Ripon Reclaims Yorkshire Day

Yorkshire’s Smallest City has Biggest Claim for Hosting Yorkshire Day Ripon, the smallest city in Yorkshire, will be the epicentre of Yorkshire Day on August 1 as it showcases –…

Yorkshire’s Smallest City has Biggest Claim for Hosting Yorkshire Day

Ripon, the smallest city in Yorkshire, will be the epicentre of Yorkshire Day on August 1 as it showcases – and reclaims – the county’s oldest traditions.

Yorkshire Day, sponsored by Ripon City Council, will feature a procession of 200 dignitaries, including Mayors from across the county, who will parade to Ripon Cathedral for a

The city also aims to use the pride around Yorkshire Day to reignite a unique Yorkshire fare – the Wilfra Cake.

ceremony to mark a day of celebration of all things ‘Yorkshire’. Mace bearers will accompany the Mayors in a spectacular ceremonial procession.

The provenance of Wilfra Cakes goes back centuries. They were baked and eaten to celebrate St Wilfrid, the seventh-century bishop who built Ripon’s first cathedral, and handed out at the Wilfrid Procession, originating in 1108. Wilfra Cakes would be placed on front steps and window-sills for passers-by to help themselves.

Although the Wilfrid Procession continues every August, the tradition of baking the pastry base with Wenslydale cheese and apple, has all but died out.

Ripon Museums is inviting residents to bake and bring along a Wilfra Cake to the Ripon Museums stall on Yorkshire Day.

Richard Spencer, CEO of Visit Harrogate: “Move over Yorkshire Puddings! The Wilfra Cake is by far the oldest, and most Yorkshire of staples. Ripon rightly wears the crown on Yorkshire Day. It is home to the county’s most incredible heritage. As the only city in the Harrogate District, it boasts some of Yorkshire’s iconic and historic attractions in our region, and is rightly the epicentre of Yorkshire Day.”

One tradition still going strong is the Ripon Hornblower. The watch has been set in Ripon every single night for well over one thousand years. The ceremony is one of the oldest still performed in England.

A spokesperson from Ripon City Council said: “Every day at 9pm the horn is blown at the four corners of the obelisk in Ripon Market. For the first time ever on Yorkshire Day, there will be a very special Hornblowers’ setting the watch ceremony at 9pm involving four Hornblowers.”

The setting of the watch dates back to the year 886. It originates with the wakeman of Ripon, whose job in the Middle Ages was to keep law and order at a time when the Vikings were raiding the country and local thieves took advantage of the unsettled situation.

The horn has become the symbol of the city and represents Ripon on the Harrogate borough coat of arms.

Mini-plays performed by Ripon Museums will re-enact the city’s rich history, with market stalls and entertainment taking over the famed market square to showcase local Yorkshire produce and attractions.

Ripon is home to some of the county’s biggest tourism pulls, with the World Heritage site, Studley Royal Park and Fountain’s Abbey, Newby Hall, Ripon Museums and Lightwater Valley.

Stocks will be erected in the market square so that villains get their come-uppance, and a children’s fun fair will occupy the south market place for the whole day. Evening activities include a jazz band, Party in the Park at the cathedral, and fireworks above the town hall.


Notes to Editors

How to make a Wilfra Cake

Shortcrust pastry

8 oz Plain Flour  4oz Butter or Margarine  1 tablespoon Caster Sugar  A pinch of salt  1 Egg Yolk  1-2 teaspoons Water


1.5lb peeled and thinly sliced cooking apples
3oz demerara sugar
3oz grated Wensleydale Cheese


Rub the butter into the flour, sugar and salt. Mix to a stiff paste with the egg yolk and a little water. Leave to rest in a cool place until required.

Line a Swiss roll tin or pie tin with half the pastry and lightly prick the bottom. Lay on the finely sliced apples and add the sugar. Grate the cheese onto the top. Put on a pastry lid and brush with milk and sugar. Make a few slits along the top and bake for 10 minutes at 425° F; 220° C; Gas Mark 7; for 10 minutes and then lower to 350° F; 180″ C; Gas Mark 4; for a further 30 minutes.  Serve with cream.

The combination of apple and cheese is one much loved by Yorkshire men and women, “An apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze,” or so the little jingle would have it!

About Visit Harrogate

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