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Friday, 25 April 2014

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750 years since king put town on the map

A ONCE in a lifetime event will take place today as a town celebrates the 750th anniversary of it being allowed to hold a market.

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All smiles: The Prince of Wales meets people as he walks along Wigton’s High Street as part of the towns 750th anniversary of it being granted a royal market charter

King Henry III awarded Wigton a market charter in 1262 which granted the town the right to hold a weekly market and an annual fair.

Melvyn Bragg, the Baron of Wigton, and Rory Stewart MP joined the celebrations.

Proceedings will kick off with a civic service at St Mary’s Church at 11am, followed by a procession of horsemen and a re-enactment of the handing over of the market charter.

David Ferriby, chairman of the town’s festivals committee, said: “Lord Bragg will be dressed in his special Lord’s robes and will read the charter in Latin and English.

“It’s sparked off enthusiasm – quite a few people had ideas for what we should do and the hard part was putting it all together.

“The centre of the event is the civic service.”

As well as events this weekend, last Saturday brought the first literary festival ever in Wigton, which featured an interview between Lord Bragg and Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson.

Lord Bragg said: “This weekend is the centrepiece of the anniversary of the royal charter being awarded. For a long time in the 750 years the market was held on the same spot, which is quite remarkable.

“The climax is today.”

Also to be held tomorrow is a display of banners at Wigton Methodist Church and a vintage tractor parade, while there will be a jazz band playing in the town.

Sunday will bring the Armourial Knights to Barton Laws, where they will exhibit the sights, sounds and atmosphere of 14th century England.

There will be combat, weapons, archery and cooking.

The Methodist Church will also host a ‘banners and banter’ afternoon between 1pm and 4pm where coffee will be served.

JJohnson@cngroup.co.uk

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