Memories of Flamstead Festivals
Many of you will be familiar with Flamstead events put on to commemorate important occasions, to raise funds for good causes, and often to do both. One such cause is to repair our wonderful mediaeval church and latterly even to save it from closure. Recent events to achieve this have included the balloon release and Flower Festival in 2017, the Book Festivals from 2014 to 2019, the Village Suppers, and, since 2001, the annual Scarecrow Festival, not to mention traditional village concerts and fetes.
The Scarecrow Festival brings many thousands of visitors to the village each year. But how many of us remember the Flamstead Festivals of the past? Here are some post war ones discovered when trawling through the archives (and with thanks to Eric Edwards and his book “A New History of Flamstead”). You can see that putting on a fantastic show way beyond our size (and probably means) is a long-standing Flamstead tradition.
1953: The Coronation – Pageant and other events throughout the day
On Coronation Day, there was a pageant on the Recreation Ground, recreating Flamstead history in ten scenes spanning 1,900 years. These included Queen Boadicea in a chariot in AD61, the consecration of St Leonard’s in 1223, and the great prize fight at Beechwood Park in 1808. Then there was a sports competition, prize-giving, open air dance and a torchlit procession.
1954: Parish Records – Exhibition
According to the Herts Advertiser, this was a “remarkable exhibition of village records and treasures”studied by “distinguished visitors” “in a rather remote village”. Treasures included the Cartulary of St Giles Priory and the 1892 school logbook, but it seems the most popular exhibit for villagers was the “logbook kept by the present parish priest”.
1966 Flamstead Festival – 7 months of events in aid of Church Restoration
Bishop Trevor Huddleston preached. The headline event, held in St Leonard’s, was “a story of Flamstead – in sound and scene” by Sarah Caisley. It had a stellar cast including Bernard Miles and Ted Moult, so stellar indeed that less famous contributors such as Eric Morecambe and the Bishop of St Albans did not even get a mention in the newspaper reports!
1977: Silver Jubilee – Flamstead through the Ages
This was “an exhibition and demonstration of crafts and tools” organised by the Flamstead Society. Crafts included straw plaiting (of course), spinning, weaving, and wood carving, with exhibitions of farm tools, vehicles, and much more.
We can find such memories in the archives, but does anyone remember these events personally? Were you there? Do you have any photos or other materials? What stories are there to be told? Were there any major events we missed, say from 1950 to 1999?
If you can help, please contact Mark Jenkin at 843456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.