Working group launched to mark 800 years of Swaffham market

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A weekend celebration close to its original site is just one of the ideas now been considered to mark 800 years of Swaffham’s market next year.

A working group, under a newly established Town Team, has been set up to co-ordinate a programme of celebrations which will run throughout 2015.

And officials are keen to hear from residents if they have any ideas for how the occasion should be marked.

Group chairman and town councillor David Wickerson said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the remarkable heritage of our town.

“We want local people and visitors alike to really engage with the town’s history and enjoy the activities that will be on offer.

“The events we are planning should really put Swaffham on the map and help to provide a lasting boost to our economy, whilst ensuring the future of our much loved-market.”

The first known record of a market in Swaffham dates back to 1215, when King John called for it to be scrapped if it interfered with another market.

And talks are already underway with the Black Knight historical re-enactment group about staging displays based on the period on the Campingland during the main celebration weekend, which is planned for July 18 and 19.

The site is close to the town’s parish church, whose yard was the original site of the market.

Other activities being considered include an historic kitchen at the Brecks Food Festival later in the year, new displays around the town and in the Swaffham Museum, as well as activities for children.

Earlier this month, museum managers launched a competition for youngsters to undertake research projects on the theme of markets to mark the anniversary.

A host of organisations are supporting the working group, including the town council, the Iceni Partnership, Swaffham Business Forum, the Lions and Rotary clubs, the Swaffham Tourism Association, the Green Britain Centre and the town’s museum.

A bid for Heritage Lottery fund support is also being prepared.

Anyone who wants to know more about the celebrations, or get involved with planning them, should contact Mr Wickerson on 01760 725741.