Great Budworth Millennium Pageant

Pageant type


The pageant was organised by villagers as a millennium celebration.

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Place: St Mary's and All Saints Church (Great Budworth) (Great Budworth, Cheshire, England)

Year: 1999

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 2


31 December 1999–1 January 2000

The pageant was held at 6 pm on New Year's Eve 1999 and again on New Year's Day at the same time. It was scheduled to finish at around 7.45 pm.

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Producer [Pageant Master]: McGuigan, Paddy
  • Assistant producer: Caroline McGuigan


Paddy and Caroline McGuigan were both senior lecturers at the Royal Northern College of Music. They were residents of the village.

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

  • McGuigan, Caroline
  • Radcliffe, Mark


Caroline McGuigan also assisted with direction of the pageant; at the time of the pageant, Mark Radcliffe was a BBC 1 radio DJ.

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


This number is an estimate. The cast was made up of adults and children. Lord and Lady Ashbrook took part with Lady Ashbrook playing the part of Queen Elizabeth.

Financial information

The pageant received a grant of £4000 from the Heritage Lottery Millennium Fund.3

Object of any funds raised

The restoration of the church organ at St Mary's and All Saints Church

Linked occasion

Great Budworth Millennium celebration

Audience information

  • Grandstand: No
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a


There was accommodation for 300 people at each performance; how many actually attended is not known.

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Section 1: Nativity Scene

Section 2: Earliest Settlers in Great Budworth

Section 3: Building of the Parish Church

Sections 4 & 5: Middle Ages

Section 6: 'Cock o' Budworth' (18th century)

Section 7: Victorian Times

Section 8: Tribute to dead of Two World Wars

Section 9: 20th Century Changes

Key historical figures mentioned


Musical production

No details of the music have been recovered; however it is clear that music did feature as part of the pageant.

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Book of words


It was stated in an article in Cheshire Life that a souvenir programme had been produced; however, a copy of this has not been recovered.5

Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature

  • 'Great Budworth Millenium Pageant', Cheshire Life, January 2000, 78-9.

Archival holdings connected to pageant


Sources used in preparation of pageant


The article in Cheshire Life states that the narrative of the pageant was based on material produced by local historians, but no further details are given.


This pageant was a village celebration and demonstrates the continued interest there was in historical pageantry, and how this manifest around the time of the Millennium. It was said that after 'pooling a few ideas' villagers had decided that a pageant would be 'a really memorable way to celebrate the Millennium'.6 The event was a year in the making and received a Heritage Lottery grant of £4000. This sum assisted with the hiring of lights and props and the erection of temporary staging in the 700-year old village church where the pageant took place. However, villagers did the bulk of the work voluntarily. Few details of the pageant have been recovered; however it is described as having nine chronological 'sections' which covered a nativity scene, the early days of settlement at Great Budworth, medieval times, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the two world wars, and finally, the place's contemporary status as 'an affluent commuter village'.7 The performance was described as 'a tasteful mix of good music and songs, humour, a few sketches or mini plays, a poem, and a moving tribute to those who lost their lives in the world wars'.8

In advance of the pageant, the occasion was described as being of benefit to the whole community.9 It is clear that among the local population there was dramatic expertise; both the main scriptwriter and producer were lecturers at a College of Music in Manchester. Assistance with production also came from another local resident, the radio broadcaster, Mark Radcliffe. Sadly, we do not have details of the success or otherwise of the event, but given that this is a small community and the pageant took place during the holiday period, it is likely to have secured a good audience.


  1. ^ All information about this pageant is derived from a magazine article, see 'Great Budworth Millenium Pageant', Cheshire Life, January 2000, 78–9. The issue is dated January 2000 but it is clear that it was released before this, probably in December 1999, as it anticipates the pageant.
  2. ^ 'Great Budworth Millenium Pageant', Cheshire Life, January 2000, 78.
  3. ^ See grant information at the Heritage Lottery site, accessed 6 September 2916:
  4. ^ These nine sections are roughly described in 'Great Budworth Millenium Pageant', Cheshire Life, January 2000, 79.
  5. ^ Cheshire Life, January 2000, 78.
  6. ^ Cheshire Life, January 2000, 79.
  7. ^ Ibid.
  8. ^ Ibid.
  9. ^ Cheshire Life. January 2000, 78.

How to cite this entry

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