Focus Point 14 on the Heritage Trail
The Mummers’ Carvings have a myriad of different stories told about them, from devil worshippers and witches’ rituals to simple advertisements. What is clear is that they have some root in the area’s pagan origins. It is thought that these carvings have some links to the performance of seasonal mummers’ plays (which originated in ritual, much like that of the Morris) to welcome in the spring; celebrate the harvest; resurrect the sun at midwinter by the death of the winter deity and his eventual rebirth; and chase away winter blues and evil spirits. Each play dealt with different aspects of life including love and courtship, death and birth. By the last performance here in 1935 (by a travelling troupe called the Galloshans) many had been Christianised, however the essence behind them remained the same. It is often difficult to make out the carved figures; one man carries a knife and the other a goblet.
The Mummers’ plays were resurrected and performed again in 2004, by a troupe of actors called Fool’s Gold. The event was a fantastic success.
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