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Marking castle’s link to Maundy Alms

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A commemorative stone is to be unveiled by Barry Dodd CBE the Lord Lieutentant of North Yorkshire at Knaresborough Castle to mark Maundy Thursday today.

The first recorded distribution of Maundy Alms took place in 1210 at Knaresborough Castle when King John distributed clothing, food and other gifts to the poor of the town.

He introduced coins in addition to alms in 1213 and King Edward I made it an annual event at Easter.

The Maundy service, normally held at a different provincial cathedral each year on the day before Good Friday, celebrates Christ washing the feet of the Apostles. 

Brian Souter of Knaresborough Rotary Club said: “This important historical event is only commemorated in Knaresborough in Peter Kearney’s trompe l’oeil painting in Castlegate, but not at the castle itself. This is about to change.”

A commemorative stone, first suggested by Knaresborough Rotarian president of 2012 John Tapscott, and later taken over by Rotarian David Kaye after the departure of John, will be unveiled at 2pm.

Sketches, technical drawings and a site plan was produced for consultation with English Heritage (now Historic England), the Department of Culture, Media & Sport, the Duchy of Lancaster and Harrogate Borough Council to get permission.

Dignitaries attending will include Andrew Jones MP, Mayor of Harrogate Coun Anne Jones and the Mayor of Knaresborough Coun David Goode, Rotary District Governor for Yorkshire and Humberside Robert Morphet, Dr Keith Emerick of Historic England, and stonemason Martin Ingram.