Saffron Walden to be transformed with Tudor-inspired weekend of fun

12:50 31 January 2014

Saffron Walden will be thrust back in time with a Tudor-themed weekend of festivities planned to honour a 500-year anniversary.

The celebrations, to be held over the weekend of May 9-11, are to mark 500 years since Henry VIII granted a charter for market fees to be retained by the town in an attempt to boost economic prosperity. It was also the beginning of Saffron Walden’s self governance and the origins of the town council.

There will be a Tudor market on the Common – with stall holders in fancy dress costumes – a dance in the Market Square, calligraphy and the making of hand-made paper in the town hall and much more.

It is being organised by Saffron Walden Town Council and will coincide with the mayor-making event that weekend.

Deputy mayor Sandra Eden is set to take the reins from her husband, and current mayor, Keith Eden, to begin her year in office following a ceremony in the town hall and procession through the town for a service at St Mary’s Church.

There is no word yet whether the latter could be coaxed into donning a Henry VIII-style costume for the milestone event – but the Reporter remains hopeful.

“I would have happily done it for a joke,” Cllr Keith Eden said when asked whether he was tempted.

“We talked about having a young Henry VIII turn up. The trouble is most people think of him as a fat man but when he granted the charter he was a tall, slim guy in his mid 20s and fairly athletic – so no-one would have recognised him.”

He added: “The significance of the charter was that it was the beginning of the notion of self governance and the foundation of the town council, albeit in a different guise.

“It’s going to be a perfect weekend – the sun will be shining, the town will be heaving with people and everyone is going to have a lot of fun – we hope!”

Saffron Walden Arts Trust members are being lined up to perform over the weekend, while a hog roast, Tudor-inspired tours and plenty more family and historical entertainment will take place as the town is returned to its medieval roots.

A market, currently running on Tuesdays and Saturdays, has been held in Saffron Walden since 1141. However, up until the charter granted by Henry VIII the fees paid by the market traders went to The Crown or Lord of the Manor. Following the creation of the Guild of Holy Trinity – the first form of local government – the money was pumped back into the town to help it prosper.

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