No evidence. Doesn't mean it didn't happen, but no evidence.
I have heard the theory about 'King, Lord' mooted before, but again, no evidence.
Spate a few moments to tell Ancestry that they are spreading misinformation. They have such a huge clientele that truth must be served!
Professor Emeritus of English Medieval Studies,
Department of English and Creative Writing,
LANCASTER LA1 4YD
From: REED-L: Records of Early English Drama Discussion [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Wright, Stephen K [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 30 October 2014 00:28
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Surnames and early English drama?
I found this on a page attributed to the commercial web site ancestry.com:
"In medieval England, before the time of professional theater, craft guilds put on “mystery plays” (“mystery” meaning “miracle”), which told Bible stories and had a call-and-response style of singing. A participant’s surname — such as King, Lord, Virgin, or Death — may have reflected his or her role, which some people played for life and passed down to their eldest son."
I've never heard any of these claims before. Quite apart from the fact that "mystery" does not mean "miracle," is there any evidence at all for (a) call-and-response singing, (b) surnames derived from character names, (c) roles held by an individual for a lifetime, or (d) eldest sons inheriting dramatic roles?
Catholic University of America
Washington, DC 200