The Ebford Pageant

Pageant type

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Place: White House, Ebford (Exeter) (Exeter, Devon, England)

Year: 1953

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: n/a


June 1953

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Commin, Frances M.

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

  • Commin, Frances M.
  • Milton, Alan

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

Coronation of Elizabeth II

Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events

A village sign was erected, subsequently stolen. There was a sports day and a bonfire with refreshments.

Pageant outline

Episode I. 11th Century, The Domesday Book

[No information on scene actually performed]

Episode II. 14th Century. The Peasants’ Revolt.

The Lady of the manor of Ebford and her daughters are concerned about her husband’s absence in London. They discuss local grievances as women chant ‘When Adam delved, and Eve span / Who was then the gentleman?’ The necessity of commonly-held property is also discussed.

Episode III. 16th Century. Elizabeth I.

A meeting of Elizabeth, Drake, Ralegh and Shakespeare

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland
  • Drake, Sir Francis (1540–1596) pirate, sea captain, and explorer
  • Ralegh, Sir Walter (1554–1618) courtier, explorer, and author

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words

The Ebford Pageant, 1953. Falmouth, 1953.

Other primary published materials


References in secondary literature

  • None known

Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Book of Words in Devon Heritage Centre, Exeter, Reference 6434Z

Sources used in preparation of pageant



The Ebford Pageant was one of many held in association with the coronation of queen Elizabeth II (see, for instance pageants at Sandy and Warwick). In the pageant narrative, some liberties seem to have been taken with the historical record. The book of words was quite open about this, noting that

An attempt in this Pageant has been made to suggest something of the history of the English people and the changing conditions in the development of national life; so, although possibly none of the scenes took place, in fact, in Ebford, they are based on historic fact, and typical of what must have occurred throughout the land.1

One unusual feature of this pageant, perhaps, was the scene featuring the Peasants’ Revolt—not least because in this case it seems that considerable sympathy was shown for those who rebelled. This is particularly surprising in a pageant celebrating the coronation.


1. ^ The Ebford Pageant (Falmouth 1953), unpaginated.

How to cite this entry

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