Melton Mowbray Pageant, 1949

Pageant type

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Place: Egerton Park (Melton Mowbray) (Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, England)

Year: 1949

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 11


6–11 June 1949 at 7.30pm

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Irving, George
  • Announcer: Capt. Radford RAVC
  • Chairman: R. Gates
  • Vice-Chairman: A. Bramley

Names of executive committee or equivalent

Executive Committee

  • Chairman: R. Gates
  • Mr K.S. Almoy
  • Mr H. Anderson
  • Mr F. Bailey
  • Mr H. Barnes
  • Mr J.E. Brownlow
  • Mrs W.B. Chambers
  • Rev C.M.S. Clarke
  • Mr D.H.I. Cronin
  • Mr H.V. Dyson
  • Mr W. Greaves
  • Mr E.D. Hayes
  • Mr G. Irving
  • Mrs G. Irving
  • Mr W.E. Katz
  • Mr L.C. Leader
  • Capt. W. Richey
  • Mr A.I. Salter
  • Capt. C.W. Short
  • Miss B. Smart
  • Miss B. Smith
  • Mr R.W. Snelson
  • Mr E.M. Summers
  • Mrs G.K. Ward
  • Mrs A. Wise

Co-ordinating Committee

  • Chairman: Mr R. Gates

Ground Committee

  • Chairman: Mr A. Salter

Publicity Committee

  • Chairman: Mr K.S. Almey

Central Wardrobe Committee

  • Chairman: Mr A. Wise

Ticket and Programme Committee

  • Chairman: B. Maishment

Exhibitions Committee

  • Chairman: Mr E.D. Hayes

Refreshments Committee

  • Chairman: Mrs G.K. Ward

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

  • Irving, George
  • Cornelius, Miss L.
  • Irving, Mrs M.
  • Smart, Barbara
  • Bradshaw, Norman
  • Brownlow, Jack

Names of composers

  • Barnes, Harold

Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

400th Anniversary of the Town Borough

Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events

Sunday 5 June

  • 10.45am: Civic Service at Parish Church

Monday 6 June

  • 10.30am: Egerton Park Cricket Club v. Hawks Cricket Club (Yorkshire)
  • 2.30pm: Opening of Hunting Pictures (exhibited every day thereafter until end of pageant)
  • Pageant opened by the Duke and Duchess of Rutland
  • Exhibition of Polish Handicrafts at Hall of Girls’ Modern School (daily until Friday)

Tuesday 7 June

  • Exhibition and display by the Residents of Polish Hostels.
  • Pageant opened by the Bishop of Leicester

Wednesday 8 June

  • 6.30pm: Mammoth bowls drive and display by Toy Soldiers’ Dance
  • Pageant opened by Lady Newtown Butler

Friday 10 June

  • Leicestershire Agricultural Show at Stapleford Show (also on 11 June)
  • Pageant Opened by the Baroness Ravensdale
  • 10pm: Pageant Costume Dance in Corn Exchange

Saturday 11 June

  • 2.30-7pm: Egerton Cricket Club v Oakham Cricket Club
  • Pageant Opened by Miss Burns Hartopp

Pageant outline


Episode One. The Danes Come to Melton, 9th Century A.D.

Episode Two. The Lords of Melton, 1160-1194.

Scene I. Roger de Mowbray, 1160 A.D.

Scene II. William de Mowbray, 1194 AD.

Episode Three. The Gilds and the Genesis of the Town Estate, 1549.

Episode Four. The Elizabethan Fair, 1567.

Episode Five. The Civil War. 1645. Cavalier and Roundhead

Episode Six. Scenes from 19th Century Melton.


Key historical figures mentioned

  • Mowbray, Sir Roger (I) de (d. 1188) magnate
  • Mowbray, William de (c.1173–c.1224) baron

Musical production

Choir made up of members of local churches and choral societies of Melton and Hinckley conducted by Harold Barnes with Melton Mowbray Town Band. Bandmaster: Cyril Walker.

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Nottingham Evening Post

Grantham Journal

Book of words

None known

Other primary published materials

  • Melton Mowbray town estate, 1549–1949: programme of events & pageant, Whit week, June 6–11th, 1949. Melton Mowbray, 1949.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Leicestershire Archives. Copy of Programme, Reference M985.

Sources used in preparation of pageant



Melton Mowbray Pageant was held to commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of the town estate. George Irving, the Pageant Master, declared in the souvenir programme:

 The ordinary day to day in any small town may seem insignificant compared with the highlights of a Westminster, York or Nottingham. Yet, in the long run, it is the smaller communities, providing the unique range of colour and incident, which shoot through and illuminate the glorious tapestry of England’s story.1

 Performed eleven times over the course of a week of quite elaborate celebrations (one highlight being a ‘mammoth bowls drive’), the pageant seems to have been a relatively significant event for the town. The focus of its narrative was, unsurprisingly, the establishment of the town estate in 1549, but other events covered included the marauding of the Danes in the ninth century (a perennially popular subject for pageantry) and the Civil War—now far more popular than it had been in the early Parkerian pageants of the Edwardian period. Performed in the midst of postwar austerity, the Melton Mowbray pageant demonstrates the continued popularity of the form in civic celebrations of the late 1940s and 1950s. It was one of a number of historical pageants held in 1949, one major local example being Nottingham, which staged a large one in association with the commemoration of the city’s quincentenary. Melton Mowbray held a further pageant in 1971.


1. ^ George Irving, Melton Mowbray town estate, 1549-1949: programme of events & pageant, Whit week, June 6th - 11th, 1949 (Melton Mowbray, 1949), 28.

How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Melton Mowbray Pageant, 1949’, The Redress of the Past,