A Letter from Nantwich

January 2012    

Battle's future in doubt without help

THE following is adapted from the latest Press release from Nantwich Holly Holy Day Society, the people who stage the Battle of Nantwich commemorations each January.


THE date for next year’s Holly Holy Day commemoration has been set for Saturday, January 21 – but the organisers are looking for more people to be involved to ensure future commemorations can be staged.

   The Chairman of the committee of the Nantwich Holly Holy Day Society, who organise the annual commemoration, Shaun Cafferty, issued a warning, saying: "Without more practical help, the future of the event after 2012 could be in doubt.

   "So many local people love and treasure this event, and that’s what keeps us going. But we are a very small group of about half a dozen and inevitably over time people move out of the area or feel that they have done their bit and need a break from it.

   "The event does not organise and fund itself, so we are looking for people who can help with administration and paperwork, publicity, and promoting the event to local businesses without whose financial backing we would be lost. The time commitment is not massive if the work can be shared out among a greater number of reliable people. There is a huge sense of satisfaction when you see Holly Holy Day unfold and know that you have played your part in it."

   His remarks were echoed by the event's Patron, Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, who said: "Holly Holy Day does a great job in lifting everyone’s spirits in the dull period after Christmas, and also boosts the local economy at a difficult time of year. I would encourage individuals and businesses to get involved and lend a hand to a very worthwhile event." 


   The 2012 event will be the 40th anniversary of the re-enactment of the Battle of Nantwich which became a major part of Holly Holy Day, creating the now well-known colourful scenes of members of the Sealed Knot marching into the town as civil war soldiers before providing a spectacular re-enactment display on Mill Island.

   Shaun Cafferty said: "Organisers, with the support of the Rotary Club of Crewe and Nantwich Weaver, aim to produce something a bit special for the 40th anniversary, and plans are well advanced for lots of local children to be heavily involved in the build-up to the event and on the day itself.

   "Despite it taking place in January, the last couple of Holly Holy Days have given the town a real carnival atmosphere, as well as boosting trade. Especially this year, we see it as a day to not only remember and commemorate the battle which lifted the siege of Nantwich back in 1644, but also to celebrate the rich history of the town of Nantwich generally throughout all the centuries."


   The Battle of Nantwich commemoration is held on the Saturday nearest to January 25th, the date in 1644 when the original battle was fought. 

   For more information, visit the website: www.hollyholyday.org.uk.


Holly Holy Day Society watching the weather

ORGANISERS of  Holly Holy Day are keeping a close eye on the weather, ready for the traditional celebration of the civil war siege and battle in Nantwich.

   Spokesman Shaun Cafferty said: “A repeat of the wind and rainstorms of recent days would be more than a nuisance, but over the years we have got used to dealing with all sorts of weather! The last two years were very cold, as it was for the original battle in 1644, and the biggest problem was looking after the performers on the stage in the morning. It can be hard to play a musical instrument with numb fingers!

   "The Sealed Knot Society soldiers who parade into town and then "fight" on Mill Island will do so in practically any weather conditions though, and many of them will be travelling long distances to do so. In the past we have seen contingents from as far away as Cornwall and Aberdeen. We will just need to keep an eye on the level of the river and the ground condition of spectator areas, but this is something we have worked with safely and successfully in the past, and can adjust to. We will be keeping our fingers crossed anyway!”

   The society has transformed the event in recent years into an all-day affair, which has brought a welcome boost of extra visitors to the town, and made it less weather-dependent. Shaun explains: “There are many attractions now in the town centre during the morning of the battle, most of them completely free and designed for people of all ages.

   "Last year, many people from Crewe, Middlewich, Sandbach and other nearby towns chose to shop in Nantwich that day, and to enjoy the fun. This year there will again be a number of acts on the stage, together with a children’s entertainer, and a variety of street amusements. There are demonstrations of musketry and wargaming at Nantwich Museum and the popular Living History exhibition will be with us again There, 17th Century life is re-enacted, together with music from that period.

    "Colour will be added by the Town Crier, and the Mounted Civil War Troopers, and this year we will see traditional rustic entertainments on the streets too. We just want everyone to come out and have a good time, and it needn’t cost anyone a penny!”


lProgrammes for the event are now available free of charge from a number of Nantwich shops and pubs as well as the Tourist Information Centre at the Civic Hall in Market Street and the Museum in Pillory Street. They are also available from Martin&Co offices in Nantwich Road, Crewe, and will be available on the day as well. (There will be a Holly Holy Day stall on The Square on the morning of Saturdays, January 14 and 21.)

    Event updates will be posted on the website: www.hollyholyday.org.uk.


The 2012 programme | The 2010 event | Pictures from the 2010 event | January 2009 updateThe HHD Chairman about the battlefield damage | Updates index page | Letters from Nantwich index page

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