This film is part of Free

Warwick Pageant

Crowds of thousands came to see a stadium-sized theatrical spectacle.

Non-Fiction 1906 25 mins Silent


Unfolding across a whole week, and with 2000 performers, this was a gargantuan spectacle. The Warwick Pageant's ten episodes, as compressed here, saw men, women, and children re-enact significant events in the histories of Britain and the local area. Episode IV tells the tale of Guy of Warwick, the hero who slayed the monstrous Dun Cow - whose massive head we see wheeled in, eyes rolling and breathing smoke.

The early 20th century found Britain in the throes of 'pageant fever' thanks to one man: Louis Napoleon Parker. A similar event organised by Parker for Sherborne the previous year had captured public imagination, and after Warwick, other towns wanted in on the action too. Whether it's the Roman battles or the Elizabethan costumes, this drama is immersive, and the castle grounds offer a suitably mythical backdrop. This field bears the name of the Warwick Pageant to this day.