St Ives prepares to go back in time for 900th anniversary celebrations

ST IVES, the historic market town will take a step back in time so people can learn about its roots. St Ives will be transformed in to an Anglo Norman village so residents can grasp what it was like to live there in 1110 – the year that the town was gra

ST IVES, the historic market town will take a step back in time so people can learn about its roots.

St Ives will be transformed in to an Anglo Norman village so residents can grasp what it was like to live there in 1110 - the year that the town was granted its royal charter by King Henry I, allowing it to hold a market.

Townspeople will be invited to cook over a fire and sail along the Great Ouse.

A giant Anglo Norman ship will be built by hand and warrior fights will also be staged to reflect the town's golden era.


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Alison Melnyczuk, St Ives town clerk, said the 900th anniversary event would "celebrate an area of history that people have not given much thought to".

This is when the town came into being and this event shows how the townsfolk would have lived. It will open up people's minds."

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The landmark anniversary celebrations began on April 3 with a grand parade across St Ives' historic bridge.

The Anglo Norman encampment over the May Bank Holiday weekend is designed to recreate the atmosphere of the 12th century.

People can wander around a replica village and learn about the crafts and village ways which dominated community life.

Today's townspeople will be invited to help to build a replica Anglo Norman ship which would have been used in olden times.

They will then watch in awe as a line of "flaming archers" light their arrows and shoot flames at the ship, another ancient custom.

Residents will also be able to see a 55ft ship sail along the Great River Ouse. People can then buy memorabilia of the town's heritage.

Organisers are expecting huge crowds for the event and have set up extra car parking facilities to cope with demand.

People will be able to leave vehicles at The Beamglow Factory, in Somersham Road, and Lordgate Engineering in London Road and get a bus into town.

St Ives 900 celebrations will continue throughout the year and include a street party, music festival and antiques road show.

There will also be a civil war re-enactment, a Dickensian market and a choir on the river.

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