Andrew, Saint Patrick and Saint David
     Composed & compiled plays
Wexford Mummers - No Doctor - Father Murphy, Wolfe Tone, etc.


This new classification is compatible with the previous three-fold scheme established by E.C.Cawte, A.Helm & N.Peacock in their English Ritual Drama (1967), and recently proposed extensions. The principal differences are:

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