Tacit Theatre | The Pilgrims
Original storytelling theatre with live music and immersive design, performing throughout the UK.
Tacit Theatre, Music theatre, ensemble theatre, actor musicians, Off-West End theatre, touring theatre, new adaptations, The Canterbury Tales, A Study in Scarlet, Southwark Playhouse,


The Pilgrims

Category: canterbury-tales


The Miller

The role of a miller has not really changed since the business began; people bring their wheat to the mill and the miller grinds it into flour for a fee. In medieval times millers, while still of the peasant class, tended to be among the wealthiest people in the community. The jealousy this caused gave rise to the miller becoming a traditional villain character in rural folklore.

The Reeve

A reeve was responsible for the smooth running of his lords’ lands. They were elected each year by their fellow serfs to supervise the work and flow of money on the estate, ensuring that the other serfs started work on time and paid their dues to the lord. A reeve in charge of a whole county was known as a Shire-reeve or Sheriff.

The Wife of Bath

In Chaucer’s day an independent woman was something of a rarity. In the eyes of the law at least, women were little more than property; first of their father, then of their husband. An unmarried woman with the money to support herself was unheard of and would certainly have been considered most suspicious. The only way a lady could retain both her independence and good name was to out-live her husband and this our wife has done – five times!

The Friar

A friar is a particular type of monk. While monks cloister themselves in monasteries, removed from the world, friars engage with the community, taking the word of God to the people. In the middle ages friars were mendicants, foregoing all worldly goods and surviving solely on the generosity of others. Many saw them as little more than common beggars, taking from those that had little in exchange for empty promises.

The Summoner

Summoners performed for the church much the same duties a court bailiff does now. They were responsible for serving sinners with a writ of summons to appear before the court of the diocese to be called to account for their actions. They were, unsurprisingly, not popular and were often accused of corruption.

The Pardoner

A Pardoner was a travelling preacher who sold indulgences. In those days people could literally buy their sins away. For a donation to the church, you could purchase infidelity and indiscretion. Pardoners, like Summoners, were hated characters, seen as the grasping fingers of a fat and greedy church.