362 years ago this week, Parliament abolished Christmas and Canterbury was in uproar. Weeks of chaos ensued, and the city wall ended up with a great big hole in it…
Now The Bakery presents this little stocking filler for you all – a full cast, festive production for BBC Radio Kent! You can hear our 5-minute production “The Year Christmas Was Banned” Compleat and Unexpurgated on Dominic King’s show around 5.45pm today.
Or, if you missed it, listen below…
It was scripted by Bakers Dadd & Fryer, and features familiar voices Tony Cooper and John Hippisley, bringing to life the real historical figures of the Town Crier & Mayor William Bridge respectively. We would like to extend a special thanks to Prof. Jackie Eales for allowing us the interview which forms the backbone of this feature, and for all the historical information with which she consequently armed us.
News came of a great Insurrection at Canterbury, about keeping of Christmas-Day; The Mayor of the Town endeavouring to allay the Tumult, and exercising his Authority according to the Ordinance of Parliament against such vain and superstitious Observations, was very much abused by the rude Multitude, had his Head broke, and was dragged up and down; the Tumult was so great. The Cry was, “For God, King Charles and Kent!”Proceedings in Parliament, December 1647
Above – the rioters themselves: Alaric King, Jack Jamison, Jan Grimshaw, Me (in a suit) and Kylie Grant. Thanks to them all for their outstanding ability to make disagreeable noise.
Canterbury’s Christmas riots are a fascinating (and peculiarly little-remarked-upon) period of local history. It’s also a delight to once again produce a bit of comedy/drama for the radiogram, so we hope you all enjoy this extra special Christmas treat.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL!