This year, Kirkby Stephen marks 670 years since the granting of its first market charter.

The charter was presented by King Edward III to Roger de Clifford, Lord of the Manor, on October 16, 1353.

Roger de Clifford was authorised to hold weekly markets along with two annual fairs – St Mark's Fair in April and St Luke's Fair in October.

The fairs evolved into crucial annual stock sales, with the St Luke's Fair remaining in existence even today, held at Kirkby Stephen Auction Mart.

The landmark anniversary triggers a celebratory event on October 28, featuring a reading of the Charter Proclamation in the town centre at 9.50am.

The formalities commence with a procession carrying a replica charter and proclamation document from the Kings Arms to the Cloisters, headed by two medieval stewards and the Upper Eden Community Choir.

Visitors can join the trailing procession, extending up to the Cloisters to witness the event, likely to last one hour.

This celebration harbours the proclamation reading, as well as two brief talks. One talk will be about the charter board that is permanently on display, and the other about a typical medieval market stall.

Adding mirth to the ceremony will be a small group of troubadours, enchanting the gathering with their medieval songs.

The proclamation will then be read again, closing the ceremony.

There will be an exhibition set up by Upper Eden History Society in the Parish Church, showcasing the market charter and previous Luke Fairs.

Attendees can also purchase copies of the Society’s latest release, Kirkby Stephen Past: Two Market Charters.

The event, including the exhibition, is free for all.

Anne Taylor, Chair of Upper Eden History Society said: “There has been some uncertainly in the past about the correct date of the granting of the charter, because the original charter was lost centuries ago.

"However, I have seen the copy in The National Archives at Kew, in what are called the Charter Rolls, and the date is clearly given as October 16, 1353.

"That was an exciting moment for me, unrolling an original medieval parchment and deciphering some of the Latin.

"The words ‘Rogo de Clifford’ and ‘Kirkeby Stephan’ were very clear.”