Bridgwater Museum
1927 Bridgwater Pageant The Bridgwater Pageant was a celebration of local history that took place in June 1927. The Pageant was a part of the Brighter Bridgwater Project and plans for it began on 1st Oct. 1926, at the first meeting of the Bridgwater Pageant Committee held at Eastgate, the home of T.Bruce Dilks. The Mayor of Bridgwater at the time (W.Deacon Esq.) chaired the committee. His wife, Mrs Deacon, was also a member. The Pageant Master was Maurice Fearing Cely Trevilian. The Committee totalled 35 members at its first meeting and members were immediately divided into 6 sub-committees (Libretto; Finance; Music; Dress; Sites/Grounds and Publicity) as well as an additional group of officers on committees. Interestingly, Pageant Committee meetings continued until 18th June 1930 because the committee made a considerable profit on the Pageant and any net financial gain was to be divided up and spent on town projects, one of which was the Blake Museum, founded in 1926.
A film by British Pathe NB. Wrongly captioned 1926 - the pageant was in 1927
Synopsis of British Pathe Pageant video In the British Pathe video, we can get a fairly good account of 1927 the Bridgwater Pageant Starting at the 7 second mark, we can see the Pageant Master Major Maurice Fearing Cely Trevilian talking with Mayor of Bridgwater, Walter Deacon. At the 17 second mark, we can see the prologue of the pageant with dancers in costume, possibly singing the song of the river spirits. At 31 second, the aforementioned spirits can be seen returning to the bridge. At 44 second, the spirit of the River and the Bridge can be seen, played by Miss Nora Soole of Brighton (an experienced elocutionist), she is accompanied by heralders and trumpeters (who announce the beginning of each episode) who are played by Bugle Major F.H.Willis and Messers. B.Manley, H.Manley, C.Manley, C.Hobbs and W.Morris (buglers of the 5th Battalion of the Somerset light infantry); interestingly, the trumpets used were the Taunton Town Band silver trumpets. At 55 second, the visit of King John (played by Mr Boltz, the district secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union) to Bridgwater in 1204 can be seen, as well as his accompanying jester at 1:06 second. At 1:38, the funeral procession of Sir Hugh Luttrell can be seen. Interestingly, the funeral procession consist of actual members of the local clergy. At the 2:25, St Matthew's Fair of 1588 can be seen, as can Robert Blake (grandfather of the famous General at Sea of the same name) being played by Mayor Walter Deacon. A few second later a town crier can be seen bell in hand, being played by Mr A.Biddiscombe. At 2:43, people can be seen cheering the return of seamen who have returned to Bridgwater 2 months after helping to defeat the Spanish. At 3:01, a man named Frank Welsh can be seen in bear costume. Performing bears would have been commonplace at fairs of the time, albeit caged not set free. At 3:10, Robert Blake (General at Sea) can be seen conversing with the Mayor of Bridgewater (sic) in 1646. At 3:35, the Duke of Monmouth (played by Mr Stanley Palmer) can be seen entering Bridgwater in 1685 along with his rebel accomplices, who wish to overthrow the King. At 3:48, Royal guards led by Lord Churchill can be seen charging at the Duke's forces, the two groups battle and the Duke flees, only to be pursued by Royal troops heading to Bristol At 4:23: Sadly the film ends shortly after this and does not include Episode six or the Epilogue of the Pageant.
Trevilian biography
Photographs of the pageant including performers
Postcards of the pageant
Music by Percy Whitlock
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