Needham Market Pageant
Place: Crowley Park (Needham Market) (Needham Market, Suffolk, England)
Number of performances: n/a
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Producer [Pageant Master]: Butcher,
- Organisers: I. Theobald and Mrs R.A.
Names of executive committee or equivalent
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Platten, E.W.
Names of composers
Numbers of performers
Object of any funds raised
In aid of Needham Market Congregational Church
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Episode I. Arrival of Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem, c.1150
Episode II. The injustices of King John, 1215.
Episode III. The granting of a market to Needham by Henry III, 1245.
Episode IV. The visit of Queen Elizabeth from Helmingham to Coldham Hall, 1563.
Episode V. The History of Congregationalism in Needham
- a) The arrest of Rev. John Fairfax, 1670
- b) His release
- c) The chapel fallen into disrepair and
used as a playhouse, 1793
Key historical figures mentioned
- Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of
England and Ireland
- Fairfax, John (1623/4–1700) clergyman
and ejected minister
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
- None known
Other primary published materials
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Photographs and newspaper cuttings, Suffolk Record Office, Reference K 635/1,2.
Sources used in preparation of pageant
Although there is very little information on this pageant, an unspecified local newspaper made the following comments on the event:
it was impossible to judge the quality of the dramatic dialogue owing to the fact that much of what was spoken was imperfectly audible. The scene depicting Queen Elizabeth’s visit was particularly handicapped in this way, only an occasional isolated word of the Queen’s utterances reaching the ear. This was a pity, because the episode obviously contained the elements of dramatic effectiveness.1
The pageant appeared to be an event involving the community as a whole, rather than something merely organised by local nonconformists, with only the final episode detailing the struggles of nonconformists in the town. That said, the pageant should probably been seen as part of a rich heritage of nonconformist pageantry in Britain in the first half of the twentieth century, notable landmarks of which included the Pageant of Northampton Nonconformity (1910), the Faith and Freedom Pageant of London (1926), the Ilston Pageant (Wales, 1936), and Light Over England (London, 1938).
Nearby Helmingham Hall held a pageant the following year.
News cutting, nd., in Suffolk Record Office, Reference K 635/1,2.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Needham Market Pageant’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1429/