NEXT week’s centuries-old traditional ‘Crying’ of the Great Harwood Fair will have added significance after the sealing of the take-over of the historic Churchfield House by the town’s Civic Society.

At 9am on Thursday August 21 the ceremony in the Town Square, celebrated continuously since 1318, will be attended by dozens of local residents.

It marks the granting of the Charter to Great Harwood allowing it to hold an annual market by Edward II and the day will be heralded by current Town Crier Rawden Kerr.

The colourful and historic ceremony is organised by Great Harwood Civic Society which has just signed the papers to take over the leasehold of Churchfield House, built in 1852 by famous surgeon Henry Ainsworth, from Hyndburn Council.

It now plans to raise the money to restore it to its Victorian glory.

The ‘Crying’ ceremony will be attended by borough Mayor Munsif Dad. Lynn Wilson, chair of the Civic Society founded in 1946, said: “This is a historic ceremony that has been celebrated every year since 1318.

“It allows Great Harwood to hold a market, originally for sheep, livestock and produce from local farmers.

“We now hold a craft market with more than 20 stalls, normally straight afterwards, but this year it will be on Saturday from noon to 2pm to accompany a Royal British Legion First World War commemoration march-past from the Cenotaph.

“It will mean more significant than ever because the renovation of Town Square will have been completed and Great Harwood Civic Society has just signed the lease to take-over Churchfield House at a peppercorn rent.”