A Pageant of Bristol Cathedral

Pageant type


Organised by the Guild of Cathedral Players and the Choir of Bristol Cathedral

Jump to Summary


Place: Nave of Bristol Cathedral (Bristol) (Bristol, Gloucestershire, England)

Year: 1965

Indoors/outdoors: Indoors

Number of performances: 3


7, 8 and 9 July 1965 at 7.30pm

Name of pageant master and other named staff

  • Assistant Producer and Pageant Master: Peters, Robert
  • Producer: Freda Hullcoop
  • Stage Managers: Ernest Hullcoop and Albert Jukes
  • Property Manager: Gus Williams
  • Lighting: Rowland White and Stephen Pritchard
  • Music Director: Clifford Harker
  • Assistant Organist: Michael Dyer
  • Narrators: The Very Rev. the Dean of Bristol and the Rev. Canon J.R. Peacey

Names of executive committee or equivalent


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

  • Hullcoop, Freda
  • Sabin, Arthur
  • Martin, Edward

Names of composers

  • Mundy, William
  • Redford, John
  • Bevin, Elway
  • Child, William
  • Handel, George Frideric
  • Wesley, Samuel Sebastian
  • Harker, Clifford

Numbers of performers


Financial information

Object of any funds raised


Linked occasion

800th anniversary of the cathedral

Audience information

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

Prices of admission and seats: highest–lowest


Associated events


Pageant outline

Scene I. Bristol Castle, 1140

Robert FitzHarding acquires the site of the Abbey.

Scene 2. The Abbey of St. Augustine, Bristol, 1148

The Introduction of the first Canons. Abbot Richard presents the authority of the Abbot of St. Victor of Paris. Robert FitzHarding received into the order.

Scene 3. The Abbey of St. Augustine, 1216

The Great Council of the Realm re-issues the great charter.

Scene 4. The Choir of the Abbey, 1350

Thomas de Berkeley discusses the glass for his great Crecy window in the Eastern Lady Chapel, with Abbot Ralph, and attends Vespers in the Abbey Church.

Scene 5. The Abbey Church, 1496

A visitation to the Abbey of Archbishop Morton’s Commissary, Dr Church, checking the wealth of the Abbey and the Order.

Scene 6. The Abbey Church, 1539

The Abbey surrenders to the King’s Commissioners.

Scene 7. The Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, 1544.

The Statutes are handed to the Dean and Chapter and the School is founded.

Scene 8. The Cathedral Church

Queen Elizabeth attends a Service in the Cathedral, and hears a hymn sung by a ‘fine boy’.

Scene 9. The Same, 1589

The enthronement of Bishop Fletcher and the presentation of Hakluyt’s ‘Principles of Navigation’.

Scene 10. The Unquiet Years, 1617-1681

1617. Nicholas Felton, Bishop of Bristol translates the Authorised version of the Bible.

1649. The Dean and Chapter are abolished by the Commonwealth.

1681. [should be 1661?] The Dean and Chapter are re-established at the Restoration of the Monarchy.

Scene 11. The Cathedral Nave 1703

The Great Storm. The Scholars of Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital take shelter in the cathedderal.

Scene 12. A Quiet Spot in the Nave, 1774

John Wesley, passing through Bristol listens to the singing of the Cathedral Choir.

Scene 13. The Nave of the Cathedral, Evening, 1831

The Cathedral saved by the Sub-sacrist during the Bristol riots.

Scene 14. The Dedication of the New Nave, 1877

Scene 15. The Cathedral Today, 1965

The Procession of the Dean and Chapter to the High Altar, accompanied by representatives of the many corporate bodies and Schools of the City and of the Diocese, who recognise the Cathedral Church as the Mother Church of Bristol.

Key historical figures mentioned

  • Robert fitz Harding (d. 1171) burgess and merchant
  • Henry III (1207–1272) king of England and lord of Ireland, and duke of Aquitaine
  • Marshal, William (I) [called the Marshal], fourth earl of Pembroke (c.1146–1219) soldier and administrator
  • Henry VIII (1491–1547) king of England and Ireland
  • Elizabeth I (1533–1603) queen of England and Ireland
  • Hakluyt, Richard (1552?–1616) geographer
  • Fletcher, Richard (1544/5–1596) bishop of London
  • Charles II (1630–1685) king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
  • Felton, Nicholas (1556–1626) bishop of Ely
  • Wesley [Westley], John (1703–1791) Church of England clergyman and a founder of Methodism

Musical production

Organ and choir of Bristol Cathedral. Music included:
  • Scene 2. Hymn for the Dedication of a Church, Urbs beata Jerusalem (7 Century)
  • Scene 4. Psalm 130. De Profundis
  • Scene 5. Introit from the Mass of St. Stephen (copy of c.14th MS in Bristol Cathedral Library)
  • Scene 6. O Lord the maker of all things, Music William Mundy
  • Scene 7. Rejoice in the Lord Always, Music John Redford
  • Scene 8. Organ Voluntary, Glorificamus, John Redford and Hymn, Psalm 100
  • Scene 9. The Magnificat, Elway Bevin
  • Scene 10. Nunc Dimitis, William Child
  • Scene 11. Metrical Version of Psalm 23
  • Scene 12. And the Glory of the Lord, from Handel’s Messiah
  • Scene 14. ‘And sorrow and sighing shall flee away’, S.S. Wesley
  • Scene 15. Te Deum, Clifford Harker

Newspaper coverage of pageant

Book of words


Other primary published materials


The Cathedral Church of The Holy and Undivided Trinity, Bristol in Celebration of the 800 Years of its History Present A Pageant of Bristol. Bristol, 1965. [Price 3s.6d.]

References in secondary literature


Archival holdings connected to pageant

  • Copy of programme in Bristol City Archives, reference P.SMbed/PM/4/29.

Sources used in preparation of pageant



A pageant was held to mark the 800th anniversary of Bristol Cathedral. Three performances were given in the nave of the cathedral. The focus of the pageant on the history of the cathedral, from its twelfth-century origins to 1965.


How to cite this entry

Angela Bartie, Linda Fleming, Mark Freeman, Tom Hulme, Alex Hutton, Paul Readman, ‘A Pageant of Bristol Cathedral’, The Redress of the Past, http://www.historicalpageants.ac.uk/pageants/1004/