Pageant of Cirencester
Additional information drawn from 'Survey of Historical Pageants' undertaken by Mick Wallis; with thanks to Cirencester Bingham Library.
Place: Home Park (Cirencester) (Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England)
Number of performances: 3
11–13 June 1953, at 9pm
[Performances were floodlit]
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Pageant Master: Crockett, John
- Stage Manager: F.J. McLellan
- Stage Manager (Sound): J. Honer
- Chief Electrician: A.J. Counter
- Wardrobe: R. Parr
Names of executive committee or equivalent
- Chairman: Viola Apsley
- Vice-Chairman: A. Saint
- Treasurer: E. Rolfe
- Joint Hon. Secretaries: P.R. Ramsay and
Producers Advisory Sub-Committee
- Chairman: A. Saint
- Chairman: R. Parr
Publicity and Box Office Sub-Committee
- Chairman: P.H. Webb
- Chairman: J. Honer
- Chairman: Mr F. McLellan
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Aspley, Viola
- Crockett, John
Names of composers
Numbers of performers
Object of any funds raised
Coronation of Elizabeth II
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Prologue. Queen Elizabeth I Arrives in Cirencester, 1592.
Episode I. The Spirit of Arthur Speaks
Episode II. The Roman Occupation, AD 45
Episode III. St Augustine and his English Followers, AD 611.
Episode IV. The Danish Invaders. AD 877.
Episode V. The Royal Abbey of St Mary’s, Cirencester in Medieval Times, and the visit of Edward I AD 1235.
Episode VI. Cirencester Grammar School and its Famous Boys.
A Maypole Dance and Mumming Play.
- Parts a) to d) The Capture of Cirencester, AD 1643.
- Parts e) to f) The Return of Charles II, AD 1663.
a) The Visit of Daniel Defoe, AD 1700.
b) The Visit of Queen Anne, AD 1703.
Episode IX. John Wesley passes through Cirencester, AD 1743.
Episode X. A Highwayman on his way to be Hung. AD 1756.
Episode XI. Visit of King George III, AD 1788.
Episode XII. The Napoleonic War, AD 1800.
Episode XIII. The Third Earl of Bathurst meets with William Pitt and Arthur Wellesley, AD 1805.
Episode XIV. A Game of Cricket and a Poacher is Apprehended. AD 1850.
Episode XV. The Royal Agricultural Exhibition Welcomes the Prince of Wales. AD 1894.
God Save the Queen.
Key historical figures mentioned
- Elizabeth I (1533–1603) %%queen of
England and Ireland
- Arthur (supp. fl. in or before 6th
cent.) legendary warrior and supposed king of Britain [also known as
Artorius ?, King]
- Augustine [St Augustine] (d. 604) missionary
and archbishop of Canterbury
- Edward I (1239–1307) king of England
and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
- Charles II (1630–1685) king of
England, Scotland, and Ireland
- Defoe, Daniel (1660?–1731) writer and
- Anne (1665–1714) queen of Great
Britain and Ireland
- Wesley [Westley], John (1703–1791) Church
of England clergyman and a founder of Methodism
- George III (1738–1820) king of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and king of Hanover
- Bathurst, Henry, third Earl Bathurst
- Pitt, William [known as Pitt the
younger] (1759–1806) prime minister
- Wellesley [formerly Wesley], Arthur,
first duke of Wellington (1769–1852) army officer and prime minister
- Edward VI (1537–1553) king of England
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
- None known
Other primary published materials
- Floodlit Pageant of Cirencester: Souvenir Programme. Cirencester, 1953. [Price 1s.]
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- British Library: Copy of the Programme.
Cirencester Bingham Library holds an annotated copy of the pageant script.
Sources used in preparation of pageant
The Pageant of Cirencester was one of a number of Pageants held for the Coronation in 1953 (see St Albans, Sandy, and Warwickshire). A number of postwar pageants utilized floodlighting, allowing performances to begin later in the evenings to attract more spectators returning from work, as well as affording performers the opportunity of not taking substantial holidays to perform in pageants.
Cirencester Bingham Library holds a copy of the script that has been annotated by Marjorie Klitz, who played the part of Narrator in the pageant.
The 1953 Coronation occasioned numerous historical pageants. This example, staged over three days at Cirencester, is notable for the use it made of floodlighting. The aim, evidently, was to create a dramatic spectacle. It seems to have been a fairly elaborate undertaking, with fifteen episodes (one of them of six parts). The link between Elizabeth II and her sixteenth-century namesake are foregrounded, the pageant—which is otherwise arranged chronologically—opening with a scene depicting the visit of good Queen Bess to Cirencester in 1592. There followed a wide-ranging treatment of the history of the town, much being made of its connection with events and figures of national importance—from the invasion of the Danes to the Civil War, Restoration and conflict with Napoleonic France.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Pageant of Cirencester’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1484/