SEE VIDEO: Church ceremony launches Swaffham market 800th anniversary celebrations

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Amid the recent celebrations of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, one may have been forgiven for thinking that King John had a lot on his mind in June 1215.

But a re-enactment held in Swaffham this week revealed the monarch did have time for things apart from doing deals with his barons.

King John (Kieran Staines) and John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich (Vic Tucker) at the re-enactment marking 800 years since a writ ordering the abolition of Swaffham's market was issued ANL-150624-114206001

King John (Kieran Staines) and John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich (Vic Tucker) at the re-enactment marking 800 years since a writ ordering the abolition of Swaffham's market was issued ANL-150624-114206001

The ceremony, which took place in the St Peter and St Paul church on Monday, marked the day 800 years ago that a writ ordering the abolition of Swaffham’s market was issued by the king.

The event also marked the start of a programme of celebration events to mark the anniversary, which includes a medieval festival to be held in the town next month.

The writ declared that Swaffham’s market, which originally traded where the church now stands, should be halted if it was found to be damaging the market in nearby Dunham.

And David Wickerson, head of the Swaffham Town Team which is organising the celebrations, quipped: “We did invite our friends from Dunham to attend this evening, but they were too upset to accept.”

Residents and community leaders enjoy a re-enactment of a writ ordering the abolition of Swaffham's market 800 years ago. ANL-150624-114223001

Residents and community leaders enjoy a re-enactment of a writ ordering the abolition of Swaffham's market 800 years ago. ANL-150624-114223001

The main celebration event is a medieval festival that will take place in the Market Place and on the Campingland over the weekend of July 18 and 19.

Organisers are expecting thousands of people to descend on the town for the two-day event, whose attractions will include performances by the Black Knight Historical re-enactment group.

Two park and ride sites, at the Green Britain Centre and the Nicholas Hamond Academy, will be set up for visitors.

Before that, a new display dedicated to the market will be unveiled at the Swaffham Museum on July 4.

A series of films and talks will also be staged during the summer and the festivities will finish with a market festival over the weekend of September 18, 19 and 20.

Mr Wickerson said organisers hoped the programme would offer something for people of all ages.

Meanwhile, more volunteers are still needed to help run the celebrations in July.

Anyone interested in helping should contact Sue Biggar on 01760 622246 or email sue.biggar@gmail.com.