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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Fizzgigs celebrates Ellesmere’s 800th market charter anniversary

Ellesmere’s community arts group Fizzgigs took to the streets this weekend to help the town celebrate its 800th market charter with a specially written street theatre performance.

Anna Hayes on Tommy (Lady Joan on Keincalad), Ian Andrew (Prince Llewellyn)
Anna Hayes on Tommy (Lady Joan on Keincalad), Ian Andrew (Prince Llewellyn)

Members of the group staged a unique re-enactment of the granting of the market charter by Lady Joan, wife of Llewellyn, Prince of Wales in 1221.

Scotland Street was closed to traffic for an anniversary street market organised by the Ellesmere town council.

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Wendy Salter said: “There was a great atmosphere in town.  We loved having a street market and Fizzgigs rocked it again.”

The street play featured medieval townsfolk who objected to the town being handed over by King John to Llewellyn as part of an attempt to quieten border disputes.

It told how the Welsh party led by Prince Llewellyn and Lady Joan came to Ellesmere to announce the market charter and the English reaction to the news that the charter came with a 13th century tax of twelve pennies for each resident.

“It was our version of how it could have been with a bit of silliness thrown in,” said the play’s co-writer and director, Jenny Wilbraham.

“Lady Joan rode a very handsome steed, Keincaled – a Welsh cob whose non-stage name is Tommy. Llewellyn brandished a dangerous looking sword, and they were all led in by a pompous herald. It was great to see the twenty first century crowd’s reaction as Joan and Keincaled were led along the street. Ava Hudson (aged 8 – from Bagley) said, “The best part was when the horse pooed.”

“We also had a trumpeter and members of Fizzjigs, our very own band – as well as a jester, a dragon called Dilys and lots of other mediaeval characters who were having a bit of fun with the crowds,” Jenny Wilbraham added.

Retired history teacher, David Reffell praised the town and Fizzgigs for making the effort to mark the historic event. “Well-done, Ellesmere, Fizzgigs and all. I feel proud to live here,” he said.

 Jenny Wilbraham said Fizzgigs was delighted with the reaction of the crowds to the play.

“Everyone involved had a part to play in making it such a successful team effort. The good weather, crowds and authentic market setting made it even better,” she said.

The Fizzgigs team later performed the play at Criftins Summer Fair at the parish hall.

Fizzgigs’ next event will be the Magical Plantation, an installation of fantastical creatures in the Plantation off Sandy Lane, Ellesmere, running over the summer holidays from Sunday 25th July.

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