ELIZABETHAN REVELS IN A PICTURESQUE SETTING.
INTERVIEW WITH LADY LEGGE.
Village pageants, properly organised and carried through with anything like éclat, are the exception in Yorkshire. To the towns man this may be a matter for surprise, but the explanation in the majority of cases is to be found in a lack of initiative and interest on the part of indifferent villagers.
The announcement that it is contemplated to hold a pageant in the delightful and umbrageous grounds surrounding Woodsome Hall (near Huddersfield), one of Lord Dartmouth’s seats, is particularly interesting. Lady Georgina Legge, we believe, has been the inspirer of the movement, and has, up to the present engineered the preliminaries. Being desirous of assisting some charities the had in mind, it occurred to her that as Woodsome Hall dated back to the later part of the fifteenth century or early sixteenth, some Elizabethan and Shakespearean revels might be held.
All the details of the pageant have not yet been fully decided upon, but Lady Legge gave a "Mercury" representative on Saturday evening some idea of the foundation of the pageant.
"For years," said her Ladyship, "the Woodsome Choral Society — composed of the villagers and tenantry — has been hard at work rehearsing the old madrigals, and we propose giving some of these in the course of the day."
"Then there will be rustic dances by the girls, which I think will be very pretty, and if we can arrange tilts we shall have them — on hobby horses. Everything will be as Elizabethan as we can possibly make it, and I am getting all the advice I can regarding points of detail. I am trying to find a 'pipe and tabor' to head a procession which will march from the village."
"Will there be any pastoral plays or anything of that sort?" inquired the interviewer.
"I do not know yet," was the answer. "We shall have sports on the lawn. Everybody concerned will be in costume. I do not know of any similar event having taken place in the West Riding. There is the historical pageant at Ripon, but that is a municipal affair."
Lady Legge has been busy at work superintending the rehearsals of the village choralists, and hinted that, their singing unaccompanied would be a surprise. Local vocalists will assist with the solo, and the pageant is fixed for a day at the end of June.
Woodsome Hall is an admirable specimen of a good Yorkshire house of the sixteenth century. The house, refronted in 1600, and again somewhat altered in 1644, low, gabled, and with long stone windows, stands on a paved terrace with a balustrade in front. From the terrace there is a beautiful view down the valley, now radiant with its gay spring dress.
Along one side of the hall runs a noble gallery. Portraits of an earlier John Kaye and his wife, the builders of the house, hang on cranes on the hall. Edifying verses are inscribed on the pictures, including the "Vita uxoris honesta" : —
The house is built round a square courtyard, into which the main entrance formerly led. There are many gables, and an external staircase of stone affords access to the upper chambers.
The development of the scheme will be watched with interest.
The following corrections were printed in the Leeds Mercury on 24 May 1906:
THE WOODSOME PAGEANT
In reference to our article on the Elizabethan pageant and revels which are being prepared at Woodsome, near Huddersfield, Lady Frances Legge writes to point out that the procession will not be from the village, as we stated, but from the terrace in front of the hall, to the lawn, where the dances and revels will be held.
The Woodsome Choral Society, she adds, consists of friends and neighbours around Woodsome, and not of villagers and tennats, as she was reported to have said.
The date of the village pageant is fixed for Wednesday, June 27th.
It should be added that Lady Frances Legge, and not Lady Georgiana, is the organiser of the pageant.