Somerset Day red
Sue Rawles and Sarah Young outside the Crafty Collective.

Balloons and bunting catch the eye ahead of Somerset Day

TRADERS across Sedgemoor are getting into the spirit of Somerset Day which is officially commemorated on Tuesday.

Photographer Jeff Searle was out and about yesterday capturing the mood, with more pictures set to feature in the next edition of the paper.

And just one of the shops flying the flag was the Crafty Collection in Angel Place, Bridgwater, where Sue Rawles and Sarah Young were only too pleased to pose for the camera.

The day is run by the The Somerset Day Community Interest Company who are encouraging communities, organisations, businesses and individuals to celebrate the county’s ‘birthday’.

A spokesperson said: “We also run Shop Somerset, a platform to connect local businesses to consumers and communities all year round.

“We want everyone to relish the stunning countryside, historic cities, abundant produce, amazing businesses, festival culture and rich heritage of the county historically known as ‘the land of the summer people’.

“The Somerset Day CIC is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company governed by a board of volunteer directors drawn from local communities and businesses and is run by a part time CEO.

“We want people throughout the county to Fly the Flag for Somerset, so make sure you are ready by downloading a Somerset Day pack from www.somersetday.com.

“The pack includes templates for the distinctive yellow and red Somerset flags and bunting to make yourself and brighten up your homes, gardens and communities.

“For those who would like to purchase bunting or larger flags, Somerset Day has partnered with Red Dragon Flagmakers.

“Somerset celebrates its birthday over the weekend of May 8-9 through to Somerset Day on May 11 so it’s a great time to celebrate as we wave goodbye to lockdown.”

The May 11 date has not been chosen at random but features strongly in the history of the county.

It was on May 11, 973 that St Dunstan, the Somerset-born Archbishop of Canterbury, conducted the coronation of King Edgar in Bath Abbey, an occasion of great significance in the history of the English crown.

This was the first coronation of an English king for which any kind of extended record survives and still forms the basis for the coronation service used in modern times.

On May 11, 1645 the terrible second siege of Taunton ended when Royalist forces suddenly withdrew and the town was improbably held for Parliament.

It was a watershed in the Civil War, and gave rise to a rhyme that was chanted in the streets of Taunton long afterwards: “Rejoice ye dogs ‘tis the 11th of May, the day the Cavaliers ran away”.

But most of all the date falls within a series of events in May 878 when Alfred the Great took refuge at Athelney, then gathered ‘all the people of Somerset’, and others from Wiltshire and Hampshire, and marched with them to defeat an invading Viking army.

The dates of the key events in Alfred’s campaign are not precisely known, but they culminated in the first part of May.

Alfred is the only one of our kings or queens to whose name the word ‘great’ has been added. An important part of his remarkable story is set in Somerset.

 

 

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