Sandwich Pageant

Pageant type

Jump to Summary


Place: Whitefriars Meadow (Sandwich) (Sandwich, Kent, England)

Year: 1926

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: n/a


8–11 September 1926

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Director, Writer and Producer [Pageant Master]: Garton, Crisford
  • Scenery: Mr C.P.  Neilson

Names of executive committee or equivalent


Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)

  • Garton, Crisford

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

700th Anniversary of the town

Audience information

  • Grandstand: Yes
  • Grandstand capacity: 1000
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest

5s 6d–1s

Associated events

Visits to Historical buildings around the town and thanksgiving service.

Pageant outline


Rebuilding of the Priory by Queen Emma Canutus [Emma Canute]

Scenes from the Life of Thomas a Becket

Election of the First Mayor

The Triennial Assembly of the Cinque Ports

The Founding of St Bartholomew’s Hospital

Queen Elizabeth’s Visit, 1572

Bedat’s Flight to France and his return in archepiscopal pomp

Visit of Catherine of Braganza

Court of the Ancient Brotherhood and Guestling

The Apotheosis of Sandwich Through the Ages

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Emma [Ælfgifu] (d. 1052) queen of England, second consort of Æthelred II, and second consort of King Cnut
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland
  • Catherine [Catherine of Braganza, Catarina Henriqueta de Bragança] (1638–1705) queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland, consort of Charles II

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate and Cheriton Herald
Thanet Advertiser
Dover Express
Dover Express
Dundee Evening Telegraph
Tamworth Herald
Lincolnshire Echo
The Times

Book of words


Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant


Sources used in preparation of pageant



‘It might be said that Sandwich, being so curious a survival, is itself a standing historical pageant. When the harbour had silted up and the town had become, in Wesley’s words, a “poor, dry, dead” place’.’1 So declared the Times in its reporting on the Sandwich Pageant, one of a number held in towns on the south coast during the interwar period (see entries on Bexhill (1927) and Battle(1932)). The Times’s verdict on the pageant itself was that it was a ‘fair success… staged with scrupulous care for historical records’—although the paper did also warn of a danger of ‘dramatic action being sacrificed to historical accuracy.’2 As might be expected, the local Thanet Advertiser was perhaps more enthusiastic:

Each episode as it succeeded its predecessor was like the turning of a leaf in a tome of the picturesque past—full of colour, presented with the correctness of the particular period, and rich in the atmosphere of the times. Piety, war, love, romance, valour by flood and field, and civic rectitude and dignity in the affairs of peace, each and all have found delightful expression.3

Despite a shop being robbed whilst its owners were viewing the pageant—money, stamps and a fountain pen valued at £9 being stolen—there was a sense that the town had excelled itself.4 Pageant Master Crisford Garton was subsequently awarded 100 guineas by the town, suggesting that the event had been a financial success; indeed, there were calls to make it an annual occurrence, with a pageant society being set up.5 The Thanet Advertiser declared that this use of pageantry was itself a distinct feature of the modern age: ‘Sandwich, which in some respects is voted “slow” by many of the moderns, has become a pioneer in the matter of forming a society with the object of keeping alive, year by year, the spirit of historical pageantry.’6 It seems that further pageants were indeed staged: there are film records of a pageant held in Sandwich in 1930.7


1. ^ The Times, 10 September 1926, 7.
2. ^ Ibid.
3. ^ Thanet Advertiser, 11 September 1926, 8.
4. ^ Thanet Advertiser, 18 September 1926, 4.
5. ^ Thanet Advertiser, 23 October 1926, 7; Dover Express, 27 May 1927, 10.
6. ^ Thanet Advertiser, 28 May 1927, 6.
7. ^ ‘Old English Fair, 1930’, British Pathe, accessed  29 March 2017,

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Sandwich Pageant’, The Redress of the Past,