August 1st is a very special day for Yorkshire folk. It is the day on which we celebrate all things Yorkshire and what a lot of things there are!
This year, Ripon is the official host of Yorkshire Day and will find itself in the spotlight as a week of events unfolds in and around the city. As usual there will be a civic procession, a service in the Cathedral and a civic lunch. They are hoping for the week to culminate with St Wilfred’s Day Parade which is a procession of floats, dancers and musicians lead of course by St Wilfred, York’s patron saint, on his trusty steed.
As always, the Ripon Hornblower will be sounding his horn at the four corners of the obelisk in the Market Place at 9pm and then three times outside the mayor’s house. This tradition has been unbroken since it started in 886AD.
August 1st was already celebrated as Minden Day by the Yorkshire Light Infantry, an Infantry Division within the Light Division of the British Army. This division was originated partly from the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. The Division is one of six Infantry regiments which are entitled to wear a rose in their headdress. The rose worn in the headdress of the Light Infantry is white, of course!
One of the main traditions of Yorkshire Day is the reading of the Yorkshire Declaration of Integrity which affirms Yorkshire’s ancient foundation as the Kingdom of Jorvik back in 875 AD. It defines the inviolability of its ancient boundaries and the Declaration is made four times in York by the Yorkshire Ridings Society, once for the City of York and once for each Riding. The wording of the declaration had remained unchanged for many years and reads as follows :-
"I, [Name], being a resident of the [West/North/East] Riding of Yorkshire [or City of York] declare:
That Yorkshire is three Ridings and the City of York, with these Boundaries of [Current Year minus 875] years standing; That the address of all places in these Ridings is Yorkshire; That all persons born therein or resident therein and loyal to the Ridings are Yorkshiremen and women; That any person or corporate body which deliberately ignores or denies the aforementioned shall forfeit all claim to Yorkshire status.
These declarations made this Yorkshire Day [Year]. God Save the Queen!"
Many celebrations of Yorkshire Day now take place all over the country and indeed, around the world. The celebrations range from family gatherings to grand civic ceremonies but basically it is as simple as reminding each other of what is great about Yorkshire – there is plenty to choose from!