- In medieval England, a term used interchangeably with mysteryplay. Elsewhere in Europe it meant a play depicting the lifeand martyrdom of a saint and the miracles he or she had performed.The most popular subjects were legends associated with the VirginMary and St Nicholas. Cathedrals and abbeys would often perform sucha play on the feast day of their patron saint. In England plays ofthis kind were known as saints' plays. Most of the Englishsaints' plays were destroyed during the Reformation but many survivedin France.