Castleacre Pageant

Pageant type

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Place: Castle Acre Priory (Castle Acre) (Castle Acre, Norfolk, England)

Year: 1927

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 2


20–21 July 1927, afternoon

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master and Writer [Pageant Master]: Scott, Frederick Keeling
  • Master of the Music: Mr Heath, Organist of St. Margaret’s, King’s Lynn
  • Pageant Ground Master: The Rev. A. Bek, Vicar of Castleacre
  • Stage Manager: Mr J.D. Gillett


Patrons included the Earl of Leicester and Bishop of Norwich

Names of executive committee or equivalent

General Committee

  • Chairman: Rev. F. Keeling Scott
  • Treasurer: Rev. W.F. Batty, Rev. B. Mahon, Rev. A. Bek, Rev. Fl.C. Oakley
  • Treasurer: Mr. J.O. Dennis
  • Mr T. Seaman
  • Mr J.F. Aldiss
  • Mr. R. Purdie
  • Lt-Col Villiers-Stuart
  • Mrs Aldiss
  • Miss M. Harbord
  • Mrs Villiers-Stuart
  • Mrs Purdie
  • Mrs Keeling-Scott
  • Mrs H. Bunting
  • Mrs Heyhoe
  • Rev. E.G. Bright-Betton

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

Scott, Frederick Keeling

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion


Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Scene I. The Church of Yesterday

Reville blown by unseen trumpeters and Father Time recites a prologue.

Prior Lambert talks of the site as it used to be. The Priors of the past with monks appear before the audience.

Scene II. The Church of To-Day

Father Egbert and the monks talk of their vocation. The Mother Church greets them all and there is a procession.

Scene III. The Church of To-Morrow

The Ranks of the Church of To-day Open and Monks and Priors emerge. The Mother Church and the Bishop speak of spreading the faith across the world. Africa, India and Burma, China, Egypt, India, and the Jews give thanks for the Mother Church.

Key historical figures mentioned


Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant

Eastern Daily Press

Book of words

None known

Other primary published materials

  • Castleacre Pageant. Np, 1927.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Programme in Norwich Millennium Library, Norfolk Heritage Centre, Reference, CAS 791.62

Sources used in preparation of pageant



Castle Acre Priory was a major religious settlement. Like most priories, it was dissolved during the Reformation. Its estate was given to Edward Coke, whose descendant—the present Earl of Leicester—owned the site and acted as pageant patron. In the prologue, the reverend Frederick Keeling Scott, Vicar of Swaffham, wrote:

We Christians of 1927, who nearly four centuries later see the wonderful remains of this House of God may, if we will, learn much from that Church life of yesterday, for which it stands. Let us at least grasp and use the opportunities of to-day, so that we may face the past without shame, and the future with hope. The Call of the Church of To-morrow sounds from the whole of Earth, it is a call to build for God. The Scythe of Time will cut down all our work which is perishable, but that which we faithfully build for God cannot perish, it stands for Eternity.1

The Pageant was distinctly Anglo-Catholic in its portrayal, suggesting in the final scene that the pre-reformation church would be restored, and that all nations, including Jews, would be converted (which some Christians see as a precondition for the apocalypse). Its focus was squarely on religious themes.


1. ^ Castleacre Pageant (Np, 1927), 8.

How to cite this entry

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