The Chester Pageant – July 18th to 23rd 1910
King James I. visits Chester AD 1617. The Midsummer Revels.
The representation of the state visit to Chester of King James I., on August 23rd, 1617, affords a suitable opportunity for the introduction of the Midsummer Revels, which will be a unique feature of the Pageant. Nothing more quaint can be imagined than these old-time festivities, for which the ancient City Guilds chiefly were responsible. For instance among the Harleian MSS. is an agreement between Sir Lawrence Smith, Mayor of Chester in 1540, and two artists, ” for the annual painting of the city’s four giants, one unicorn, one dromedarye, one luce, one camel, one asse, one dragon, six hobby-horses, and sixteen naked boys.” The Revels date at least from 1498, but now have been long buried in oblivion.
Bonewaldesthorne’s and Water Towers.
King James, who was attended by noblemen, bishops, courtiers and the gentry of the County, was received by the Mayor, the Sheriffs, the Sheriff’s Peers, the Common Council, the Train Bands and the Citizens. The Mayor presented his Majesty with a cup containing a hundred jacobins of gold. The King offered his Worship a knighthood, but the honour was declined
His Majesty and retinue attended service in the Cathedral, and in the west aisle heard a Latin speech by a King’s School boy. After a sumptuous civic banquet in the Pentice, the King went on to Vale Royal.