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Centuries-old Guildhall Feoffment Trust tradition will continue this year – in virtual form

An annual service which has been held since 1481 will go ahead this year – despite the Covid-19 crisis – but in a slightly different format.

Guildhall Feoffment Trust will continue the unbroken tradition – a short service to mark the generosity of Jankyn Smythe and other benefactors and give thanks for the gifts and kindness they displayed which help to make Bury St Edmunds the town it is.

Usually, after the civic service at St Mary’s Church, residents and guests enjoy a ‘cake and ale’ ceremony at the Guildhall for speeches and a toast to the memory of Jankyn Smythe. Residents are then provided with a lunch at a restaurant.

CUL Church Bury St Mary's. (37120631)
CUL Church Bury St Mary's. (37120631)

This year, thanks to the Rev Simon Harvey, of St Mary's Church, a virtual service will be held followed by a virtual cake and ale ceremony.

See the service live at the St Mary's Church Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/StMarysBuryStEdmunds/live/ – from 11am on Thursday.

All residents of the almshouses administered by the charity have been given a bottle of ale and piece of cake with which to join the ancient ceremony.

The trust hopes to resume its usual service and celebration when restrictions allow.