Film ID:
NEFA 21269

PAGEANT AT WARKWORTH CASTLE

1930s

Visitor Tabs

Description

This 1930s 3-reel compilation contains random footage of a fox hunt meeting, Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, and a horsewoman practising jumps and amongst cattle, probably filmed in Northumberland, and a record of a pageant held in Warkworth Castle where men, women and children re-enact significant events in Borders history.  This film is part of the Newcastle & District Amateur Cinematographers Association (ACA) collection.

[Reel 1]

The first sequences, believed to take place in Northumberland, are amateur footage of a foxhound meet (possibly filmed by Janet M. Cameron), a horsewoman practising jumps, a horsewoman amongst cattle and Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling contests.

A marching Highland band plays in a field, hills in the background.

A pack of foxhounds races across a field. Two gentlemen are watching through binoculars amongst a crowd.

Horse riders practise jumping course fences.

A small crowd watch men take part in a Cumberland wrestling contest.

A horsewoman rides amongst cattle grazing and poses for the camera.

A small crowd are gathered in a field at the start of a traditional foxhound meet (probably on Boxing Day), the men wearing flat caps or deer stalkers and a hunt master wearing traditional hunting attire. A woman and some children join the gathering. The foxhounds follow two huntsmen (on foot) with the crowd. 

The next sequences (over 3 reels) record a pageant of Borders history staged in the bailey of Warkworth Castle.

An old man with white beard and staff enters the bailey and rests for a moment. He spreads smoke around the bailey with a smouldering torch. Under cover of the smoke, he leads a young woman to a stone where she meets and embraces a young man.

A soldier is guarding the castle tower. A man sneaks around the castle keep. A woman climbs down a rope ladder from the tower. The man and woman embrace and leave together.

Two gentlemen fight over the rescued lady, and one is killed.

A crowd of townsfolk, noblemen and women wave their handkerchiefs in farewell.

A man leads a group of soldiers from the castle bailey.

Soldiers mingle with townsfolk in the bailey. A crowd surrounds a man bearing a heraldic standard, many of the gentlemen and women wearing dark Jacobean hats with feather. Serving wenches hand around drinks.

A monk in a white habit wanders through the castle bailey reading.

A procession of soldiers, nuns and monks walk into the bailey. A monk walks through leading a dog.

A long line of actors in the pageant walk into the castle keep.

Boys and girls in long dresses and bonnets perform a merry dance through the bailey and then dance around a May Pole.

A crowd of townsfolk wave off a group of soldiers. Four knaves leave.

[Reel 2]

Men perform a folk dance. A Jester runs away from a king who arrives. The court bow. A procession of figures in white robes march behind standard bearers. A band of soldiers lead members of the court out of the bailey, followed by priests, townsfolk and children.

A rabble of girls and boys play around a market place cross. A solitary old man dressed in black, bent double and walking with a stick walks toward the cross. The figure will reappear periodically in the pageant.

All the townsfolk gather in the market place. A procession into the bailey is led by a man bearing the heraldic lion standard of the Percy family, followed by bands of soldiers. A group of ladies enter the square and bow. Serving wenches bring the men drink. Two of the men assembled throw a man from the battlements.

The solitary old man in black reappears in the market place.

Next, the bailey is decorated with sheaves of corn, staged for harvest time. Children skip in pairs and dance. Townsfolk congregate to watch. A lady and gentleman arrive. The townsfolk, ladies and gentlemen are assembled. A gentleman in a top hat wanders in, drunk. Ladies and gentlemen, dressed in their finest clothes, begin to dance in an ostentatious show of wealth, watched by farmers in smocks. The ordinary townsfolk then join in and all dance during the celebration.

A group of gentlemen and women leading dogs gather together. A woman in a fancy gown is left alone with a gentleman in a cape. They hug. The wedding of the gentleman and woman takes place, people peering from every window of the castle. Children are lined up along the banks leading to the motte. General view of the crowd at the wedding.

At the end of this scene the spectators appear to take a break, moving around the bailey.

[Reel 3]

A mock jousting contest is staged. A man is in the village stocks. The locals are dancing and drinking lots of mead, when a procession of solemn monks join the crowd of villagers. Jesters perform a dance. Children dance. All the cast assemble in a long line on the banks and steps leading to the motte.

The solitary old man in black reappears.

Another harvest ritual is performed, with villagers dancing beside corn sheaves. A man in a cloak stands beside a sheaf of corn and is approached by a young woman. A procession takes place.

Two men, probably producers of the pageant, stand behind a backdrop, talking over a script.

Back in the bailey, a May Day dance around the maypole takes place. Men in Elizabethan costume dance for a lady and gentleman.

Children play around the market place cross. The old man in black reappears.

Women parade behind a banner.

All the women and children then line the banks and steps leading to the motte, a band of soldiers next to the tower door.