FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KING HAROLD DAY 2007
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Historic Anniversary Commemorated
-- King Harold Day was a roaring success once again this year. This major event, held in
Waltham Abbey each year to mark the anniversary of the death of King Harold, on 14th
October 1066, celebrated its fourth year last month.
Let WAHS Treasurer Steve Miller
set the scene for us:
"Saturday morning dawned, quietly
and still – but not for long. Slowly people and vehicles gathered and manoeuvred
around the Abbey Gardens. Some were Army cadets in “fatigues”, some were in
strange and mysterious costumes. Instructions were given, plans consulted."
"Slowly, gazeboes untangled
themselves and stalls sprung up to accompany the waiting marquees. Before long
more exhibitors, stallholders and visitors arrived and the area began to “hum” –
King Harold Day had arrived!"
WAHS Secretary Barbara Harker helped out at the WAHS
marquee. "The King Harold Day festival this year was held on Saturday 13th
October," she said. "The weather on the day was just right – dry and not too
hot. At 12 noon there was a memorial ceremony attended by the District Council.
Wreaths were laid at King Harold’s grave, including one by our Society."
Janet Grove, WAHS' excellent
lecture programme and membership co-ordinator (she wears other hats for us as
well!) felt "a real buzz in the air when King Harold Day got going. Several
thousand people came through during the day - many from far afield."
Waltham Abbey Historical Society display
WAHS supported King
Harold Day with a photographic display of the Market Square through the
centuries, and a 'What Is It?' of interesting old curios to identify.
"Our stall attracted quite a lot
of interest," said Janet," the 'What is it box' was a success, as was the
rubbing of pre 1971 coinage. The photos of the Market through the ages were
pored over, with a lot of comment, and we sold several cards, projects and
booklets. A wreath was laid on King Harold's grave by our vice Chairman. A fully
armed knight and his squire were much admired and photographed.
"There is always a lot of interest
in our publications at King Harold Day," continued Barbara, "as it is local to
us and many local people attend as well as visitors from further afield. Our
display of photographs of ‘Market Square Through the Ages’ drew a lot of
interest, with many people stopping and reflecting on what the town used to be
like. The ‘What is It’ box drew a lot of attention as always, and the ‘Coin
Rubbing’ of pre-decimal coinage was a hit with the children; one boy pointing
out that Queen Boadicea’s trident was identical to the toasting fork in the
‘What is It’ box!"
The Abbey Church tower is thrown open
Waltham Abbey Church tower was
opened to allow the public to climb to the top and enjoy outstanding views
across the countryside. "I spent most of the day, with others, admitting and
guiding visitors “up the Tower”, so saw little of the events outside," said
Steve. "But all seemed to be enjoying their day, be it little ones involved in
art displays or dressing up as knights of old, or older people finding out a
little about such activities as archery, falconry, or just soaking up the
Steve said that "This 'day',
although a relatively new event, certainly draws people together from Waltham
Abbey and beyond - some visitors to the area were really surprised at how much
there was happening - to enjoy the town and its’ history. Well done to the
hidden army of organisers, who labour before, during and after the day – often
unknown to most of us. Without their efforts, it would not happen, then we and
our visitors would be the losers."
And who could
deny that! King Harold himself would be proud of the 'organised army' and what
it achieves every year in his memory.
King Harold Day 2008
The date for King Harold Day 2008 have already been
released - for further details visit the
Harold Day website. Each year, around 4,500 people attend
the festivities and activities. There are many attractions taking place on the
day in and around the Abbey Gardens, the Abbey Church and Churchyard.
Read the official report on King Harold Day 2007, written by the organisers.
See photos of the WAHS stall at King Harold Day
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