Midsummer Watch Parade

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(this is just a mere stub .. with some stuff copied from the Midsummer Watch site to kick it off)

Some elements of the 2015 "Midsummer Watch Parade" assembling in front of the Town Hall. These included: a boatload of Vikings, an elephant, a troupe of Middle-eastern Dancing Girls, Herne the Hunter and his Wild Hunt, a Roman Chariot, Hell's Mouth and some Pirates. Many more were waiting in the wings.

In Medieval and Tudor times, Chester’s magnificent Midsummer Watch Parade was renowned throughout the country. First held during the mayoralty of Richard Goodman in 1498, it was organised by the City Guilds and took place in the years when the famous Chester Mystery Plays were not performed. The outstanding features of the show were the Giants – enormous structures made of buckram and pasteboard and carried by two or more men. Giants were a common feature of Tudor pageantry in England and Europe, but Chester was unique in that the city paraded a whole family of Giants – the Father, the Mother and two Daughters. There were also fantastic giant Beasts including the Unicorn, the Elephant, the Camel and the Dragon. Originally the Dragon was beaten by six naked boys, but this practice was banned in the late 16th century.

The Midsummer Watch Parade survived much longer than the now world-famous Mystery Plays, which were banned in 1575 and not revived until recent times. In 1599, Mayor Henry Hardware prohibited the Parade and ordered the Giants to be broken up. However, so popular was the show that it was revived the next year and continued until the 1670s.

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