History of Bungay’s town reeve explored at exhibition
PUBLISHED: 12:11 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:11 25 November 2019
The Bungay Town Trust in its present form has been around for 380 years – and the role of town reeve, who heads it, has been in place for much longer.
Now the rich and unique history of both has been celebrated at an exhibition, hosted by present town reeve Sylvia Knights at St Mary's Church, where over 100 people gathered on Friday evening for a preview event.
On display at the exhibition, which attracted many visitors throughout the weekend, were a wide range of photographs and documents relating to the Trust and the reeves who have filled the prestigious role over the years.
There were also the scrapbooks kept by each reeve during their year of office - a tradition started in 1933 by then-town reeve Dr Leonard Cane.
Mrs Knights, who will host the Bungay Town Dinner on Friday, November 29, as the climax to her year of office, spoke about the many and varied engagements she had attended, both in the town and around the county over the past 12 months, and spoke of the privilege it was to represent Bungay in this way.
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Bungay historian Chris Reeve, also a feoffee (trustee) of the Trust, spoke of the history of the reeve and the Trust, going back 1,000 years to explore its origins.
He said the key date for the organisation was 1639, when a document signed and sealed by the town reeve and 23 other eminent local men, put its role on the sound footing it enjoys today.
Until 1910, when a local government re-organisation created Bungay Urban District Council, now the town council, the Trust was responsible for running the town and its facilities.
After that date it was formed into a charitable trust, retaining ownership of the town lands, a large number of common shares, the Butter Cross, weekly market, borough well, town clock, and funds which had accrued. The trust also administers 13 almshouses in the town.
The unique role of town reeve - Bungay is the only place in country to retain the title - is revered by the townspeople.
During the evening Mrs Knights presented cheques from her fundraising during her year of office to five Bungay area goods causes. She gave £300 each to St Edmund's Roman Catholic School PTA, Ellingham Romary School, Bungay Guides, and Bungay Sea Scouts, and £500 to the Friends of Bungay Community Library.