The Strangers Pageant 1578
9‑31 Mar 2023
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Curious Spark is delighted to be bringing this fantastic event to the neighbourhood around The Millennium Library, Norwich! With your help, we will transform the streets into a magical outdoor Elizabethan gallery for all to enjoy!
Fancy taking part?
You can walk our Millennium Library trail from 9 – 31 March, illuminated from 6 – 8pm every night (scroll down to see the map). Or, if you live or work nearby, you can create your own window and put yourself onto our online interactive map! Taking part as a Windowmaker is FREE, and everyone’s welcome. You can make a display in the windows of your flat, house, business, school, nursery, car, campervan, shop – or front garden! Norwich Millennium Library will have some limited Elizabethan Window Wanderland Makers Packs!
Please don’t feel intimidated. Your display could be as simple as a candle, a Tudor goblet, a royal crown or a Tudor gown. Or you could go all out and create a line of Elizabethans waiting in line to see Queen Elizabeth I progress through your town! Anything Elizabethan goes… as long as it’s family-friendly!
And don’t forget to walk your local trail, from 9 – 31 March, 6 – 8pm every night!
Elizabethans? What’s it all about?
In 1578 Queen Elizabeth I and more than 200 courtiers made an incredible journey travelling into the unknown lands of Norfolk on her annual progress.
Queen Elizabeth I- The Strangers Pageant
Norwich, August 16, 1578
- The good citizens of Norwich had made great efforts to clean, repair and prettify their city. Triumphant arches were built, and city gates were decorated.
- Crowds lined the flower-garlanded streets to greet a Queen they had only ever seen on the coins in purses.
- A possible reason why Elizabeth I made such an effort to visit Norwich was the textile trade she had helped to recover in 1565 by agreeing that 10 skilled Master workmen families from the Low Countries, now nicknamed The Strangers, could settle in Norwich to increase and diversify the local textile industry. This saw Norwich’s wealth and status blossom.
- The Royal Progress was greeted at Harford Bridge by the Mayor and hundreds of finely dressed gentlemen and huge crowds.
- She entered the city through St Stephen’s Gate to great applause and the music of the City Waits.
- Her first sight inside the city walls was of a decorated stage hosted by the Strangers who demonstrated their textile skills for her. There were Weavers, Spinners, Knitters, Dyers, and men holding samples of fabrics.
- Also on the stage was a finely dressed boy who performed a sweet poem explaining the exhibited skills. It is noted that the Queen was pleased and truly moved.
- The Queen moved on to the next pageant- A gateway has been constructed with three arches and above there was another stage and two little rooms for the musicians. The surfaces were painted to look like jasper and marble and were decorated with the arms of England and the Queen’s own badge of a Falcon bearing the crown and sceptre.
- Music struck up as the Queen appeared and biblical figures welcomed her with verses; Debra, Judith, Esther and Martia and a strange character representing the city of Norwich itself.
- Finally, a choir sang a song which expressed the joy of the Queen’s coming to Norwich. It was said these were the finest singers in the city.
What to do next?
- Contact us to arrange a FREE community group or school-making session
- Click on ‘Take part in this event’ to add your location to our map.
- Click here to get information inspiration and guidance on making your own window
- Speak and share with your friends, neighbours, schools, and local businesses to ask them to get involved!
You can find display ideas on YouTube or find Window Wanderland on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest @windowwander.
If you have any questions or would like to sponsor, promote or volunteer to help with this event, please contact Sarah or Joy through Contact organiser (The Orange button) on the right or email Sarah who will be thrilled to hear from the Thetford Windowmakers.
There will be 6 trails across Norfolk- will, The Stranger’s Pageant 1578, Norwich Trail display the most windows?
The Cathedral Quarter Progress 1578, Norwich
The Hunting Party 1578, Costessey, Norwich
Party Like it’s 1578, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk
The Thetford Progress 1578, Norwich
The Return Journey 1578, Wymondham, Norfolk
Window Wanderlands have been held around the world, and here are some links if you want to know more:
Window Wanderland on The One Show
Windows of Wonder – The Guardian
Window Wanderland spreads friendship – BBC News.
Event Produced by
With Thanks to our Funders