On Saturday 8th May 2021 many people turned out to join in the official opening of Celebrate Richmond 950.
The day started with a Zoom call to Richmond’s twin town in France, St. Aubin du Cormier, where the Mayor of Richmond, Councillor Hodgson, and the 950 Patron, Baroness Harris of Richmond, conversed with the Mayor of St. Aubin and other dignitaries.
Afterwards, Katell Sevin-Renault, Conseillère municipale déléguée à la lecture publique, sent a message, “It was a great moment for all of us this morning. Very glad to see that people were present at this historical rendez-vous on the Richmond Market Place, even in the pouring rain (or snow ?!!)
Outside in the rain the 950 team fought valiantly alongside the stallholders attending the Historical Market to erect and weigh down tents and display their wares ready for the official opening at 10am. Many people came from Richmond and out of town, with some saying they had come to support the event because they knew how much effort had been put into the organising of the day and they wanted to lend their support. All the Celebrate Richmond 950 mugs sold out, so more now on order, and the three new ales – Home Front Mild Ale, Red Rufus Ruby Ale and 1071 IPA - launched by Richmond Brewing Company, slipped down a treat. A special 950 commemorative limited-edition print of the label image that has been created by artist, Mackenzie Thorpe, launched at Arthaus as part of the day’s celebrations. Jesters Lord Flame and Tom Fool were popular with all and provided a clever, hilarious entertainment throughout the day with local Medieval Musicians, Trouvere, playing throughout.
At 12 noon Richmond Mayor, Councillor Hodgson, and Patron of Celebrate Richmond 950, Baroness Harris of Richmond, made their way from the Town Hall accompanied by the town’s mace bearers, the Town Clerk and Town Crier, Barry Heap. A muddled jester paid obeisance in front of the small parade, running backwards before the dignitaries, averting his eyes and shouting, ‘Don’t look, don’t look, it’s the Queen, it’s the Queen!’.
The restrictions imposed by Covid-19 have made organising and holding events difficult and for the entertainers and traders it was a relief to be able to get out and about again following a year locked up at home.
Gill Page of Trouvere, commented, “Really, it was a pleasure. The historical traders, fools and we musicians were all in complete agreement about how nice it was to actually get out there and perform / interact with real people after a whole year off!”
The Town Crier had prepared a suitable ditty for the occasion, which he proclaimed at full voice and the Mayor and the Baroness announced the official opening of the 950th anniversary of the commissioning of Richmond Castle.
The following day the Mayor enthused, “We had a fantastic day and send thanks to all involved.” She added, “It was nice to at last have the opportunity to wear the Mayoral robes!”.
More to come
Many more events are organised for the forthcoming months, including Norman and Tudor concerts, outdoor cinema, a community archaeology project in Richmond Castle and a three-week exhibition curated by Richmond Rotary Club detailing 950 Years of Communication in Richmond. In September there will be outdoor cinema at Aske Stables and a re-enactment by Conquest Living History in the castle.
The full list of events and a timeline of Richmond may be seen at www.richmond950.co.uk