Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Barry Dodd CBE, unveiled a commemorative plaque at Knaresborough Castle on Maundy Thursday, to mark the first recorded distribution of Maundy Alms 808 years ago.
This was back in 1210, when King John distributed clothing, food and other gifts to the poor of the town.
This fact was discovered by Knaresborough historian, the late Dr Arnold Kellet. King John often stayed in the castle while hunting in the Forest of Knaresborough in the days before Harrogate even existed.
Organised by Rotary in Knaresborough, the project has taken four years to come to fruition.
Past President of Knaresborough Rotary, John Tapscott, initiated the project which was later taken on by David Kaye and involved negotiations with The Duchy of Lancaster, Historic England, the Department of Culture Media & Sport, and Harrogate Borough Council to secure the necessary permissions to erect the plaque.
The project costs were supported by the George Moore Foundation, Knaresborough Town Council, North Yorkshire County Council and Rotary in Knaresborough.
Invited guests included Andrew Jones MP, the Mayor of Harrogate Cllr Anne Jones, the Mayor of Knaresborough Cllr David Goode, Rotary District Governor for Yorkshire and Humberside Robert Morphet, Dr Keith Emerick of Historic England, Martin Ingram (stonemason), the Chairmen of Knaresborough Civic Society and Knaresborough Historical Society and representatives of the sponsors.
The Maundy service, held at a different provincial cathedral each year on the day before Good Friday, celebrates Christ washing the feet of the Apostles.
The washing of feet by the sovereign, which had accompanied the giving of alms, was discontinued by King James II.
The service includes the presentation by the sovereign of alms, now in the form of specially minted Maundy Money.
The recipients of alms are retired people who have given service to the church or community where the service is held.
This year, the Queen presented 92 men and 92 women with the specially minted coins at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Visit Knaresborough.rotary1040.org for more information about Rotary in Knaresborough.