The Tudor Society

Good Friday in Tudor times

Today, it's Good Friday - in the Western Calendar anyway - so I wanted to share with you how this feast day was marked in medieval and Tudor times.

Here's a talk I did a few years ago about the medieval and Tudor traditions associated with Good Friday.

In that video, I mention photos that Tim and I took of a passion play/re-enactment in Cuevas del Campo, near where we live in Spain, and you can see those in my 2017 article on Easter Sunday - click here.

I also mention my village's procession and you can see photos of that at Good Friday in my village.

Here is the link to Stephanie Mann's excellent article Creeping to the Cross Before, During, and After the English Reformation. You can see my notes and sources at the bottom of this page.

Our nearest town also has a special processions on Good Friday and in 2019, Tim and I got up extra early on Good Friday to take part in the dawn Good Friday (Viernes Santo) procession.

This annual procession starts at the church and makes its way up to "Calvario" (Calvary), the hill behind the town. On that hill is a big wooden cross. Townspeople process up to it with a big statue of Jesus carrying his cross and also a replica of Jesus actually on the cross. As they process, they stop at each of the 12 stations of the cross for a reading and prayers. When they reach the cross, the replica of Jesus on the cross is hoisted up onto it. Later in the day, there is another service and procession when Jesus is taken down off the cross.

Here is a video of it:

If you do anything special for Good Friday then I'd love to hear about it - do leave a comment!

Notes and Sources

  • Ten Articles, “Of Rites and Ceremonies, The Church History of Britain: From the Birth of Jesus Christ until the Year MDCXLVIII, Volume 3, Thomas Fuller and Rev J S Brewer, p 157-8.
  • Letter and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII, Volume XIV, Part 1, 967.
  • LP xxi. i. 110.
  • Scarisbrick, J.J. (1976), Henry VIII, Methuen Publishing.
  • ""Would I Could Give You Help and Succour": Elizabeth I and the Politics of Touch", Carole Levin, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Summer 1989.
  • "James I: The Royal Touch", Stephen Brogan, History Today Volume 61 Issue 2 February 2011.
  • Calendar of State Papers, Venice, Volume VI, 473, Marco Antonio Faitta to Ippolito Chizzola Doctor in Divinity.

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Good Friday in Tudor times