Durham Freemen Butcher’s Company celebrates 500th anniversary
A CITY’S freemen celebrated a milestone in their long and colorful history this weekend
In 1520, during Henry VIII’s reign, the Durham Freemen Butchers’ Company was granted the legal right to ply their trade from the fringe of the city’s Market Place.
Their modern-day successors originally planned to mark the company’s 500th anniversary in the summer of 2020, but twice had to shelve plans due to Covid.
With restrictions now lifted, the landmark was finally be marked with a day of celebration on Saturday (May 14).
Among guests attending the festivities in the Market Place were the county’s Lord Lieutenant, Sue Snowdon, recently sword-in High Sheriff, Shona Harper-Wilkes, and the Durham’s Mayor, county councilor Arnie Simpson.
Features of the day were butchery demonstrations, with some of those in attendance wearing Tudor dress to add period atmosphere.
There was also a special display of exhibits mounted by underwater archaeologist and TV celebrity Gary Bankhead from the thousands of freemen-related artefacts and mediaeval treasures he has unearthed from the bed of the River Wear in the city.
Durham Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers demonstrated lost craft skills of bygone days, while the Ran Tanners duo will be performed with their array of fiddles, bagpipes and squeezeboxes, providing the traditional music of old England.
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