SEE VIDEO: Packed weekend marks 800 years of Swaffham market

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Swaffham went back to the Middle Ages at the weekend as a packed programme of events marked the official 800th anniversary of the town’s market.

Thousands of visitors descended on the town for a two-day medieval festival on Saturday and Sunday.

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations,'tour of the market LtoR, Swaffham Mayor Cllr. Anne Thorp, Deputy Mayor Paul Darby, Elizabeth Truss, Gillian Shephard, and stall owner Stephen Ward from Wards Nurseries at Ringstead. ANL-150720-081241009

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations,'tour of the market LtoR, Swaffham Mayor Cllr. Anne Thorp, Deputy Mayor Paul Darby, Elizabeth Truss, Gillian Shephard, and stall owner Stephen Ward from Wards Nurseries at Ringstead. ANL-150720-081241009

While the traditional Saturday market took place in the Market Place, thousands of visitors enjoyed a host of entertainment both in the square and on the nearby Campingland.

The Campingland is close to the site of the St Peter and St Paul Church, where the market originally traded.

Medieval re-enactments, a fire breathing display, music and the chance to have a go at archery were just a few of the attractions.

And David Wickerson, chairman of the Town Team, which organised the festivities, said the weekend had been “absolutely fantastic.”

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations''Sacred Heart School Dancing Display in the Buttercross ANL-150720-081208009

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations''Sacred Heart School Dancing Display in the Buttercross ANL-150720-081208009

He added: “We’ve had a great turnout. The weather has been kind to us.

“I think everyone has been very complimentary about what we’ve been able to put together here in Swaffham.

“It’s a great occasion and really puts Swaffham on the map in terms of our ability to put together this sort of event. It’s absolutely brilliant.”

The festival was the centrepiece of a programme of events taking place throughout the summer to mark the first written reference to the market in 1215, when King John ordered it to be dissolved if it was felt to be affecting a market in nearby Dunham.

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations'Town Crier Nigel Wilkin gets the event underway at the Buttercross ANL-150720-081252009

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations'Town Crier Nigel Wilkin gets the event underway at the Buttercross ANL-150720-081252009

A re-enactment of the order was among the programme of entertainment during the weekend, which was supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Live entertainment, including music and other historic performances, took place throughout the weekend at the Buttercross and were hosted by the town crier, Nigel Wilkin.

The market celebrations will continue tomorrow night with a free screening of Norfolk Past – The County Our Parents Knew at the Sacred Heart School’s Barn Theatre.

Doors will open at 6pm and the screening, which will launch the town’s film festival, starts at 7pm.

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations''Court of King John and Quenn Isabella, with attendants and royal bodyguard ANL-150720-081157009

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations''Court of King John and Quenn Isabella, with attendants and royal bodyguard ANL-150720-081157009

Then, on Monday, Professor Mark Bailey, of the University of East Anglia, will give a talk on the development of Swaffham’s market and how it became an important market town in the medieval period.

The event is taking place at the Green Britain Centre and will start at 7pm. A further talk by Swaffham Museum manager Sue Gattuso is scheduled for September 14.

And a market festival on food, drink and festivities through the ages will take place from September 17 to 20.

For more information about the anniversary events programme, visit www.swaffhammarket800.co.uk or email suebiggar6@gmail.com.

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations''Gary Baxter with his 16 week old Saker Falcon ANL-150720-081134009

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations''Gary Baxter with his 16 week old Saker Falcon ANL-150720-081134009

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations at the Buttercross ANL-150720-081313009

Swaffham Market 800th Anniversary celebrations at the Buttercross ANL-150720-081313009