Some weeks ago an invitation (nay, a command) arrived to attend the Christmas celebration at Temple Newsam House yesterday afternoon. It was issued by Sir Arthur Ingram to all tenants on the Estate.
“It is Christmas 1640 (three hundred and seventy-seven years ago). Sir Arthur Ingram, master of Temple Newsam, has invited you, his tenant farmers, to join his household for some Christmas entertainment at this, his country house. He and his good Lady have as their main guest Lord Ferdinando Fairfax of Denton Hall. As the main entertainment for the afternoon he has sent for the Leeds Waits, the official town musicians, and their arrival is expected imminently. Lady Ingram has instructed the housekeeper to organise refreshment for you during the course of the afternoon.”
Lady Ingram, Sir Arthur, Lord Fairfax and the Housekeeper
Just look at the varied programme of musical and spoken entertainment and the variety of musical instruments the talented Leeds Waits can turn their hands to!
At one point there was a performance of the brief play within a play – Pyramus and Thisbe – from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play was performed by puppets but with audience participation.
Pyramus and Thisbe – Audience Participation Required (Thisbe)
The tenants (we) were treated to mince pie and tea refreshments during the interval. Altogether a fine way to spend a dark, wet afternoon just before Christmas.