A SPECIAL event was held in Helmsley on Sunday to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

Helmsley was home to one of the 25 barons, who were sureties or guarantors of the charter, and the town’s celebrations were one of a series of events across the county to highlight the importance of the Magna Carta document.

In 1215, Robert de Ros, Baron of Helmsley, was a witness at Runnymede when the charter was sealed by King John, a pivotal moment in reducing the extraordinary power the Crown had at the time.

To mark the date, activities in Helmsley included a dedicated Living History path along the walkway from the town up to the original steps of Helmsley Castle.

Storytellers and jugglers also wandered among visitors, while Helmsley Arts Centre’s 1812 Youth Theatre performed their specially-commissioned street theatre piece Magna Carta: Helmsley’s Story!, a comedy romp through the history of the period.

Businesses got involved with themed decorations, floral arrangements and window displays, along with shopkeepers in medieval costume.

Other activities include a ducking stool, stocks, spinning demonstrations, Scouts’ campfire, knights in armour, birds of prey, food and drink tastings and jugglers.

Organised by the Helmsley in Business group, the daytime activities tied in with those being organised by the town council and English Heritage, which included an evening picnic at the castle for residents.

Rhian Crusher, member of Helmsley in Business and owner of Celebrate Country Cake Design, said: “Well the weather may have been against us, but I think the visitors would definitely say there was still a warm welcome.

“The poor Young Farmers on the ducking stool might have been hoping for a bit more warm sunshine though, that is for sure.

“It was great to see so many local businesses take part and dress up in medieval costumes, or take part in our around-town Shield Trail for families.

“The entertainers were fantastic, from medieval magic and knights in shining armour to birds of prey illusions, and the youth theatre put on a hilarious introduction to the Magna Carta.

“It was wonderful to see so many people in the town on a grey Sunday, and thank you to everyone who took part, volunteered their time or just came and joined in the festivities. We hope people enjoyed it as much as we did.”