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“I was born a Goose of Southwark by the Grace of Mary Overie,
Whose Bishop gives me licence to sin within The Liberty.
In Bankside stews and taverns you can hear me honk right daintily,
As I unlock the hidden door, unveil the Secret History.”
The Liberty of the Clink dates back to 1107 when the Bishop of Winchester was granted a stretch of the Southwark Bankside, which lay outside the law of the City of London. Here, the Bishop controlled the brothels, or stews. The whores of The Liberty were known as Winchester Geese.
The Vision Books of The Southwark Mysteries were first revealed by The Goose to John Crow, trickster-familiar of the poet and playwright John Constable, on 23rd November 1996. In these apocalyptic verses, John Crow encounters The Goose at Crossbones, the whores’ graveyard unearthed during work on the Jubilee Line Extension. She initiates him into a secret history spanning 2,000 years – a vision of the Spirit in the flesh, the Sacred in the profane, Eternity in time.
This vision informs The Mystery Plays, a contemporary “Southwark Cycle” rooted in the medieval mysteries, retelling sacred stories in the earthy language and context of our own time and place. This epic drama was first performed in Shakespeare’s Globe and Southwark Cathedral on Easter Sunday, 23rd April 2000. A new production was presented in Southwark Cathedral in 2010. The third part of the work is a Glossolalia of local history and esoteric lore to be read in conjunction with the poems and plays."
"Past and present, sacred and profane jostle and collide in a glorious tumult in this anarchic drama... it’s couched in verse that is muscular, ribald, and often dazzlingly rich... It’s sprawling and unashamedly ragged in execution, but it’s irrepressibly vital: a joyous, gutsy celebration of life, love, faith and forgiveness. " - Sam Marlowe, The Times