Medieval Manchester Festival

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600 Year Anniversary 1421 - 2021

Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 September 2021

Where medieval meets modern Live Music Food and Drink Medieval Fun Live shows from:

Tickets from

WELCOME Welcome to the first EVER Medieval Manchester Festival; a two-day spectacular taking you back to the middle ages with majestic creatures, live music and magical storytelling. Step inside our 15th century site, where Medieval Manchester will come to life before your very eyes. Enter through the archway to begin your journey, pick up a crown and start exploring the magical kingdom. Jesters, stilt walkers and magicians will spring to life as you walk around. Discover majestic birds of prey and watch fun re-enactments of the 13th century with knights, barons and ladies of the court. Adults can marvel at the books in the oldest public library in the English speaking world, while children can learn about the gruesome side of history with Horrible Histories performances in The Stoller Hall. Stay refreshed and stop by the bar stocked with ales, ciders and soft drinks and don’t forget to sample the feasts from one of our medieval food stalls. An unforgettable weekend adventure awaits you, we hope you enjoy your visit! Fran, Festival Director, and all the team at Chetham’s and The Stoller Hall

TOP 10 CHETHAM’S FACTS 1. The medieval buildings at Chetham’s are 600-years-old this year​. 2. Chetham’s started life as the residence for the priests who were part of the collegiate church, incorporating what is now Manchester Cathedral. 3. After it closed as a college, it was used during the civil war to store weapons. 4. After the civil war, the building was left abandoned, and fell into disrepair. 5. It was saved by Humphrey Chetham, a local wealthy cloth merchant, who left the majority of his money to the people of Manchester. 6. Chetham’s money turned the site into a stunning public library and a school for poor boys. 7. Karl Marx visited Chetham’s Library often, and his visits helped to inspire the communist manifesto. 8. Today Chetham’s School of Music is the UK’s leading music school. 9. The site is also now home to a world class concert venue – The Stoller Hall. 10. ‘Quod tuum tene’ the latin which is etched onto the Chetham’s crest means ‘Hold onto that which is yours’.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE Saturday 25 September 10am - 5pm Last entry 4pm

Sunday 26 September 10am - 3pm Last entry 2.30pm

A unique and family-friendly festival at Chetham’s in Manchester – featuring live music, food, drink and medieval entertainment – celebrating the 600th anniversary of Manchester’s oldest buildings.

Medieval building tours with Jonathan Schofield Saturday 10.30am, 12pm, 2pm & 3.30pm Sunday 10.30am, 12pm & 2pm The Fool’s Puppet Theatre Companie Throughout the day York Waits Dancing Throughout the day Live stilt walkers Throughout the day Chetham’s Choristers Saturday 12pm & 2pm Horrible Histories performances (ticketed event, pre-booking required) Saturday 1pm & 3.30pm Sunday 10.30am Living history performances with Historia Normannis Saturday 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2.30pm, 3pm & 4pm Sunday 11am, 12pm, 1pm & 2pm Manchester Baroque concert Saturday 2.30pm Magical storytelling with Ian Douglas Throughout the day


included in your ticket price



Join tour guide and writer Jonathan Schofield for a tour of Manchester’s oldest buildings.​

Enter into an enchanted world of puppetry, with games, magic tricks and dancing.​

The medieval buildings date back to 1421, it’s where the history of modern Manchester begins. Jonathan will present an entertaining introduction about the site’s extraordinary history and the extraordinary visitors from the last 600 years.​

Listen to stories based on folklore and ancient themes, with live music played on the Wheel Fiddle (Hurdy Gurdy) by the storyteller.​



Meet some of Britain’s finest birds of prey including owls, falcons and hawks. Learn more about these magnificent creatures from the knowledgeable staff at SJM Falconry who will be there to answer any of your questions. Bird lovers will also be able to get closer and have their photos taken with the birds.​

See, hear and feel what it was like to live in medieval England over 600 years ago.​ Historia Normannis create unforgettable historic re-enactments featuring knights, freemen, craftsmen, ladies of the court and barons of the realm.​


included in your ticket price



Look back over Chetham’s incredible 600-year history with this popup exhibition in Chetham’s historic buildings.

Ian Douglas is the storyteller to end all storytellers.

Explore images of the site over the years, the people who have lived here and learn more about how the site is used today.

Gather round for tall tales from the lands of Medieval Manchester, world myths from Ian and stories inspired by British folklore. All told from his beautiful pedal powered bow top caravan ‘Vera’.​



Spellbinding performances from The Circus House combine elements of theatrical circus with stilt walkers and jesters in their colourful medieval costumes. Look out for them as you walk around the festival site!​

Travel back to centuries gone by with York Waits performing European music as well as their own arrangements of popular dance and ballad tunes. There’ll also be a chance to try for yourself and learn dance moves from days gone by.​


included in your ticket price

HUMPHREY CHETHAM & CLAYTON HALL​ Did you know that Humphrey Chetham was an English textile merchant and philanthropist, responsible for the creation of Chetham’s Hospital and Chetham’s Library? And that he lived at Clayton Hall with his brother George? Learn more about our founder and the visionary Mancunian businessman, brought to life by Actor Ken McConnell. You can also see the only known portrait in the Reading Room at Chetham’s Library and learn more about the living history museum, Clayton Hall.

CHETHAM’S CHORISTERS​ Chetham’s Choristers sing at weekly services and special events at Manchester Cathedral. They also perform concerts and broadcasts on both radio and television. Experience this talented group of young choristers performing medieval songs live in The Stoller Hall Atrium.

FOOD & DRINK​ Alongside medieval entertainment and events there will be an array of food and drink to enjoy during your visit.​ Culinary delights will include hot paninis, hotdogs, handmade sausage rolls, samosas, pies and cakes. The courtyard will host a pop up bar with a selection of beers, wines and soft drinks. And you can be one of the first people to sample locally produced cider from Beetle Hill Cider, launched in 2021 in Ramsbottom.


included in your ticket price



Enter a world of world of lighthearted hilarity, wonderment, and mystery.​ Prepare to be entertained by magician Alex D. Fisher’s mindbending feats of illusion to leave even the most seasoned magic addicts flabbergasted.​

Manchester Baroque return with a programme which highlights the intimate beauty of six Baroque instruments from the period. The concert begins with two colourful eighteenth-century settings of the Latin text ‘O Sacred Head, Now Wounded’, written during the Middle Ages. Join us for a programme of enchanting Baroque Chamber Music, with a nod to our Medieval past…​



Get into the medieval spirit! Pick your prop, from knights and dragons to fairies and jesters and strike a pose in our photobooth. Take a snap and share on social media for a chance to be featured in our medieval hall of fame.​

The year is 1421 and something is afoot! It’s time for an adventure. Mud, castles, horses, monks, lords, townsfolk…Where will we go? Who will we meet? What will we see? Join us to create your own adventure with sounds and music. Bring your own grown up! Suiitable for KS1 (age 4-8) and KS2 (age 8-12) children.​

SUPPORT CHETHAM’S​ Chetham’s is a magical place, home to the UK’s largest specialist music school, the oldest library in the English-speaking world and a world-class concert venue all in the heart of Manchester. It’s our mission to share Chetham’s music and learning with as many people as possible.​ As a registered charity, we depend on donations to allow us to inspire the musical talent of the future, preserve our 600 year old medieval buildings and engage musicians and audiences alike.​ Please help us to continue our important work by texting CHETHAMS 5 to 70085 to give £5​. Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message, Chetham’s will receive 100% of your gift. By texting you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d prefer to give £5 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text CHETHAMSNOINFO 5 to 70085. Chetham’s is a registered charity no. 526702​

DESIGN A SHIELD COMPETITION​ Calling all fair maidens, kings and dragon slayers! Your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to design us a super, shiny shield. 600 years ago Manchester’s medieval history began, right here at Chetham’s! Today this magical place inspires millions of people from around the world through music and storytelling. Design us the best shield you can using the themes of music, history and storytelling and see if you can claim the golden prize. Good luck ye lords and ladies of yesteryear. Entries received by 5pm on Sunday 26 September will be judged by our medieval knight. The winner will receive a print of their winning entry, tickets to take their chosen grown up to see Jack and The Beanstalk on Sunday 12 December in The Stoller Hall and a print of the winning shield will be displayed on site for all to see.​

HOW TO ENTER Collect your template from the Information Desk. You can either: • Submit your completed entry to the festival information point during the festival itself ​ • Scan or photograph your design and email it to ​ • Post a picture of your design on social media, tagging in @Chethams.​ The winner will be announced at 5pm on Wednesday 29 September.​

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