A popular Christmas tradition in the 16th and early 17th centuries was the performance of plays. Records show that Cardinal Wolsey requisitioned a play for the Christmas festivities at Grays Inn in 1526, while the Oxford and Cambridge colleges habitually employed travelling players for their Christmas celebrations.
The beautiful ‘Coventry Carol’ was written for the annual Coventry mystery plays that took place during the Tudor period. Written by Robert Croo for the Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors in 1591, The Coventry Carol tells the story of King Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Today the famous mystery plays continue to be staged in Coventry as well as in other British cities.