‘The Legends of Harston’
Place: Harston Manor House (Harston) (Harston, Cambridgeshire, England)
Number of performances: 2
20 May 1929, at 3pm and 7pm
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Pageant Master and Producer: Greene,
- Producer: Miss H. Green
Names of executive committee or equivalent
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Green, Miss M.
- Green, Miss H.
Names of composers
Numbers of performers
Object of any funds raised
In aid of the Harston church tower & bells fund
- Grandstand: Not Known
- Grandstand capacity: n/a
- Total audience: n/a
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
Fair, music, dances and mixed doubles tennis.
‘Legends of Harston’
The Pageant is founded on the origin of the name of old Hardwulfston. It tells of the first coming of its founder. Hardwulf, having rebelled against the Romans, seeks to offer his services to Queen Boadicea. He loses his way in the forest and faints from exhaustion. He is found by the British maiden Gwenillion and her friends. He is revived by their help and finds that the Queen is about to cross the ford after her victory over the Romans. After the suspicions of the Queen are allayed and he has undergone the searching scrutiny of the Arch-Druid, Hardwulf is allowed to swear fealty. He is given a crown of oak leaves with which he also crowns Gwenillion. Boadicea gives him the forest land as his holding, and with her soldiers, druids and minstrels, departs to mark its boundaries. [Synopsis taken from Harston country fair & fete, with pageant & play. May 20, 1929 (Cambridge, 1929), unpaginated]
Key historical figures mentioned
- Boudicca [Boadicea] (d. AD 60/61) queen
of the Iceni
Music performed by Royston Town Silver Prize Band
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Book of words
- None known
Other primary published materials
- Harston country fair & fete, with pageant & play. May 20, 1929. Cambridge, 1929. [Price 3d.]
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Copy of Programme in Cambridgeshire Local Studies Collection, Cambridge, Reference C.02 PAM.
Sources used in preparation of pageant
Village pageants were popular in the interwar period, especially in the south and east of England. This is an East Anglian example. Its content is interesting, since it was concerned not with telling any comprehensive story of a place—in this case, Harston—across many centuries, but was more narrowly focused on its origins. Founded not so much on history but myth-history—hence its title ‘Legends of Harston’—the pageant pays particular attention to Boadicea, who is presented as instrumental in establishing ‘Old Hardwulfstan’ as a distinct locale. As was the case with many other interwar village pageants, local gentry families seem to have been closely associated with the production. It was staged in the grounds of Harston Manor, and opened by the Hon. Everilda Agar-Robartes of another notable country house, the nearby Wimpole Hall. See also the nearby Haslingfield Pageant (1935).
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘‘The Legends of Harston’’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1485/