Bramshill Park Historical Pageant

Pageant type

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Place: Bramshill Park (Bramshill) (Bramshill, Hampshire, England)

Year: 1927

Indoors/outdoors: Outdoors

Number of performances: n/a


13 and 14 July 1927

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Pageant Master: Mears, Miss Louis
  • Adviser: Mr. Nigel Playfair

Names of executive committee or equivalent

  • President: Mrs. Denzil Cope
  • Vice-Presidents: Evelyn, Duchess of Wellington; Lady Basing; Hon. Mrs. Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe; Lady Cazer; 8 others
  • Patronesses: 37 women.

Executive Committee

  • Chairman: W. Balgarnie EBE, FRCS
  • Mrs. Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe
  • Captain Brooks
  • Mrs. C.T. Craig
  • Mrs. Heyland Fox
  • Mrs. Francis Landon
  • Miss Louis Mears
  • Mr. S.A. Parsons
  • Miss Pilcher
  • Mr. H. Pool
  • Mr. H. Rutter
  • Mrs. Widdowson
  • Mr. H.C. Wolfe
  • Press Steward and Liason Officer: Mr. S.M. Beale
  • Hon. Sec: Mrs Balgarnie; Mr. C.S. Vaughan
  • Hon. Treas: Mr. F.C. Dunnett

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

  • Debenham, Mary

Names of composers


Numbers of performers


Financial information

Object of any funds raised

Clearing the debts of the Hartley Wintney Village Hall and the North Hants Orthopedic Clinic

Linked occasion


Audience information

  • Grandstand: Not Known
  • Grandstand capacity: n/a
  • Total audience: n/a

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline


Call of the Piper; Opening Chorus by Choir; Entrance of Piper and Nymphs

Episode I, The Charter, A.D. 1215

King John at Odiham Castle is summoned by messengers from the Barons assembled at Runnymede, to ride thither with his escort and sign Magna Charta.

Episode II, The Coming of Katherine of Aragon, A.D. 1501

Henry VII and Prince Arthur had ridden from Chertsey to meet the Princess ‘and at the time of ii or iii of the clocke in the afternoon, his grace entered the towne of Dogmersffeld where the Princess was arrived iii or iiii Howers before his coming’.

Episode III, James I and his little son visit Bramshill House, A.D. 1606

Lord Zouch, owner of Bramshill House, and Thorpe the Architect, submit plans of the house fir the inspection of the King, to whom Lord Zouche intends to present it as a residence for his son; the death of the prince at an early age prevented the gift being made. The King and his Courtiers accompany Lord Zouche to the spot chosen for His Majesty to plant the first Scot Fir in Hampshire.

Episode IV, The Last Journey of Sir Walter Rayleigh, A.D. 1618

Sir Lewis Stukely, Vice-Admiral of Devon, was charged with the carrying Sir Walter Rayleigh to London. From Salisbury they went to Andover and so to Hartford Bridge, where he lay the night and thence to Staines on his way to the tower.

Episode V, The Fall of Basing House, A.D. 1644.

The escape of the Marchioness of Winchester from Basing House before its capture by Cromwell after a siege of two years. Procession of Nuns involved in the defeat crosses in the background. Lord Winchester escorted prisoner to London by Roundhead Troops. Hugh Peters, Puritan, rides in hot haste to carry the news of the fall of ‘Loyalty House’ to the parliament in London and claim the reward.

Episode VI, The Fair, A.D. 1743-1746

A fair involving gipsies, dancing bears, crown, fiddlers, etc, through which pass Hawley’s Horse (now the King’s Dragoon Guards) raised and commanded by General Hawley of West Green House, with his friend General Ligonier of Ligonier’s Horse (now the 7th Dragoon Guards), of the Dutch House, West Green, start for London, picking up the rest of their Troops on their way and later joining the Expeditionary force against the Scots which culminated at Culloden. They pass through the Village en route. Followed by ‘After Culloden: A Vision’: a meeting of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora Macdonald.

Episode VII, The Highway Parson, A.D. 1780

Parson Darby, who secretly and unknown to his congregation, augmented his income by highway robbery, stopping a coach on Hartford Bridge Flats. The beauty of the charming Clarissa, one of the occupants of the coach, makes so great an impression on him that he allows the party to proceed unharmed on their way, on condition that the lady treads a measure with him on the heath.

Episode VIII, Hampshire Celebrities, A.D. 1775-1875

This episode will consist of characters from the writings of Jane Austen, Gilbert White, Charles Dickens and Charles Kingsley. Including Sarah Gamp, Betsy Prigg, Queen of the Water-Babies, Codlin and Short.

Episode IX, Meet of the Hounds at Bramshill House under the Mastership of Sir John Cope, A.D. 1820

With Cope and members of the Bramshill Hunt

Key historical figures mentioned

  • John (1167–1216) king of England, and lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and of Aquitaine, and count of Anjou
  • Marshal, William (II), fifth earl of Pembroke (c.1190–1231) magnate
  • Langton, Stephen (c.1150–1228) archbishop of Canterbury
  • Henry VII (1457–1509) king of England and lord of Ireland
  • Arthur, prince of Wales (1486–1502)
  • Katherine [Catalina, Catherine, Katherine of Aragon] (1485–1536) queen of England, first consort of Henry VIII
  • James VI and I (1566–1625) king of Scotland, England, and Ireland
  • Zouche, Edward la, eleventh Baron Zouche (1556–1625) landowner
  • Charles I (1600–1649) king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
  • Ralegh, Sir Walter (1554–1618) courtier, explorer, and author [also known as Raleigh, Sir Walter]
  • Charles Edward [Charles Edward Stuart; styled Charles III; known as the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie] (1720–1788) Jacobite claimant to the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones
  • MacDonald, Flora (1722–1790) Jacobite heroine
  • Austen, Jane (1775–1817) novelist
  • White, Gilbert (1720–1793) naturalist
  • Dickens, Charles John Huffam (1812–1870) novelist
  • Kingsley, Charles (1819–1875) novelist, Church of England clergyman, and controversialist

Musical production

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Book of words


Other primary published materials


Bramshill Park Historical Pageant, 13-14 July 1927. Fleet, 1927. [Price 1s.]

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of programme held in Hampshire Archives, Winchester, Reference 55M90/624.

Sources used in preparation of pageant



This pageant was held in the grounds of Bramshill House in Hampshire, and is an example of the many small pageants held in and around great country estates in the interwar period. Perhaps appropriately, given the impressive Jacobean setting, much of the action of the pageant focused on the early modern period, one particular highlight being the episode featuring the visit of James I to Bramshill in 1606. Benefitting from aristocratic patronage, the event seems to have had a significant philanthropic dimension: the aim was to raise funds to relieve the debts of two local institutions, the Hartley Wintney Village Hall and the North Hampshire Orthopedic Clinic. Whether the event succeeded in doing anything to assist the objects of its organisers’ good intentions can be doubted, however. It seems likely that heavy rain and thunderstorms did much to deter people from attending. Ida Chamberlain (sister of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain) was one of those who was put off, writing to her brother that the pageant ‘must have been a dismal failure’. It ‘really is folly’, she thought, ‘to attempt such things in this wretched climate, but hope always springs eternal in the human breast’.1


  1. ^ Papers of Neville Chamberlain, Letter from Ida Chamberlain to Neville Chamberlain, 17 June and 15 July 1927, NC18/2/549 and 553 accessed 5 May 2016,

How to cite this entry

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