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Hertford Pageant 1914

Sunday 19 October 2014

HertfordPageantCbw191014St Andrew's Church hosted a special concert given by the Mimram Singers, consisting of music written specially for a Grand Historic Pageant, which took place in Hertford during the summer of 1914. The centenary of this event was marked earlier in the year by the publication of a book called Hertford's Great Pageant 1914. It was written in association with Hertford Museum by a local historian.

The afternoon event on 19 October saw the Mimram Singers, conducted by Peter Murphy, give us wonderful renditions of the songs that were performed 100 years ago. Philip Sheail told us the story of how the Pageant came about and explain how the different choral pieces fitted into the performance as a whole. We were given a printout of the songs' lyrics to follow during the performance, which proved very useful and educational.

We really got a feel for what the people of Hertford would have experienced 100 years ago in that summer of 1914, HertfordPageantBbw191014when the horrors of the World War that was about to develop could not possibly have been imagined.

The Grand Historic
Pageant 1914

The Pageant was held to celebrate the founding of the town in the year 914 by the Saxon King Edward the Elder. A number of historic towns in the England were founded in the early 10th Century and, as a consequence, the Edwardian period was marked by a spate of millenary celebrations. In many cases the celebration took the form of a pageant. These pageants varied in scale, but they all consisted of a series of episodes dramatising key moments in the town's history. Very little was required in the way of acting. The whole emphasis of the pageant was on spectacle and that meant that a great many citizens of all classes were able to take part.

In Hertford's case, some 600 of the townsfolk took part in the performance, while many others were engaged in making the costumes and props. It was held in the grounds of Hertford Castle every afternoon during the week beginning 29 June 1914 - just a few weeks before the outbreak of the First World War. The Pageant included the famous Synod of 673AD; the foundation of the town by King Edward the Elder; the siege of Hertford Castle during the reign of King John; the dissolution of Hertford Priory during the reign of Henry VIII; and a regal visit made to the Castle by Queen Elizabeth I in 1561.

Much of the music used in the Pageant was composed especially for the occasion by James Gregory, organist and choirmaster at All Saints' Church, with lyrics by Charles Henry Ashdown.

The last song that the Mimram Singers performed at the Pageant in St Andrew's was entitled Apotheosis of Hertfordshire and Hertford Town:

We'll sing a song of the bright renown
Of Hertfordshire and of Hertford Town
Of dales and of dusky dells,
Of rivers and sparkling rills, -
Of all that can make a County fair,
In historic rich, in landscape rare,
Of meads and of lofty hills.

For many a name in England's page
Is written in red; our thoughts engage
Of Lytton and Homely Lamb,
Of Bacon and Chauncy too,
Of Brakspear and Penn, and "Night Thoughts" Young,
And others who made our English tongue
Delightfully rich to woo.

Of Welwyn, Ashridge, the Northern Heights,
The Chenies, rich in rural delights,
Romantic vale of the Ver,
The Gade and the lovely Lea;
Fair Knebworth Towers, Hatfield bowers, -
For rich and rare the wealth that dowers
The soil of our County free.

Then sing aloud of the bright renown
Of Hertfordshire and of Hertford Town,
Of men so wise and witty,
Women so winsomely fair;
Of beauties of vale and hill and mead,
The County and town we sing, indeed,
Full well with others compare.

For more information about, and photographs of, the 1914 Pageant, please click on this link

Hello and welcome to St Andrew's. If you are new, we have a page for you to get to know us and learn more about planning a visit.
Click here to see more.

Planning your Visit

A Warm Hello 

The following information is specifically for those planning a visit so that you know, beforehand, what to expect on a Sunday morning. During the period of Covid-19, please see the information at the bottom of this page.

Where and When

We meet at the Church Building (details below) for our main Sunday Service starting at 10.30am. For your first visit, we recommend arriving 10-15 minutes early to ensure you find a parking space and can settle in before the service begins. When you arrive, you should be greeted by someone on our Welcome Team who will be wearing a Welcome Badge.

Plan your journey:
Unfortunately, St Andrew's does not have its own carpark. However, there is a council-run pay and display carpark a short distance along St Andrew Street, to the east of the church - there is no charge for parking in this carpark on Sundays, but please check for charges on other days.

This is a useful East Herts Council website page for full details of parking in Hertford.

There are single yellow lines outside the church with parking restrictions, but some 30-minute parking bays are situated on the opposite side of the road for short stays (longer on Sundays).

Open Google Maps

Accessibility: There is wheelchair access, and a sound loop for anyone who needs it. Please let one of the Welcome Team know on your arrival and they will help you to get set up. There is a disabled toilet towards the back of the church, behind the kitchen.

Our Service

The service will usually begin promptly at 10.30am and will last between 60 and 75 minutes. We enjoy the presence of an excellent choir who help us sing hymns (modern and traditional) as well as provide anthems and special songs through the period of communion. We have a traditional organ but also benefit from music played on the piano and by our band (eg on the Second Sunday of each month when we have an All-Age Service in which our children and young people are fully involved).

Each 10.30am service includes a sermon, prayers and eucharist.

After the service, everyone is invited for coffee and conversation - some like to stay for a  quick chat while others remain in the church for a longer time.


Children and Young People

We have a great programme lined up for our children. This is organised by our Family, Children and Youth Worker, Tracy Plumpton, who is always delighted to welcome new faces. Those arriving before their first service at St Andrew’s can ask to see Tracy or one of the other leaders.

We really value worshipping God together as a family, so children stay with their parent or grown-up at the start of the service before being invited to leave for the age appropriate activities after the first hymn. You will need to go with your children to their groups and register them as part of our child safety policy.

The children and young people then return to the main service in time to join the eucharist and, if confirmed, take Holy Communion or, if not, receive a blessing.

There is a Children's Corner in church where you can go at any time. You will find books, toys and drawing materials there.

Toilet and baby-change facilities are located at the back of church, behind the kitchen.

Junior Church celebration

Getting Connected

Home Groups

While Sundays are a great way to meet new people, it is often in smaller gatherings that you can really get to know someone. Being part of one of our small groups allows you to make new friends, share together and support each other. We have a variety of groups that meet throughout the week. Check out Home Groups on our website and see if there’s one that you could join. Alternatively, speak to a member of the Welcome Team who will give you the information that you need.

Serving and Volunteering

If you want to get involved in the life of the church and help us make Sundays run smoothly, you can sign up to serve on a team. Please contact Phil in the Church Office.

What we describe above reflects our normal practice on Sunday mornings. However, since March 2020 we have had to adopt new ways of organising ourselves. For up-to-date information about current services (in church and online via Zoom), please look at details on our Worship and Prayer Page.
Get in touch with us
If you have any questions, please do get in touch. You'll find our contact details here.

We hope that you will feel at home at our church.