Source Five: Plays restricted

Order to restrict performances. Catalogue ref: PC2/18


Whereas heretofore there hathe ben order taken to restraine the playinge of enterludes and playes on the Sabothe Daie, notwithstandinge the which (as wee are enformed), the same ys neglected to the prophanacion of this daie, and all other daies of the weeke in divers places the players doe use to recyte theire plaies to the greate hurte and destruction of the game of beare baytinge and lyke pastymes, which are maynteyned for her Majesty’s pleasure yf occacion require. These shalbe therefore to require you not onlie to take order hereafter that there maie no plaies, interludes or commodyes be used or publicklie made and shewed either on the Sondaie or on the Thursdaies, because on the Thursdayes those other games usuallie have ben allwayes accustomed and practized. Whereof see you faile not hereafter to see this our order dulie observed for the avoydinge of the inconveniences aforesaid.

Simplified Transcript

Where before now there has been an order to suppress the playing of interludes and plays on the Sabbath day, we have been informed that the order has been neglected to the profanation of the day and all other days of the week in diverse places the players do use to recite their plays to the great hurt and destruction of the game of bear baiting and such like pastimes, which are kept up to be at her Majesty’s pleasure if occasion require. This letter shall therefore require you not only to take the order from now on that there may be no plays, interludes or comedies used or made public and shown on Sundays but also on Thursdays, because those other games have always usually been accustomed and practiced on Thursdays. Do not fail to observe this order for all the reasons stated before.


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  1. Before this order, when could plays not be performed and why?
  2. What has happened that has made this order necessary?
  3. What sport does Queen Elizabeth think has been damaged by the increase in plays?
  4. What does the order ban?