Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Newton Key


This thesis discusses the patterns in the celebrations of the autumn ritual calendar of the later-Stuart period. It focuses on the annual celebrations of the Gunpowder Treason and Plot (5th of November) and the Anniversary of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth (17th of November). For comparison, the Lord Mayor's Show (29th of October) is studied. The central theme of this thesis is to distinguish between the customs and traditions of the two dominant cultures of the later-Stuart period: elite and non-elite.

This thesis is broken down into three chapters. The first chapter discusses the November celebrations of the later-Stuart period. It illustrates the similarities between the 5th of November and the 17th of November by examining where the celebrations took place (indoors or outdoors) and who participated in them (elite or commoners). This thesis uses and analyzes "official" and partisan newspapers from the 1660s to 1715. It was through the analysis of these newspapers that the celebrants and ceremony could be discovered. The second chapter examines the participants, content, and form of the October and November celebrations. It discusses who the participants where (elite or commoner, adult or youth), what specifically occurred during these celebrations (bonfires, bells, public dancing, rough music, beer barrels, pageants, balls, banquets, and fireworks), and how the celebrations were constructed (when they began, where they commenced, the route, and where they ended). A central theme to this chapter discusses the three tiered model of the social culture extant within the late-Stuart dynasty. This three tiered model is the elite sphere, the popular sphere, and the interaction between these two cultures. The third chapter examines the continuation of these three annual celebrations into the nineteenth century.