Slideshow: Rowell Fair 2015

Hundreds of people turned out to mark Rothwell’s centuries-old tradition this morning.

Rothwell’s Proclamation Day, part of Rowell Fair, features readings of the charter which granted the town permission to hold a fair.

Alan Mills in charge for the first year reading the charter

Alan Mills in charge for the first year reading the charter

People packed into the streets of the town centre for this year’s event, which for the first time in decades featured a new bailiff.

The fair had originally been granted permission in 1204 by King John, but the charter which is read out dates back to 1614 and the reign of King James I.

The bailiff to the Lord of the Manor Zandra Powell – whose family have held the manorial title since that time – makes the announcement at various sites of current and former public houses, travelling around the town on horseback.

The event takes place every Trinity Monday at 6am, with the tour of the town taking about an hour and a half.

The mock fights to wrestle the halberds

The mock fights to wrestle the halberds

After each reading the national anthem is played and rum and milk is served to the bailiff’s party.

Townsfolk then attempt to disarm the halberdiers, the bailiff’s guards, as police watch on cautiously.

This year was the first time new bailiff Alan Mills took on the role, following the retirement of Robert Denton.

Mr Denton, who had been bailiff since 1979, was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours List.

Sir Peter Ellwood vice lord lieutenant presents Robert DEnton with the British Empire Medal during the Civic Service

Sir Peter Ellwood vice lord lieutenant presents Robert DEnton with the British Empire Medal during the Civic Service

And on Sunday he received his medal from Sir Peter Ellwood, vice-lord lieutenant of Northamptonshire, during the town’s civic parade.

The parade also included vintage vehicles, Beavers and Scouts making their way to Holy Trinity Church for a service, which was followed by another parade to the fairground for the blessing.

Speaking last year Mr Mills said it was a tremendous honour to be taking over as bailiff.

He said: “Without a shadow of a doubt it’s the honour in the town.

“Robert is a hard act to follow.

“He epitomises the bailiff’s role. His experience, his talks, his reputation in the town for all these years – I hope I can come near that.”

Pictures by Alison Bagley and Andrew Carpenter.