The Pageant of Ewelme

Pageant type

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Place: Ewelme Manor (Ewelme) (Ewelme, Oxfordshire, England)

Year: 1951

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 4


27 and 28 July 1951 

[At 3pm and 6pm]

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Producer [Pageant Master]: Cruttwell, Mrs E.M. Prister
  • Maypole and Country Dances Arranged by: Miss D. Rowe

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

  • Cruttwell, Mr. C.R.
  • Cruttwell, Mrs. E.M. Prister

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information

The pageant made £200 profit.

Object of any funds raised

Proceeds towards Ewelme School.The proceeds were used to install water in the school classrooms (‘The Elm Club: Silver Jubilee Scrapbook 1952-1977’, 5, Ewelme, accessed 14 December 2016,


Linked occasion

1951 Festival of Britain

Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

God Save the King

Scene I. Visit of Edward III and Philippa to the Chaucer family at their Manor of Ewelme.

Scene II. Homecoming of Ewelme men after Agincourt, bearing the body of Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, A.D. 1415.

Scene III. The founding of God's House at Ewelme, by William and Alice de la Pole (Alice Chaucer), Duke and Duchess of Suffolk, A.D. 1437.

Scene IV. The widowed Duchess and the Captive Queen. (Alice de la Pole and Margaret of Anjou.)

Scene V. Welcome to Henry VIII and Katharine Howard after their marriage in A.D. 1540.

Scene VI. How the King held a Privy Council at Ewelme.

Scene VII. Princess Elizabeth crowned Queen of the May.

Scene VIII. Queen Elizabeth and her ladies diverted by Morris Dancers.

Scene IX. Queen Elizabeth and Leicester ride to Aldworth.

Scene X. Last farewell of John Hampden (on the eve of Chalgrove Field) and Colonel Francis Martyn of Ewelme, A.D. 1643.

Scene XI. Colonel Francis Martyn, Defender of Ewelme Church, A.D. 1643.

Scene XII. Mime of the Water-Cress Men and Women.

Epilogue. Peal of Church Bells, Final Procession and March Past

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Edward III (1312–1377) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Philippa [Philippa of Hainault] (1310x15?–1369) queen of England, consort of Edward III
  • Chaucer, Geoffrey (c.1340–1400) poet and administrator
  • Pole, Michael de la, second earl of Suffolk (1367/8–1415) magnate
  • Pole, William de la, first duke of Suffolk (1396–1450) administrator and magnate
  • Chaucer [married names Phelip, Montagu, de la Pole], Alice, duchess of Suffolk (c.1404–1475) noblewoman
  • Margaret [Margaret of Anjou] (1430–1482) queen of England, consort of Henry VI
  • Henry VIII (1491–1547) king of England and Ireland
  • Katherine [Catherine; née Katherine Howard] (1518x24–1542) queen of England and Ireland, fifth consort of Henry VIII
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland
  • Dudley, Robert, earl of Leicester (1532/3–1588) courtier and magnate
  • Hampden, John (1595–1643) politician

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words


Other primary published materials

  • Cruttwell, Mrs. E.M. Ewelme: A Romantic Village Its Past and Present. People and Its History. Np. [1951]. [The Pageant script was published as an epilogue to this volume]

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Text of Pageant Programme and comments on, ‘Ewelme: A Romantic Village Its Past and Present. People and Its History’, Fords Farm Bed and Breakfast, accessed 14 December 2016,

Sources used in preparation of pageant



Ewelme is a small village in the Chiltern Hills in South Oxfordshire with a population of a thousand (2011); it has the distinction of having featured on the TV series Midsomer Murders.1 This was the second pageant held in Ewelme; an earlier one had been staged in 1908.2 The 1951 pageant, which featured over a hundred actors aged 8 to 80 and involved nearly a quarter of the village in some way, was one of hundreds, if not thousands, held across Britain during the Festival year (see entries for East Grinstead and Rushden, for example). Ewelme’s pageant was clearly designed to demonstrate the amount of history in the smallest of places, featuring three monarchs, three queens and many more notable figures. The author of the Pageant, Mrs. E.M. Cruttwell, included the text of the pageant in a souvenir history of the village, entitled Ewelme: A Romantic Village Its Past and Present. People and Its History (1951).

The Pageant raised over £200, the money being used to provide plumbing to the local school. One of the highlights of the event was the first peal of the recast church bells.3 A pageant was held in the nearby town of Wallingford in 1955.


1. ^ ‘Ewelme’, Oxfordshire Villages, accessed 14 December 2016, 
2. ^ ‘Ewelme: A Romantic Village. Its Past and Present. People and Its History’ with information, Fords Farm Bed and Breakfast, accessed 14 December 2016,
3. ^ ‘Annual General Meeting, 27 February 2010’, South Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers, accessed 14 December 2016,

How to cite this entry

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