Monday, 25 May 2009

Lichfield's Court of Arraye

It's the Lichfield Greenhill Bower today, a street carnival that originates from the 12th century. Above is a shot I took this morning at the Court of Arraye at Lichfield's Guildhall - a kind of assembly of all men of arms which itself dates back to the early middle ages, and which involved a roll-call of able men and drill practice, followed by 'sport and pastime' (the latter being the origin of the Bower festivities).

Although the Acts requiring this assembly were abolished by James I, Lichfield kept the tradition going, though it changed from a serious assessment of military capability to a light-hearted affair that now involves speeches and jokes from local officials, presided over by the mayor. Needless to say, this morning there were a lot of jokes about MP's expenses! More on the Bower, and the Samuel Johnson Tercentenary float, shortly.

Photograph © Memoirs of the Celebrated Mrs Woffington.

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Polly said...

This is fascinating. It's fascinating that old traditions like this one keep going.

Mrs Woffington said...

I'm ashamed to say it's the first time I've ever attended this, and it's the ONLY surviving Court of Arraye, though how mad to think that, since James I, it's been held chiefly 'for the amusement of children'!