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Wellington's 776th Charter Day of historical fun

By Rob Smith | Wellington | Telford entertainment | Published: | Last Updated:

Old-fashioned fun came to Wellington for its traditional Charter Day celebrations.

A highlight of the day's celebrations is the elaborate performances by the morris groups the Ironmen and the Severn Gilders

The annual event is a recognition of the day in February 1244 when King Henry III granted Wellington its market charter.

It includes morris dancing displays from the Ironmen and the Severn Gilders as well as several fun nods to the original occasion almost 800 years ago.

The centrepiece is the King's herald, who comes to Market Square on a horse bearing the 'charter' giving the town the right to host a market.

The whole event was almost jeopardised when the town crier's outfit was found to be locked in the town hall, but a spare key was located and the crier rushed to change five minutes before the celebrations got underway.

A highlight of the day's celebrations is the elaborate performances by the morris groups the Ironmen and the Severn Gilders

Wellington's market continues today, on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week.

Today's mayor is Anthony Lowe, who played a part in the Charter Day proceedings as is traditional.

He said: "I was there throughout. I think it went very well. The weather was kind to us.

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"Market Square was crowded which is always nice to see, especially on a grim day in March.

The King's herald arrives on horseback to deliver the charter

"The town crier [Liam McGrath] is new to his role, he did his bit. He's got a good strong voice and a beard so he looks the part.

"We had a new horse rider this year, he had a few lines to explain what he was doing there and then seek out a worthy recipient of the charter.

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"This year he picked out a child in the crowd and the child received the charter."

The next item on the agenda was the convening of the Court Leet, a group of four 'tradesmen' – including the mayor – tasked with choosing an ale tester, clerk of the market and town crier.

"It was great to see people in the square. That was good for traders because Wellington is all about footfall," said the mayor.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith
Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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