Preparations Start for the Swineshead Pageant!

On Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June 2016, Swineshead village will be celebrating all things Medieval to commemorate the last journey of King John in 1216

King John famously lost his “treasure” in the Wash, stayed overnight at Swineshead Abbey where he was (allegedly!) poisoned by Simon the Monk using poison from a toad’s back, and finally, although very ill, continued his journey to Newark where he died. The Swineshead pageant will include knights on horseback, Medieval pursuits such as falconry and archery, Medieval crafts and costumes, food, music, dancing and drama, a King John’s Treasure Trail, a spectacular carnival parade through the village and much more Medieval style merriment.

To create costumes, sculptures, lanterns and activities for the pageant, Transported has commissioned artists Julie Willoughby from Zoomorphia and Ruth Pigott from Curiosity Creators to run a series of free family workshops are taking place in the run up to the event.  Julie and Ruth recently worked on the Illuminate celebrations that took place in Boston as part of the Christmas lights switch on event.

Toad and Toady

The first workshop is on Saturday 6 February at Coffee Corner, High Street, Swineshead from 12 noon until 4pm. It is called “Toads Galore” and participants will be making cute little toads out of felt and stuffing. There are two styles of toad – a sitting toad for people who have sewing experience, and a flat “beanbag” style toad for those who are less confident about their sewing skills. You can decorate your toad to your choice, will yours be a poison toad, or one that turns into a prince?! All materials and equipment will be provided along with expert advice and some examples to inspire you. We hope to have hundreds of toads made by the date of the Swineshead Pageant, they will be displayed at the event so when you have finished making the toad, please take a photograph and upload it to the Facebook page, and please bring your toad to display at the pageant on 25th and 26th June.

Medieval jewels

The next workshop on Saturday 5 March is to create Medieval Jewellery – this is costume jewellery, large scale fancy pieces made out of non-precious materials so people can wear them in the parade or at the pageant. There are some rather lovely enormous sparkly and colourful gems for the workshop which look fabulous. “Bling” – the word could have been coined with Medieval jewellery in mind, heavily encrusted with precious stones, brightly coloured with enamels in eye popping patterns and crammed full of details in gold and copper.  Medieval jewellery was certainly showy, designed to show off your wealth and status. So come along to the free workshop and create some BLING to wear at the Swineshead Pageant that will show everyone how important you are!

The examples pictured involve some simple sewing, but don’t be put off if you aren’t comfortable with needle and thread, there are alternatives using wool, beads, card and wire. We will be making brooches, clasps, collars and coronets.

On Saturday 2 April we will be making crowns, Medieval style hats, headdresses and knights’ helmets using card, fabric, recycled materials and trim so you can look regally impressive in the parade and at the pageant. Other upcoming workshops include carnival costumes, lit willow lanterns, painted shields and festival flags. Venues and times will be advertised as we approach each workshop. You can also find out details of what’s on by checking the Swineshead Pageant Facebook page, or the Transported website (, or by emailing Julie on

The workshops are suitable for all ages and are free with materials and equipment provided. Children under ten should be accompanied by an adult. All adult workshop participants are entered into a draw to win some treasure – crowns that have been commissioned by jeweller Kathleen Smith. There will be other chances to win this treasure at the event and during the weeks running up to it – there are ten crowns in total to be won, earned or discovered so make sure you come along to the workshops to join in the fun and get a chance to win one of King John’s crowns.

To find out more about the Swineshead Pageant and for updates, visit  To find out more about the Transported project and to sign up for updates, visit our website at, or call the office on 01406 701006.  We are also on Facebook ( and Twitter (@TransportedArt).