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Keeping ancient tradition alive

Posted onPosted on 19th Feb

An ancient tradition will be kept alive for a 375th year on Sunday, 8th March.

The annual Hercules Clay Service at Newark Parish Church will be led by the Mayor of Newark, Coun Irene Brown.

Hercules Clay, a cloth merchant, was mayor in spring 1643 when Newark, a Royalist stronghold, was besieged by Parliamentarian forces during the Civil War.

After three consecutive nights of wild dreams that his house was to be attacked, Clay moved his family out and soon after the house was hit by a mortar shell and set on fire.

Clay was so grateful for his deliverance that he left a sum of money after his death in 1645 for an annual church service of thanksgiving and to distribute alms to the poor.

The tradition has continued and is now the responsibility of the town council and Newark Business Club.

The event will start on Sunday, 8th March, at 10.30am with a welcome by the mayor at Newark Town Hall.

At 10.45am there will be an inspection and guarded escort by The Sealed Knot through the Market Place.

The Hercules Clay Service at Newark Parish Church will start at 11.15am. Now in its 375th year, it is one of the few remaining annual services of its kind in England.

It will include music by a local musician, two readings and communion. Families are invited to attend and young children will be able to take part in activities within the church while the main service is taking place.

Businesses wishing to make a donation to the alms this year are asked to take along goods for Newark Food Bank, which can be left upon arrival or departure from the church.