Christmas in 1377

From the British Museum’s Harleian Manuscript 247:

“In the night, 130 men were disguised and well-mounted on horseback to go mumming, riding from Newgate through Cheapside, where many people could see them, with great noise of minstrelsy, trumpets, cornets, and shawms, and a great many wax torches lighted. The first 48 rode like esquires, 2-and-2 together, in coats and cloaks of red. After these esquires came 48 like knights, well-arrayed in the same manner. After the knights came one excellently arrayed and well-mounted, as though he were an emperor; after him some 100 paces came one nobly arrayed as a pope; after him came 24 arrayed like cardinals … When they reached the manor, they alighted and entered the hall.”

Apparently, what followed was a lot of heavy drinking. Apparently, the Christmas revelry for the nobility lasted from the end of November to the beginning of February at this time. For the peasants, I suspect Christmas was considerably shorter.

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