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Royal approval for charter celebration

PUBLISHED: 18:01 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

Miles Jermy

The royal seal of approval has been granted to Great Yarmouth's King John Charter celebrations.

A yet unnamed member of the Royal Family is expected to visit the town in June to attend the unveiling of plaques commemorating the 800th anniversary of the charter that made Yarmouth a free borough.

The royal seal of approval has been granted to Great Yarmouth's King John Charter celebrations.

A yet unnamed member of the Royal Family is expected to visit the town in June to attend the unveiling of plaques commemorating the 800th anniversary of the charter that made Yarmouth a free borough.

It is one of a series of events throughout the next 12 months commemorating the granting of the charter in 1208.

The three plaques will be placed on St Nicholas Church, the Town Hall and medieval Tolhouse museum.

They will be one of a number of lasting memorials planned to mark the occasion that changed the course of Yarmouth's history.

Plans are being drawn up for a Market Cross close to the Fisherman's Hospital replacing the original monument that was demolished in 1836.

In another lasting legacy of the anniversary a large painting of present day townspeople depicted in medieval dress at the signing ceremony with King John will be hung in St Nicholas Church. The painting is being created by Ernie Childs of Great Yarmouth Potteries, who will also be producing a limited edition of charter tankards and goblets.

And Great Yarmouth Museums are working with Norfolk Records Office, local schools and artists to create an illustrative banner of the Charter that will go on display at the Time and Tide Museum from March.

The curtain will be raised with a civic parade and service on March 16 at St Nicholas Church, the day 800 years ago on which the charter was signed.

A copy of the charter will be delivered to the church on horseback before being read out at the service.

The church will also host a banquet on May 17 complete with dishes based on medieval recipes, prepared by Great Yarmouth College students, jesters and fire-eaters. It will revive the tradition of the Guild Feast held on Trinity Sunday for the 300 years after the charter was granted.

Award-winning Yarmouth-based Blackfriars Brewery is producing a charter celebration ale which will be served at the feast.

Brewery owner Bill Russell said the beer, based on the recipe for a 13th century ale, would be flavoured with orange and coriander.

The sights, sounds and smells of the Middle Ages feature at a special Charter Market on March 18 and 19, with stall holders donning period dress. The charter gave Yarmouth powers including the right to establish a merchant's guild to control markets and exemption from paying tolls on goods sold to other English towns.

Regular events in the town calendar including the Easter Fair, Maritime and Beer festivals will also have a charter theme.

St Nicholas Church will host charity and craft stalls during the fair along with an exhibition by local historian Colin Tooke and models of fairgrounds.

Anyone interested in organising events for the King John Charter anniversary should email lauragoodman@great-yarmouth.gov.uk.

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