Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival

Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival

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Posted 2023-09-01 by David Keyworthfollow

Sat 23 Sep 2023 - Fri 29 Sep 2023

A festival in Manchester will hark back to days long before the city’s Cottonopolis industrial boom and the contemporary Manc-hattan of steel and glass, with its city centre offices, apartment blocks and hotels.

Manchester’s Medieval Quarter is a small area to the north of the city centre, including the cathedral and Chetham’s Music School.

Medieval Quarter Festival organised in partnership with University of Manchester, Manchester City Council and Chetham’s Foundation, takes place on the weekend of 23rd and 24th September.

Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival. Courtesy of The Stoller Hall. Family fun activities.


Attractions will include film screenings, dance workshops, history tours, food and drink and medieval entertainment including jesters and stilt-walkers, falconry, plus historical reenactment from Historia Normannis! - a 12th-century living history group.

Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival. Courtesy of The Stoller Hall. Historical Reenactors


Manchester Baroque and Chetham’s current pupils will also fill the festival with historical harmonies. On the Saturday, there will be an evening of medieval music at Chetham’s Baronial Hall. There will also be ‘give it a go’ recorder lessons for all ages.

Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival. Courtesy of The Stoller Hall. Medieval music performers


At The Stoller Hall, behind Chetham’s, families can join the adventure of Sir Scallywag on his quest for the King’s missing Golden Underpants, accompanied by live accompaniment from Ensemble 360. They can also help the Little Green Dragon breathe fire and find her courage.

On the Sunday, at the venue, the Manchester premiere of Yiimimangaliso (The Mysteries) will take place. It is a multi-lingual South African play based on the English Medieval Chester Mystery Plays.

The question How many cows does it take to make a manuscript? will be milked for all it is worth at an interactive exhibition

Despite being a twentieth century building, The National Football Museum will pitch in with its neighbours by hosting football-inspired printing workshops, in honour of the late medieval rolling-out of the printing press.

At John Rylands Library , there will be a focus on rare books and manuscripts from across medieval cultures. Deansgate's name may relate to the lost River Dene - another undercurrent of pre-industrial history.

Before industrialisation, Manchester did not have the hard light shone on it by mills, football, dance music and less positively, crime, drugs, gangs and bombs.

Manchester Cathedral wasn't always a cathedral. In 1421 King Henry V granted a licence for the establishment of a collegiate church at Manchester. It was years away from the arrival of Victoria Station, the Arndale Centre and the Urbis Building/National Football Museum.

The basic structure of the present building is an example of the late medieval Perpendicular style, with an emphasis on vertical lines.

By 1837, Manchester was in the hell-fire of industrialisation and consequent population boom and 7,285 baptisms were recorded at the church. In 1847 the collegiate church became a cathedral.

Thomas de la Ware (c. 1352 - 1427) was the rector of Manchester and priest for over 50 years. He gave up his own nearby manor house and land for the new building to accommodate priests , which was built of local sandstone, quarried in Collyhurst and brought to the site by river barge.

Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival. Courtesy of The Stoller Hall. Historical Reenactors


The next chapter in the story was instigated by Humphrey Chetham (1580–1653), who made his fortune in the cloth trade, mainly in the buying and selling fustian, a strong woven fabric made of linen and cotton. The buildings, now named after him, were acquired by the executors of his will in 1653. It stipulated the establishment of a free public library, for the use of scholars and others well affected’, and a school for the education of forty poor boys from honest families.

The first pupils were admitted in 1656, and Chetham’s School played a vital role as an educational charity until the twentieth century. Around it Manchester ignited into the world’s first industrial city.

Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival. Courtesy of The Stoller Hall. Historical Reenactors


Chetham’s, which became a music school in 1969, is now joined, at the back, by an elegant, purpose-designed venue. The Stoller Hall opened in 2017. It includes the 482-seat capacity main hall with a hydraulic stage and oak profiled panelling. The Carole Nash Hall is the smaller, 170-seat space at the venue.

Opposite the cathedral is a cafe and a visitor centre. In its basement is the site of Hanging Bridge. The earliest references to a bridge known as the ‘Hengand Bridge’ date back to 1343. The present structure was built in 1421. It connected the Rivers Irk and Irwell.

In 1600 The Hanging Ditch was condemned as an unsanitary. In the following years, the ditch was culverted (drained) and the bridge buried and built over.

This will be the second Manchester Medieval Quarter Festival, the first having taken place in 2021. The festival is free, but some events will require booking online in advance.

The Medieval Quarter is most easily accessed via Manchester Victoria Station and Metrolink Stop or on the Free Bus (route 2).

Chetham’s has uneven flooring, cobblestones and occasionally low lighting. Chetham’s Library is across a cobbled yard and via a flight of eighteen steps. For further information email [email protected] or call 0333 130 0967.

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!date 23/09/2023 -- 29/09/2023
262204 - 2023-08-27 15:05:33

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