Richmond, North Yorkshire

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Guide to Richmond » Ceremony of the First Fruits

Town Council Crest

The ancient custom of the First Fruits shows the Mayor as the leader of the town in all its ceremonial traditions.

Richmond, Yorkshire - Ceremony of the First Fruits

Nowadays, after some introductory remarks by the Town Mayor, and thanks-giving prayers by a clergyman, a local farmer presents to the Mayor a small sackful of newly threshed corn. This the Mayor hands over to a miller, who examines the corn, and when he passes favourable judgement on its quality, the Mayor presents the farmer with a bottle of wine.

Other bottles are broached, and the bystanders are invited to join in a toast to a good harvest.


This ceremony links Richmond with its medieval origins, when the people were dependent on the success of each years harvest. Corn was grown on the three great open fields to the north of the town - Westfield, Gallowfield and Eastfield.

The Bailiffs and Aldermen - predecessors of the present Mayor - were responsible for the administration of the town, including the annual fairs and the weekly markets.

Richmond became one of the leading corn markets in the North of England.

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