Among the lost plays of medieval Scotland the Aberdeen Candlemas play is one of the most intriguing. Our knowledge of its content derives principally from two lists, dating from 1442 and 1505, dividing the roles between the burgh’s various gilds, although the fact that there was some form of dramatic element rather than merely a procession appears to be confirmed by the discovery in the Dean of Guild’s accounts for 1470-71 of a payment of 16d. to “ye men ye maid scafald to ye candilmes play.” This paper focuses on the presence in the cast of The Three Kings of Cologne and of St .Helen and St. Bride. The first two point towards Aberdeen’s commercial connections with the Rhineland and the possible influence of John of Hildesheim’s Historia Trium Regum, while the inclusion of St. Bride brings a Celtic dimension, relating not only to Brigid’s Irish origins and the popularity of her cult in Scotland, but perhaps also to a tradition associating her (or a namesake) with the foundation of the church at Abernethy, and a further link with St. Duthac of Tain. The play therefore unites two aspects of late medieval Aberdeen, Celtic roots and Continental cultural perspectives.
Lyall, Roderick J.
"The Cultural Context of the Aberdeen Candlemas Play,"
Studies in Scottish Literature:
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/ssl/vol48/iss2/6