Lincoln Cathedral Pageant
Place: Old Palace Grounds (Lincoln) (Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England)
Number of performances: 6
8, 9, 11 June 1926 at 3pm and 7pm
Name of pageant master and other named staff
- Producer and Author [Pageant Master]:
Dr T.C. Ery was Dean of Lincoln Cathedral
Names of executive committee or equivalent
Names of script-writer(s) and other credited author(s)
- Ery, T.C.
- Townsend, Emily
Names of composers
Numbers of performers300
Receipts at the gate £330
Net Proceeds £550
Plus £250 donated by an American
[Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian, 26 June 1926, 12.]
Object of any funds raised
For the Cathedral Repair Fund
- Grandstand: Yes
- Grandstand capacity: n/a
- Total audience: n/a
Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest
[Afternoon 5s; evening 2s]
Worship before the Roman Altar, 628 AD
Paulinus, the bishop of York, comes in with Queen Ethelburga to bring faith to the Roman city and convinces the crowd to banish the heathens.
Bishop Remigius directing the building of the Norman Nave
People appeal for dwellings to be built and Remigius assists.
St Hugh on his Election to the See
Hugh avoids preparations for his reception in his Carthusian’s Monk’s habit. The fierce Swan of Stow becomes tame and feeds from his hand which is seen to be a Miracle.
King John at the Lincoln Council
A fanfare ushers in the procession. John is in a gracious mood and grants the petitions of the citizens, returning the castle to Lady Nichola de Camville and William Longsword
A poor swineherd gives his life savings to Bishop Grosseteste
On receiving a horn full of pence, the Bishop declares that the Swineherd shall never be forgotten.
Edward I and Eleanor attend the opening of Lincoln Cathedral
Procession of Characters
Key historical figures mentioned
- Paulinus [St Paulinus] (d. 644) bishop
of York and of Rochester
- Remigius (d. 1092) bishop of Lincoln
- Hugh of Lincoln [St Hugh of Lincoln,
Hugh of Avalon] (1140?–1200) bishop of Lincoln
- John (1167–1216) king of England, and
lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou
- Longespée [Lungespée], William (I),
third earl of Salisbury (b. in or before 1167, d. 1226) magnate [also known
as Longsword, William]
- Grosseteste, Robert (c.1170–1253) scientist,
theologian, and bishop of Lincoln
- Edward I (1239–1307) king of England
and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
- Eleanor [Eleanor of Castile] (1241–1290)
queen of England, consort of Edward I
Orchestra conducted by Canon Scott
Newspaper coverage of pageant
Nottingham Evening Post
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette
Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian
Book of words
Other primary published materials
- Lincoln Cathedral Pageant. [Lincoln, 1926].
References in secondary literature
Archival holdings connected to pageant
- Copy of Programme in Lincolnshire Archives
Sources used in preparation of pageant
The Lincoln Cathedral Pageant was held to raise funds to repair the cathedral; it was a relatively small-scale affair. Indeed, Lincoln was one of the few cathedral cities to have no major pageant, with many larger pageants having been held in villages nearby: see e.g. SudbrookeHolme (1909) and Woodhall Spa (1911). The pageant was one of a number held in England during the summer of 1926—the year of the General Strike. The Lincolnshire Echo complained that local train companies had pulled out of a deal to provide specially-priced rail fairs to the pageant on account of the lingering effects of the strike.1
Nonetheless, the performances ran smoothly, despite one local man complaining of the uncomfortable grandstand and having to crane his body to see the action.2 Press comment was favourable, with the Nottingham Journal combining its praise with commentary contrasting the strangely turbulent times with the fixity represented by the cathedral:
Sunshine poured down on the greensward of Lincoln’s Old Palace grounds upon a riot of colour. There were the gay hues of summer dresses and bright parasols; there were the brilliant shades of medieval costumes, and the quieter tones of more recent times; while overhead was a clear blue sky, and around us were the age-old stone-grey walls.3
Such sentiments were echoed by the Grantham Journal, which noted that ‘The whole presented in most realistic manner the fact that at the time the Catherdral was built the Church was the Church of all the people of England, and what it meant to them.’4
The pageant was a success, raising over £1100 for the Cathedral Repair Fund.5 This sum was added to the £7000 donated by a Mr Bemis of Boston, Massachusetts, who attended the pageant as guest of honour (and seems to have donated a further £250 at the pageant itself).6
Lincolnshire Echo, 3 June 1926, 4.
Lincolnshire Echo, 14 June 1926, 2.
Nottingham Journal, 9 June 1926, 4.
Grantham Journal, 12 June 1926, 4.
Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian, 26 June 1926, 12.
Grantham Journal, 12 June 1926, 4.
How to cite this entry
Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘Lincoln Cathedral Pageant’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1520/