Hundreds of people have helped mark a town’s centuries-old tradition this morning (Monday, June 16).
Rothwell’s Proclamation Day, part of Rowell Fair, features readings of the charter which granted the town permission to hold a fair.
People packed into the streets of the town centre for this year’s event, which took place in bright sunshine.
The fair had originally been granted permission in 1204 by King John, but the charter which is read out dates back exactly 400 years 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.
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 also the final time outgoing bailiff Robert Denton – who took over the role in 1979 – will read out the charter.
He will be replaced next year by his deputy Alan Mills, who shared this year’s readings with him to mark the handover and the 400th anniversary of the King James Charter.
Mr Denton said: “It’s been a privilege. It’s bound to be tinged with a bit of sadness but after 35 years it’s time to move on. It’s an ideal time to hand over to Alan.
“I had always been interested in the fair – I was a founder member of the Rowell Fair Society, and when the bailiff was ill (in 1979) I ended up climbing on the horse. I had never been on a horse before.
“I have really enjoyed it.”
Mr Mills said it was a tremendous honour to be taking over as bailiff.
He added: “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.”
This year’s fair runs until Saturday, June 21.
For more pictures from the event, see this week’s Northants Telegraph.