Pageant of the Black Prince
Place: Trematon Castle (Saltash) (Saltash, Cornwall, England)
Number of performances: 2
7–8 July 1914
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Writer and Pageant Master [Pageant
Master]: Porter, T.C.
Names of executive committee or equivalent
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Porter, T.C.
- Diggens, Rev. W.A.
Names of composers
- Schubert, Franz
Numbers of performers
Object of any funds raised
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
The Black Prince
Sir Oliver Carminowe comes upon Lady Elizabeth Holland and they talk about the expected arrival of the Black Prince. A watchman announces their arrival. A procession enters singing ‘Relic of Pendragon’. A fortune teller predicts Sir Oliver’s success in wars and marrying a Royal princess. Though Oliver condemns this as witchcraft, he is flattered. The Fortune Teller predicts:
[A] cloud of smoke:
An iron horse, that belches fire and steam,
Across it rushes, dragging in its train,
Some great compartments travelling on wheels.
In these recline at ease two hundred folk,
Who, e’er the hour glass sands have thrice run out,
Will cross the Country to the Western sea.
[Pageant of the Black Prince at Trematon Castle, 7-8 July 1914 (Saltash, 1914), unpaginated.]
The Fortune teller predicts the coming of industrial cities, battleships, submarines, telegraphs, and electricity, and also the arrival of tourists at a pageant in a horseless chariot. She is widely disbelieved by all.
A Minstrel sings a lay telling of the Battle of Crecy. An ecclesiastical procession enters headed by the Bishop of Exeter who blesses the company. Brother Bernard recites lines depicting the Battle of Poitiers.
Edward arrives with various members of the nobility. The Choir sings an ‘Ode to the Black Prince’ and is greeted by Sir Martin Ferrers and the Bishop. The Black Prince declares that he is tired of war, whilst noting the valour of Cornish pikemen. He greets William Leache, who lost an eye in the Battle of Poitiers. He praises the Cornish resolve and martial spirit. The Princess is offered a bunch of Cornish flowers and the procession exits.
Key historical figures mentioned
- Edward [Edward of Woodstock; known as
the Black Prince], prince of Wales and of Aquitaine (1330–1376) heir to the
English throne and military commander
- Joan, suo jure countess of Kent, and
princess of Wales and of Aquitaine [called the Fair Maid of Kent] (c.1328–1385)
- Grandison, John (1292–1369) bishop of
Exeter [also known as Grandisson, John]
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
- Pageant of the Black Prince at Trematon Castle, 7-8 July 1914. Saltash, 1914. [Price 6d]
Other primary published materials
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- The British Library holds one copy of the book of words.
Sources used in preparation of pageant
Trematon Castle was built around 1240, with a gatehouse added by Edward in 1350.1 The pageant reverberates with the anxiety over war, shown through the Fortune Teller’s prediction of battleships and submarines which, in the summer of 1914, were indeed to be found on the Cornish coast, nearby Plymouth being a major naval base. Edward, a soldier, is glad to have left the Hundred Years’ War behind and though there are many attestations of the valour of Cornishmen, and a prescient warning of the dangers of modern industrial warfare by the fortune teller, there seems to be little desire for further conflict. The Pageant Master and author, T.C. Porter, was himself a Brigadier-General in the British Army, having distinguished himself in the Boer War. Porter, who spent the First World War in Cornwall, trained and organized the local regiment.2Around 6190 Cornishmen died in the war, at a time when the population of the county was around 320000.3
There were a number of further pageants at the Castle about the Black Prince, the final one taking place in 1938, the year of Porter’s death. This pageant was revived again on 26 and 27 July 2006.4
‘Trematon Castle Gardens’, Gardens in Cornwall, accessed 29 June 2016, http://www.gardensincornwall.co.uk/trematon-castle-gardens/
West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, 27 May 1915, 5; Exeter and Plymouth Gazette; Western Times, 26 August, 1919, 6 and 7 October 1938, 8.
Figures from Cornwall’s War History, accessed 29 July 2016, http://www.cornwallswarhistory.co.uk/
‘Town Reviving a Royal Pageant’, BBC News, 1 July 2006, accessed 29 July 2016, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cornwall/5132786.stm and http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/content/articles/2008/07/23/history_trematon_feature.shtml
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Pageant of the Black Prince’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1407/