The Wakefield or Towneley Mystery Plays are a series of thirty-two mystery plays based on the Bible most likely performed around Corpus Christi day in (again, most likely) the town of Wakefield,... More > England during the late Middle Ages until 1576. It is one of only four surviving English mystery play cycles.
The unique manuscript, now housed at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, originated in the mid-fifteenth century. The manuscript came into the possession of the Towneley family in 1814, who lent their name it. Although almost the entire manuscript is in a fifteenth-century hand, the cycle was performed as early as the fourteenth century in an earlier form.
The Wakefield Cycle is most renowned for the inclusion of "The Second Shepherds' Play," one of the jewels of medieval theatre.< Less