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850 Anniversary

Civic Service Commemorates 850 Years of Bedford Borough

 

A special public service celebrating the 850th anniversary of the sealing of Bedford’s Royal Charter by King Henry II in 1166 is set to take place this Sunday at St Paul’s Church in Bedford.

 

The Charter gave special rights and freedoms to the people of Bedford including the right to set up courts of law, freedom from manorial dues and other tolls and the right to hold a market. The Bedford Charter is one of the oldest in the country. The original is in the Bedfordshire Record Office at Borough Hall. A framed copy is on the Mayor’s Parlour wall. There is also a copy on the wall of a painting, by K Petts, of the burgesses collecting the charter from the King in Rouen, France where he and his troops were fighting.

 

Following the planting of a special tree to commemorate the anniversary earlier this month the celebrations continue with a Civic Service in St Paul’s Church on Sunday 21 February at 3pm, hosted by The Mayor of Bedford, Dave Hodgson.  Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, and the High Sheriff of Bedfordshire will both be in attendance. 

 

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Bedford Borough can date much of its history back to King Henry II’s historic sealing of the Royal Charter. It gave powers and freedoms to the people of Bedford that went on to help shape the borough that we know today. Perhaps most notably this included the right to hold a market, a tradition that is strongly supported to this day.

 

This service recognises the significance of the Charter and the lives that have helped to shape Bedford since 1166. We welcome people of all faiths and of none to join this celebration of 850 years of Bedford Borough.”

 

Everyone is invited to attend the service at 3pm on Sunday 21 February. It is being conducted by the Reverend Kevin Goss, Vicar of St Paul’s, and the Bishop of Bedford The Right Reverend Richard Atkinson OBE will be giving an Address.

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