Town turns back time for medieval big lunch as part of 800 celebrations

August 01 2018
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A huge medieval-style feast is being planned in Chipping Sodbury as part of the town’s celebrations to mark the 800th anniversary of the town’s founding by royal charter.

The feast is Chipping Sodbury’s annual Big Lunch, which is usually held in June. It’s a free community event which has been moved to August 12 and given a medieval theme to tie in with the anniversary. Residents are invited to have a picnic with their local community and provide their own tables and chairs. 

Alexandra Womack, chair of Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch, told Yate and Sodbury Voice; “We are both proud and excited to be marking this momentous occasion in our town’s history with a medieval Big Lunch.” 

“It promises to be a very special day with lots of free family fun including a rare opportunity to learn maypole dancing in our beautiful medieval High Street. Most importantly, it is a chance to celebrate our thriving community in 2018 and for residents to get to know their neighbours which is very much in keeping with the ethos of the national Big Lunch initiative.”

Celebrations in Chipping Sodbury start on the morning of Saturday 11 August when there will be a medieval encampment on The Ridings with lots of free family entertainment.  In the evening there’ll be live music, a bar and fireworks. 

The encampment continues on Sunday morning. The main event on Broad street runs from 12-6pm.  There’ll be a procession from The Ridings to Broad Street at lunchtime, and a re-enactment of the handing over of the Market Charter at 1pm. 

It’s hoped that the town will have a festival atmosphere. Broad Street will feature jesters, jugglers, maypole dancers and a special medieval performance of George and the Dragon by Sodbury Players. For children there’ll be a knights and princesses children’s fancy dress competition, free face painting, displays by local dance groups, stocks to have photographs taken in. 

An exhibition will be on display for both days in the town hall, charting Chipping Sodbury’s history from 1218 until the present day. 

The Big Lunch committee is planning to bury a time capsule filled with items representing Chipping Sodbury as it is today. Alexandra said; “We have invited all local schools and nurseries to take part and we are in the process of connecting with local groups, charities and organisations to ask them to contribute as well,” 

“With help from Rich McD Photography, we have pictured all High Street business owners outside their premises to include in the capsule and display at the Big Lunch itself.”

If you would like to take part in the time capsule project email Alexandra.Womack@hotmail.co.uk or call 07740 370586. For further information about the Big Lunch search Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch on Facebook. For more information on the encampment at The Ridings visit www.sodburytowncouncil.gov.uk/sodbury-800