Kendal Oral History Group aims to compile a picture of earlier times through the recorded memories of the area’s older residents. Percy Duff was born in 1922 and was interviewed in 1996

KENDAL’S first market charter was given to the town in 1189 and that was granted by King Richard the Lionheart.

At the time he was on a crusade and he was in Rouen and the Baron of Kendal was with him.

I think the King was short of money – kings in those days were always short of money – and so the Baron paid a certain amount of money and received, in exchange, a charter giving the town the right to have a market on Saturday, and we have had a market ever since.

There is an early Charter about 1246, referring to an earlier Charter and granted by the Baron’s uncle.

This sets out where the citizens could graze their pigs and cattle; where you can get your firewood, where you can get wood for building and where you’ve got to take your wool and such like. All this was set out in that original charter.

Moving on to 1575, when we got the charter incorporating the town as a Borough from Queen Elizabeth the First. That charter not only laid down other privileges such as town planning and who would be clerk to the market, but it laid down that we would have two bearers at mace who would precede the mayor on all civic occasions.

At that time, it wasn’t the mayor but a senior alderman.

We didn’t have the right to have a mayor until the second charter in 1636. That gave us the right to have a mayor and also a sword-bearer who would precede the mayor on Mayor’s Sunday and all similar occasions.

Those three gentlemen, clad in Kendal Green, walk in front of the processions.

We had a later charter in 1684 from Charles the Second.