Needham Market Pageant

Pageant type

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Place: Crowley Park (Needham Market) (Needham Market, Suffolk, England)

Year: 1932

Indoors/outdoors: Unknown

Number of performances: n/a


(Summer?) 1932

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Producer [Pageant Master]: Butcher, Henry
  • Organisers: I. Theobald and Mrs R.A. Quinton

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


Financial information


Object of any funds raised

In aid of Needham Market Congregational Church

Linked occasion


Audience information

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

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

Musical production


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.


1. ^ 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,