Elizabethans return to Bideford

Joseph Bulmer

ELIZABETHANS will be walking the streets of Bideford again this summer

as the town turns back the centuries to one of its most colourful eras.

The town’s second Heritage Day event, to be delivered by the Bideford 500 group on Saturday, July 2, will take the theme of Elizabethan Bideford and celebrate the extraordinary development of the town as a bustling port and a booming town during these times.

Bideford 500’s Project Development Worker, Sadie Green said: “It’s very exciting. We are planning lots of events for this year, to take place in settings all over the town centre. This will include: a town centre parade in Elizabethan costumes; commemorating the resting place of Rawley, the native American brought back from Roanoke Island by Sir Richard Grenville and who was buried at St Mary’s Church; a series of talks about Bideford’s history; street performers and musicians; guided walks; a street market; and a living history trail re-creating everyday life in Elizabethan times”

From the late 1500s through to the 1700s Bideford had a huge sea trade, with the import of tobacco from the eastern seaboard of America and the export of North Devon pottery to Wales, Ireland and the British colonies in America. There was also fishing trade with Newfoundland, making the shipping and shipbuilding trade extremely important and enabling the adventurers and explorers to seek new opportunities and set up new lives.

Adventurer Sir Richard Grenville, Lord of the Manor in the mid 1500s, was responsible for creating opportunities for developing Bideford’s wealth. Bideford 500 wants local people and visitors to discover and celebrate this important and unique history and is keen to work with community groups, voluntary groups and schools.

It would particularly like lots of people to take part in a town centre parade. Any group or organisation that would like to take part should contact Sadie at info@bidefordheritage.co.uk or call 01237 428871 (Thursdays). Volunteers to help out on the day will also be welcomed.