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Thread: Who or what is the "Jack Vinney/Finney" character

  1. #1

    Who or what is the \"Jack Vinney/Finney\" character

    I am a member of an Australian Morris side, who are performing a Mummer's play. The play we have chosen has a character called Jack Vinney. What is the history behind this character in relation to the Mummer's play?

  2. #2
    Meg, My understanding is that the character Jack Vinney is based on Saint John Vianney (1786 - 1859) who was a parish priest in eastern France, and who was eventually canonised in 1925. There are catholic churches around the world dedicated to him, including one in Wantage where Icknield Way Morris Men are based. Compared to many of the other characters in most mummers plays he is a fairly recent addition, but I have no idea how he came to be included. Hope this helps with the research . . . there are others in IWMM who know far more about this stuff than me, so you could always try a follow up question should you need to. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Hi Meg, Suggest you also try Sem Seaborne for more information

    Cheers Steve

  4. #4

    Jack Vinney


    I may be wrong - but I have always assumed that Jack Vinney (Viney?) is in fact the Green Man - So the meaning of the Mummers Plays can be summarised as.......Whereas a Mortal ( Doctor ) is unable to resurrect the slain hero (the Old Year?), only Jack Vinney is able to bring him back to life (The New Year?) - all of the rest of the play is just window dressing!

    Tim Brooks

  5. #5
    administrator Guest
    Hi Tim

    You are right as mummers plays are considered to be ritual plays associated with pagan rites. I believe though that mummers plays were once an evolving tradition with the names of the players
    reflecting the major characters of the period. These characters, however, now seem to have been ‘frozen in time’. I'd be very interested in anything else you have to offer.


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