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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume VI. The Drama to 1642, Part Two.

XII. University Plays

§ 3. Kirchmayer’s Pammachius

Religious drama of an entirely different type made its appearance on the Cambridge stage when, during the Lent of 1545, Kirchmayer’s Pammachius was acted at Christ’s college. Though it was condensed for the occasion, no excisions could disguise its savage anti-papal satire. It was inevitable that the orthodox chancellor of the university, Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, should write letters of remonstrance to the vicechancellor, and order him to hold an enquiry concerning the performance. Dissatisfied with the report, Gardiner laid the matter before the privy council, which instructed the vice chancellor to reprove the offenders, but took no further disciplinary measures. The members of Christ’s college probably avoided controversial dramas in future; but entries in the college accounts testify to great dramatic activity in the immediately following years. The leading spirit in these entertainments was William Stevenson, who entered Christ’s in 1546, graduated B.A. in 1550, M.A. in 1553 and B.D. in 1560, and was twice elected a fellow of the college. A play by him is mentioned in the accounts for 1550–1, and, again, in those for 1551–2; and, in the following year, he is reimbursed 18d. for expenses on his “plaies.” There is another entry of a play by him in 1553–4, and a final one in 1559–60, during the second tenure of his fellowship. Hence, it has been plausibly conjectured that Stevenson is the author of Gammer Gurtons Nedle, “played on stage, not longe ago in Christes College in Cambridge. Made by Mr. S. Mr of Art.”