Potterspury - Village Events of Olde
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Potterspury rarely fails to come up with special 'one off' organisations when necessary, whether to set up special events to generate income, such as the Festival of Transport, to celebrate great national events (the Millennium, Jubilees, Royal Weddings, Coronations), or even to write a book about our village! Our knowledge of these occasions goes back to the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria.
The Golden Jubilee
A general meeting of parishioners was held in the boys' school in March 1887 'to consider the best way of celebrating in the parish the glorious jubilee of our good Queen's accession to the throne.' His Grace the Duke of Grafton chaired the meeting, and it was resolved that a committee be formed 'to obtain further information on the subject and to make the necessary arrangements for a general holiday to be given to the working classes of the parish.'
The committee, under the leadership of the duke, arranged for a collection to be made around the village 'to obtain subscriptions to cover the expenses of the holiday.' It was agreed that the holiday would be held in Mr Druce's field, and that the 'Stratford tent' be obtained. The village band were to be engaged at a fee of £3 and provided with dinner, tea and one quart of beer each. The church bells were to be rung, and the bellringers were to be paid 20 shillings.
The event comprised a dinner with ham, bread and butter, and cakes, with the children having tea and cakes, and some
530 people attended. A tender for the dinner was accepted at two shillings and twopence per head (about 11 p), and the
total cost of the celebration was £67 5s 11d, of which £36 3s 3d was contributed by the Duke and Duchess of Grafton.
The Diamond Jubilee
Ten years later, on 12 May 1897, 60 parishoners met at the school to discuss how they might celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee 'in a fit and proper manner.' It was unanimously agreed that 'a dinner, tea and sports should be given and the day observed as a public holiday.' It was suggested by Mr Patterson (the duke's agent) that every man between the ages of 14 and 65 should be entitled to a dinner if they subscribed one shilling or more to the general fund, that men over 65 should have a free dinner, and that women and children under 14 should have a free tea.
Sports were to be organized, with no less than 18 events and a total of £5 in prize money. The meeting was pleased to hear that the Duke of Grafton had generously donated £20, and the Duchess had chipped in with £12. It was estimated that there would be about 230 men's dinners at two shillings per head, and 550 ladies' teas at sixpence a head.