Canterbury Bid

Medieval Family Festival 2020 (Digital Edition)


Welcome Medieval Merry Makers it’s time to celebrate Canterbury’s wonderful city and its rich history. To start us off in true Pageant tradition, we have a medieval Fanfare (using special medieval magic to bring our finest brass players together – Zoom!)


A Canterbury Fanfare 2020 from Big Bash Music and Arts on Vimeo.

While we are unable to be together this year, we thought a walk down memory lane was in order – here are films of the 2018 and 2019 Medieval Pageants – enjoy!

Medieval Pageant 2019 (trailer)

Medieval Pageant 2018 (performance)

Pageant 2018 from Big Bash Music and Arts on Vimeo.


A Becket Carol – words 15th century, music by Stephen Barker, Organist and Choir Master as St Stephen’s Church Canterbury. He has composed this carol for our Pageant, marking the 850th year since Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, and 800 years since his body was transferred to a shrine in the Quire of the Cathedral.


Ever wondered buy the Canterbury Coat of Arms has Choughs on it? Choughs used to live in Kent, but are now only found in the extreme western parts of Britain (for example, in Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man). Canterbury’s coat of arms includes three choughs and a lion. It appears in documents dating back to 1380. In heraldry choughs are known as ‘Beckits’ because they are beak-ed!

At the pageant, we would have asked you all to wave a colourful flag. While we can’t all be together, you can still create one of the fantastic flags at home – Cressida and the team at Eastbridge Hospital of St Thomas the Martyr, Canterbury have prepared these excellent instructions.


So choughed… Create a Canterbury Chough flag

Follow the instructions below to create a fun flag featuring the chough, a relative of the crow, raven and jackdaw, which has a red beak and red legs. The chough is a symbol of Canterbury and also of St Thomas Becket. It appeared on the city’s medieval coat of arms… as it still does today.

  • Take a piece of A4 white card or paper, and place it landscape-format.
  • Sketch a rough outline of a chough in pencil on the paper – just the body, without legs.
  • Colour in the outline – not the beak – with black pencil, felt-tip or charcoal – whatever you have!
  • Cut some small pieces of black paper and stick them, overlapping, on the tail and wings, to resemble feathers.
  • Use a red marker or piece of paper to create a beak.
  • Stick on a sequin or button to create an eye.
  • Make red legs and feet using red pipe cleaners, wool or strips of red paper, or use a felt-tip.
  • Make 4 or 5 holes with a hole punch on the left edge of the sheet and insert a chopstick or similar through the holes.
  • Wave your flag to celebrate Canterbury’s medieval past!

It’s time for some Medieval music making with Rough Musicke with a special Medieval Pageant performance of Quen Omagen. Can you create your own medieval dance while you listen to this music?

Rough Musicke Quen Omagen from Big Bash Music and Arts on Vimeo.


Its lunchtime and we thought you might be interested to see how they would have baked bread in Medieval Canterbury.


…and now you know how the baked the bread, here is a recipe for Barley Bread if you want to try to recreate a real Medieval loaf!

Ever wondered what life would have been like in the middle ages? Look back into the year 1379 with snippets from a day of a master pin maker. See how a coral-headed pin was made, what shoes he wore and the everyday objects he used. Using photos of reproduction artefacts and archaeological finds, follow his story and make up your own medieval tales using the images as writing prompts posted on Twitter account @cccu_humanities

Now its time for the first of our city-wide virtual tours. We will start with St Martin’s Church, a church that has been in continuous use as a place of worship since the 6th century! Click image below to link to the tour:

Discover the story behind this amazing Chrismatory at St Martin’s Church, explained by Reverend Mark Griffin. Click image below to link to the film:


A pilgrimage is a special journey that has a clear purpose, like a quest! Take a look at this fantastic guide to Creating your own Pilgrimage designed by The Beaney – you will need to prepare for your journey before our next virtual stop at the Eastbridge Hospital!

Eastbridge Hospital of St Thomas the Martyr, Canterbury has been welcoming visitors since 1190, shortly after pilgrims first came to Canterbury. Take a tour of the building, imagine having just walked all the way from London and what a welcome rest stop this would have been!

Now its time to visit Canterbury Cathedral – the destination of your Pilgrimage. Archbishop Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Four knights sliced off the top of his skull, spilling his brains and blood on the floor in the area now known as the Martyrdom. Click here and see if you can find the spot where Thomas met his gruesome death:

This amazing animation will help you imagine what it was like to be a pilgrim in Canterbury Cathedral back in Medieval Canterbury:


Back in July we asked our local Medieval Merry-Makers to create Gingerbread Medieval Animal Tiles. The designs were sent to Dr Diane Heath at Christ Church University, who then created a fantastic ‘Virtual Becket Pavement’ that celebrates Medieval Animals. Read all about it HERE.

Thank you to Canterbury Christ Church University’s Centre for Kent History and Heritage for creating this brilliant project for the Medieval Pageant.

Did you know that Canterbury has been home to more than one Medieval Saint? Dr Ralph Norman is here to tell us how the ontological argument created by Saint Anselm (Archbishop of Canterbury and Theologian) is still used in the study of Philosophy today!

Now it is time for a bit of medieval exercise. Here are A Companye of Strangers showing you how to recreate a beautiful medieval dance – why not give it a go?

Now it is time to pay a virtual tour to St Augustine’s Abbey – one of the most important monasteries in medieval England!
Today (4 July) the Abbey has reopen to the public, so you might want to book yourself a visit in person over the summer holidays!


Now that you have had a virtual pilgrimage around Canterbury and visited some splendidly important locations, we would like you to create a Medieval Postcard! Dr Sonia Overall CCCU Creative and Professional Writing has created 3 potential scenarios for your postcard.

So, from all of us over at Medieval Pageant HQ, we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who got involved with our virtual event and to all of the team that have created films and craft activities today. We will be back on Saturday 3 July 2021 in Canterbury city centre for our special Thomas Becket anniversary celebration. In preparation, Pepper wanted to show you his fantastic costumes for next year…