Freemen – First Ever


The election of the first three honorary freemen of the borough and hundred of Cricklade was witnessed by a large number of residents at a special meeting of the town’s ancient Court Leet in June 1987 as part of Cricklade’s 1100 anniversary celebrations.

The title was awarded to three men whose service to the town has been outstanding, Mr Dick Giles, Mr John Little and Mr Frederic Freeth, High Bailiff of the Court Leet, all men were in their 80s.

Other events to mark the occasion include the Saxon Fair on a weekend that was blessed with fine weather.

In all, there were 35 different stalls at Waylands including craft stalls demonstrating weaving, engraving and spinning.

During the afternoon the crowds were entertained by a group of street buskers, folk singers, the Waylands singers and the recorder group from St Sampson’s Junior School.

The evening’s entertainment started with a magic show and a traditional Punch and Judy show for children and the climactic finale to the duck races that had been taking place on the River Thames throughout the week.

Afterwards, Cricklade Town band entertained a large crowd in the High Street and there was a special traders’ evening with Morris dancing.

Cricklade Court Leet on TV August 24th 2016.


Jeremy Paxman and the production team of the Channel 4 series “Rivers” visited Cricklade to record an episode of series for broadcasting on 26th March 2017. Jeremy walked part of North Meadow with High Bailiff (Clive Smith), Haywarden (John Barratt) and several other members of the Court. An explanation was given about the close relationship between the Court and  the management of North Meadow throughout the year,  Winter flooding, Spring Fritillary season, Summer/ Autumn haymaking and grazing to complete the year.

This was followed by a Court Meeting to show how the ancient court works in this modern day and age.

Lighting of the Cricklade Jubilee Beacon – 2012

Left to Right: Chris Atkins (Town Crier), Cathy Atkins, Clive Smith (High Bailiff)

The Manorial Court for the Hundred and Borough of Cricklade celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with the official lighting of the Cricklade Jubilee Beacon at Saxon’s Rest on Monday 4th June 2012. A Beacon Ball was held in the Town Hall as part of the event with the Lord of the Manor, Mr Michael Neeld, igniting the Beacon at 10.15 pm.


Presentation of the Court’s Yard Stick in 1991

Ralph Neeld, Lord of the Manor, receives the court’s measure from Mary Baker.

Ralph Neeld, Lord of the Manor, being presented with the yardstick measure by Mary Baker from the drapers shop. The measure is now in the Cricklade Museum along with other important Court artefacts. The presentation took place in the Town Hall car park.

Cricklade Court Leet in 1991

Back row left to right: Peter Marshall, Reg Coole, Jim Marley, Les Cox (Town Crier). Front row left to right: Ralph Neeld (Lord of the Manor), Fred Freeth (High Bailiff)

Does anyone know where this might have been taken? The painting in the background is believed to be currently on display at Cricklade Museum. Where was it hung previously?

Beating of the Bounds – Sunday 26th May 2019

Around 30 people attended the traditional ‘Beating of the Bounds’ walk on Bank Holiday Sunday.

This ancient custom has been observed since Saxon times where a group of older and young members of the community would walk the boundaries of the parish in order to check borders thus protecting against encroachment by neighbours.

This year, the group was expertly led by Phil Brown who guided an enthusiastic crowd through four miles of wonderful countryside, taking in the River Thames, North Meadow and the remains of the old North Wilts Canal.  Along the route there was commentary from Clive Smith and John Coole, prayers from Revd Phil Bradley plus the occasional beating of a boundary marker with willow rods.

With an age range spanning some six decades the pace was leisurely, although there was a distinct quickening of stride as thoughts turned to the promise of refreshments at the end of the walk.  These were provided by Cricklade Museum and everyone agreed that the afternoon was great fun.  It’s good to know that some traditions are worth upholding.