Pageant of Lewes Priory

Pageant type

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Place: Southover Church (Lewes) (Lewes, Sussex, England)

Year: 1972

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 4


13–15 and 17–18 July 1972

[Performances were held at 7.30pm]

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Production [Pageant Master]: Drake, Jill
  • Presented by: Lewes Publicity Society
  • Lighting: Frank Rickelter
  • Staging: Lewes Little Theatre
  • Sound Equipment: Lewes Rotary Club
  • Costumes: Arranged by Miss Drake, assistance from Lewes Little Theatre and Lewes Operatic Society
  • Performed by: Pupils of Lewes Priory (Upper) School

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information


Object of any funds raised

Proceeds towards the church funds

Linked occasion


Audience information

  • Grandstand: Not Known
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: 600 - 800


The church held a total of 200 people per performance and there was a good attendance.

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


[Admission was free, but there was a retiring collection.]

Associated events

Lewes Festival

Pageant outline


Opening music and then the narrator, Flint, ‘a lump of stone’, introduces the first scene.

Scene I.

1070. Earl de Warenne founds the priory; he discusses with De Lanzo the strained relations between church and state.

Scene II.

Archbishop of Canterbury John Pecham visits the Priory

Scene III.

A messenger from Simon de Montfort arrives at the Priory where Henry II is staying, criticizing the latter’s advisers. Prince Edward is angered by this and war is certain.

Scene IV.

The Battle of Lewes as seen from the Priory

Scene V.

The dissolution of the Priory under Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Warenne, William (I) de, first earl of Surrey [Earl Warenne] (d. 1088) magnate
  • Pecham [Peckham], John (c.1230–1292) archbishop of Canterbury
  • Henry III (1207–1272) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Edward I (1239–1307) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine

Musical production


Newspaper coverage of pageant


Book of words

None noted

Other primary published materials

  • Pageant of Lewes Priory, at Southover Church 1972. Lewes, 1972.

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Sussex Records Office, Minutes of Lewes Publicity Association, 1972, Reference, DL/D/7/6

Sources used in preparation of pageant



The pageant was part of the 1972 Lewes Festival. It was also referred to as Son Et Lumiere and A Pageant of Light, Sound and Mime, relying heavily on a recorded commentary, musical and lighting effects. It seems that the pupils of Lewes Priory (Upper) School formed the bulk of the cast. The narrative centres wholly on the Priory, from its foundation in 1070 to its dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII. A subsequent pageant was held in 1976.


How to cite this entry

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