Updated: Oct 9, 2018

We said that we’d be bringing Riding and Heritage back bigger and better than before – and that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

The new committee members have been voted in, and we’d really like you to give a warm welcome to Sophie Hodge as Chair, Hannah Irwin as Vice-Chair, Robert Dawson as Treasurer, and Karen Phillips and Debbie Henderson as fundraising leads. Our first meeting as the new team took place last week, and marked a huge breakthrough in the plans for 2019.

We’re thrilled to announce that this year the festival will take place over THREE DAYS – including a feast day on Friday 5th July, a day of dressing up, entertainment and fun on Heritage Day, Saturday 6th July, and a sports and activities day on Sunday 7th.

The feast day follows the tradition of the hanging of the Mayor: you all know the story - that Nicolas Bowyer, Mayor of Bodmin was hanged in 1549 for his part in the Prayer Book Rebellion. But did you know, far from being afraid before his execution, the unwitting mayor threw a feast? An account from The Newgate Calendar states:

“Sir William sent [Bowyer] word he would dine with him on a certain day, for whom the mayor provided an hospitable entertainment. A little before dinner the provost took the mayor aside, and whispered in his ear, that there was to be an execution that afternoon […] and after dinner the provost took the mayor by the hand, and desired him to lead him to the place of execution, which, when he saw, he asked him, "If he thought the gallows was strong enough?" "Yes," says the mayor. "Well then," replied Sir William, "get up and try, for it is provided for you!" "I hope, Sir," answered the mayor, "you are not in earnest?" "By my troth," says the provost, "there is no remedy, for you have been a busy rebel." And accordingly, without delay, or liberty to make a defence, the mayor was executed.”

There will be ‘an hospitable entertainment’ aplenty on Friday 5th July 2019 (but without the threat of an execution!)

The new Chair (and busy rebel), Sophie Hodge, said “It’s a wonderful challenge to take the traditions of the past and keep their integrity in a modern-day environment, but we are a brand-new committee, coming into this festival with huge, fresh ideas and such a wealth of them. Everyone involved with the planning of the upcoming festival is on board with the values - we’re all involved because we’re passionate about Bodmin, its history, and its future. We can’t wait to celebrate this new, improved festival in Bodmin in July 2019!”

Other changes to the plans include a day of sports and activities on Sunday the 7th July, an idea rooted in the 1700’s when the main focus of the festival was sporting pursuits, including Cornish wrestling, horse racing at Halgavor, and the tradition of the Guildsmen ‘beating the bounds’.

There will be more plans announced over the coming weeks - Watch this space or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date. We’re hoping that the whole town will get involved in our plans, and if you have any ideas or if you’re part of business or organisation and you want to get involved, just get in touch! We are also looking for a secretary and some general helpers for various tasks (not necessarily required to attend meetings) – so if you’re enthusiastic about the 2019 festival and want to be involved in something truly special, drop us a line!

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