A Pageant of St. Ethelreda

Pageant type

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Place: Grounds of the Bishop's Palace (Ely) (Ely, Cambridgeshire, England)

Year: 1951

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: 2


4 August 1951

At 3.30pm and 6.30pm.

Name of pageant master and other named staff


  • Produced by [Pageant Master]: Diver, Dorothy E. 
  • Producer: Rose H. Churchyard
  • Costumes Designed by: Margaret Drake
  • Costumes Executed by: Millicent Morriss and Geoffrey Legge
  • Properties: Patricia Meadows, Marguerite Coleridge

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

  • Pritchard, G.
  • Diver, Dorothy E.

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

In conjunction with the Festival of Britain

Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events

Garden Party with Stalls, Teas and Competitions

Pageant outline

Episode I. ‘The Inspiration’ at the Court of Anna, King of East Anglia, Exning, 648 AD

Episode II. The Taking of the Veil, 670 AD

Episode III. Flight from Coldingham to Ely, 672 AD

Episode V. Medieval Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Etheldreda at Ely, AD 1340.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Æthelthryth [St Æthelthryth, Etheldreda, Audrey] (d. 679) queen in Northumbria, consort of King Ecgfrith, and abbess of Ely

Musical production

Music provided by Ron Mays and His Accordion Band

Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words

None known.

Other primary published materials

  • A Pageant of St. Ethelreda: Souvenir Programme. Ely, 1951.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of Programme in Cambridgeshire Local Studies Collection, Cambridge, Reference C.76

Sources used in preparation of pageant



This was one of many historical pageants held in association with the 1951 Festival of Britain. Unlike many other such pageants, that staged at Ely focused solely on the medieval period, and in particular the life and legacy of Æthelthryth, or St Ethelreda, abbess of Ely. The town held a subsequent Pageant in the Cathedral in 2000.


How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘A Pageant of St. Ethelreda’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1418/