What is the Play About?

"The Pearl of York" tells of the trial and death of English Reformation woman, Mrs Margaret Clitherow. An "ordinary" wife of an "ordinary" butcher, she was imprisoned five times for harbouring priests before being tried and put to death. Fiercely protective of her children, she refused to plead guilty or not in court to prevent the children from having to give evidence against their mother. The penalty for not pleading in court was death by crushing.

Sections of the script are an edited transcript of her trial. "I will move their fury by my smiling and cheerful countenance. I am guilty only of wearing my hat in court."



"This is a challenging play. It is hard not to love this warm, witty and courageous woman, despite her exasperating stubbornness."
The Christchurch Press

"Goodman's ability to write accessible plays while presenting profound issues makes him unique. Within the framework of Margaret Clitherow's story he has touched on many of those universal dilemmas that face us. The Pearl of York is more than an astonishing story: it is a theatrical event."
The Christchurch Shakespeare Festival Trust

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