People will line the streets of Downham Market in Norfolk for St Winnold’s parade

For centuries the horse fair held over several days in Downham Market at this time of year was one of the largest of its type in Europe.

It was recorded that more than 10,000 horses were bought and sold during some of the fairs, which commenced on St Winnold's Day, and helped to replenish stocks for various armies on the continent.

The fair has long disappeared from Downham Market but people are expected to line the streets on Friday, March 16 to watch an annual procession make its way through the town which recognises its once pre-eminent place in horse trading.

The event is also a celebration of the continued success of the town's markets, which were granted to the town in 1046 by Edward the Confessor.

The civic procession usually leaves the town council offices, in Paradise Road, at about 9am and heads towards the Hollies car park.

There will be mayors and mayoresses joining borough and town councillors in taking part in the parade which will then head up Bridge Street and arrive at the busy market outside the Town Hall.

Downham Mayor Val Starling will welcome the town's guests before the charter received from Edward the Confessor is read out by the town crier. Last year invited guests then enjoyed a celebratory breakfast with locally sourced ingredients in the Town Hall.

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