The final arrangements are now falling into place for the annual spectacle of Lanark’s centuries-old Lanimer celebrations.
Officially the week’s proceedings will get under way on Sunday (June 3) with the Kirkin’ of Lord Cornet Elect Gary Winning in St Nicholas Parish Church at noon.
After the service the procession will march to the Sheriff Court steps where the new Burgh Standard will be dedicated.
Public participation will increase significantly the following evening with the Perambulation of the Marches. Checking the boundaries was a condition laid down in 1140 when King David I granted the burgh of Lanark its royal charter.
Although no-one has seen the actual charter, the weight of considerable historical evidence over the centuries indicates that a standard bearer was appointed to follow the boundaries checking the march stones.
Some will be checked on foot on Monday when Lanarkians – numbering several thousand – fall in behind the Cornet-elect as he sets out from Hope Street at 6pm. The remainder, on the other side of town, will be checked on horseback later in the week.
Birks are traditionally handed out to those taking part in the Perambulation which they carry with them for the duration and back to the cross afterwards.
Meanwhile, the Lord Cornet-elect and supporters will mount up at 8pm and ride from St Leonard Street to the cross.
A highlight of this year’s celebrations will be the Shifting of the Standard ceremony at the cross, which will see the new Burgh Standard – the first since 1986 – brought into use and presented to the newly sashed Lord Cornet.
Gary Winning’s official duties will begin on June 5 when he will lead the official Lanimer ride-out at 4.30pm.
The Lanimer Chases at Lanark Racecourse are scheduled for 6.40pm.
The cavalcade will then ride to New Lanark, arriving at around 8pm.
Lanark’s Lanimer celebrations hark back to the roots of the formation of towns in Scotland. Before the reign of King David I there were no formal towns.
Most settlements consisted of scattered hamlets, with slightly larger centres of population having grown up as service centres around monsatic communities or castles.
However, the king decided to found a number of new, larger settlements across the country and imported the concept of burghs from lands that he held south of the border.
These invariably had a market place as the nucleus of the settlement which grew up around it.
The charter awarded by the monarch confirmed certain rights relating to holding markets as well as governance and taxation.
Each Royal Burgh was also represented in the Parliament of Scotland and could appoint bailies with powers over civil and criminal justice.
Lanark received its charter in 1140 and one of the conditions of this, stipulated at the time, was that the burgh’s boundaries were to be checked annually to ensure that the march stones hadn’t been tampered with.
The creation of Royal Burghs continued steadily – by 1707 there were 70 across the country.
An important document for each burgh was its burgh charter, creating it or confirming its rights.
Although no-one has seen Lanark’s charter, the town’s Burgh Standard remains a potent symbol of its status.
The new standard being dedicated this year is its seventh known incarnation.
The name of the first known standard bearer – John Aitken – was recorded in 1670, although when the standard was first carried and by whom have been lost to history.
The new standard is the result of a fundraising campaign which the Lanimer Committee started towards the end of last year.
Given how loved Lanimers is locally, it is little surprise that the funding required was in place by the start of the year.
During Lanimer Week 2018, T Henry Shanks will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of his installation as Lord Cornet.
It will also be a golden celebration for Senga Hamilton who will be celebrating the 50th year since her crowning as Lanimer Queen in 1968.
Congratulations to Henry and Senga on their 50th anniversaries – we’re sure 2018 will be one to remember for everyone though!
Timetable of Lanimer events
Sunday, June 3
Kirkin’ of the Lord Cornet Elect in St Nicholas Parish Church, at noon. Procession will depart from the Harry Smith Centre around 11.40am, marching to Sheriff Court steps, following the Kirkin’ Service which will include the dedication of the new Burgh Standard.
Monday, June 4
Members of the Lanimer Committee and the Lord Cornets’ Club will leave Hope Street, at 6pm, with Lord Cornet-elect Gary Winning to begin the Perambulation of the Marches. Equestrian procession will leave St Leonard Street at 8pm to make its way to Lanark Cross. Shifting of The Standard around 8.15pm. Lord Cornet’s Reception follows at St Nicholas Parish Church Hall.
Tuesday, June 5
Lanimer Ride-out will leave from Lanark Cross at 4.30pm. Lanimer Chases at Lanark Racecourse start around 6.40pm; riders will then making their way to New Lanark for presentations and refreshments at around 8pm..
Thursday, June 7
Lanimer Day road closures will be in operation from 8am. Procession will leave from the top of St Leonard Street at 10am. The crowning of Lanimer Queen Anna Martin will take place at 11.45am at Lanark Cross. Family fun at Castlebank Park will begin at noon. The Lord Cornet’s Procession will leave for Castlebank via Ladyacre Road at 1.40pm. The evening spectacular will start with Lord Cornet Gary Winning making his Declaration at Lanark Cross at 5.30pm, followed by the town’e very own Tattoo.
Friday, June 8
Children’s picnic and Lowland Games at Castlebank Park from 1.30pm to 4pm. Lanimer Queen’s reception in the Memorial Hall in St Leonard Street at 7pm.
Saturday, June 9
Lanimer Ball at Lanark Agricultural Centre from 7pm.