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Houghton Hall, Hall Lane, Houghton-le-Spring

The history of Houghton Feast, ancient festival of Houghton-le-Spring, Co Durham

Houghton Feast
Overview of the dedication festival of St Michael & All Angels Church

Houghton Feast Time Line
Happenings at the Feast 1100s - 2012

Houghton Feast Ox Roasting: A Beef History
Introduced at Houghton Feast in 1967

Houghton Feast Ox Roasting: Carvers
Names of those who've carved the beast twice

Forty Years of Houghton Feast
Commemorating the 1967 revival of the Festival

Houghton Feast Fairgrounds
All the fun of the fair at the Lake and Market Place

Community Hymn Singing
Thousands singing in the rain at Houghton Feast

Houghton Feast 10
The mystical date of the 10th of the 10th of the 10th

The Witty Billy Purvis
Entertained at the Feast between 1818 & 1848

Feast Programme of Events
Brochures from 1967 to 2012

Rare Memories of Houghton Feast
From the early 1900s

Houghton Feast 2012
Website for the 2012 Festival of Houghton Feast

 

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HOUGHTON FEAST PROGRAMME OF EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES 2012 houghton le spring
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A BRAVE PEACEMAKER IN the midst of an old garden at the town of Houghton-le-Spring, in the county of Durham, grew (so late as 1896) an aged thorn-tree, and it was said to have been planted there by the hands of a noble man who was rector of the parish in the sixteenth century. His name was Bernard Gilpin. Noble he was, and brave, and yet a man of peace. When he was young our beloved mother- land was in pain and tumult with the feud of Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant. It was a sad war of thought against thought, faith against faith, church against church, and many an honest soul crouched in the shadow of a jail, and was wounded or slain in riot, or even done to death in the fire at the stake before the eyes of a great crowd. It is not my place now to blame one side or the other. We salute the valiant men and women on each side, and honor their English spirit, though we grieve on the hurt they did each other and to the land of their birth. When he was a learner at an Oxford college he rose up one day in the midst of an assembly of 92 A BRAVE PEACEMAKER eager listeners and spoke on the Catholic side against a scholar named Peter (afterward Peter Martyr). Peter opened a Bible and gave his view as to the sacrament of the holy bread and wine. Bernard made reply, and there was a buzz of voices that showed how eagerly the people fol- lowed all that was said. Presently Bernard spoke this simple word: 'I think Peter is right, after all." This was indeed an honest mind that was ready to own itself mistaken. And, mark you, it would have been quite as honest if a Protestant had owned himself mistaken, and had said: "The Catholic speaks the truth." Bernard was chosen to be a priest of the Church of England, and for a while he had charge of a village. But when it came into his mind to travel abroad he told the bishop of that part that he would give up his village to some other shepherd of souls. "How now," cried the bishop, "but the money that the village yields its priest will be of use to you in your journeys." 'Your Grace speaks truly," answered Bernard, "but it is not meet that I should take wages for work I do not perform." 'You will die a beggar," said the bishop, half in jest, and all the while admiring Gilpin's honor- able heart, 93 HEROES OF PEACE So Bernard, with a small store of money that he had saved, set out on his travels, gazed at the beauties of windows and images in Antwerp Cathedral (though he was sore vexed at the images) and studied books amid the fair gardens of the quiet city of Louvain. 'King Edward is dead" so the news w r as wafted over the water from the English shores. Something else came from England a stream of men who had hurried from that country to escape the Time of Wrath, for Mary was Queen, and there was danger to all outspoken Protestants; and though he had no money to spare, Bernard found many ways of aiding the wayfarers, for he could speak on their behalf to his Dutch and Flemish friends. Thence he found his way to Paris, and so back to England and to the hill-country of Durham in the north. Now in this region there was a worthy bishop who was a Catholic, but had no lust for the killing of heretics the same bishop who had smiled at Bernard and told him he would die a beggar. And when the Catholic folk of those parts made a set upon Gilpin (who was now archdeacon) and ac- cused him of evil beliefs in religion the bishop shielded him from harm, saying that there was no guile in the man. When at length Bernard Gilpin made his home at the rectory of Houghton (where he planted the 94 A BRAVE PEACEMAKER thorn) he was allowed to work in quiet, for his name was written in a list of accused men to be tried in London for bad beliefs; and one day a messenger rode into the valley of Houghton at hot speed, and so up the hill to the rectory, to warn Gilpin of the peril. The rector called up his man- servant, William Airay, and put his hand on his shoulder, and said: "At length, William, they have prevailed against me. I am accused to the Bishop of London, from whom there will be no escape." He bade William bring a long garment such as martyrs wore at the fiery stake, and he put it on each day so as to train his spirit for the sore trial that was to come. For he would not run from his post, and when the officers arrived from Lon- don they found Gilpin in the place of his daily duty. On the way to London he suffered an accident a broken leg, some say and must needs lie abed under the watch of officers; and at that time Queen Mary died, and Elizabeth was Queen, and Gilpin was set free. He built a grammar-school at Houghton, and I believe it stands there to this day. If ever he met a bright-looking lad on the country road he would talk with him and question him, and if so be the lad showed wit and sense he would have him put to school without fee; and more than one youth 95 HEROES OF PEACE he sent, at his own charge, to some hall of learning at the university. He bade them write to him news of how they fared, and would himself go to Oxford or Cambridge each year to see the young men with his own eyes and ask after their welfare and well-doing. A mob of peasants carrying a cross made great havoc in the north of England, and rioted in Durham city, and robbed the barns of Houghton, and took cattle; their minds being inflamed with anger at the Protestant Church. And when many of them were seized and imprisoned and then brought to trial before the queen's magistrates Gilpin appeared at the court and pleaded for mercy for them. "For," said he, "these poor folk are unlettered, and knew not fully the evil they were doing." So many were treated more tenderly by reason of Bernard's prayer. He was still strong in his opinion against Catholics, but he had love to the people who had the opinions he thought wrong; and to one of them he wrote a letter, saying: "If you will come on Sunday night and stay a week with me I shall be glad to see you. We may then talk over these things with more freedom." Such desire had he for peace that he begged the folk not to go to law if any had a quarrel against a neighbor, but to come both of them to his house and reason the thing out; and man}' a time 96 A BRAVE PEACEMAKER patient Gilpm sat in his arm-chair while warm tongues and red cheeks and lifted hands told of jealousy and dispute; and he calmed the troubled waters as best he could. When any were sick Bernard was soon seen at the bedside murmuring hope or reading words of comfort. To men in high places, however, he uttered his mind in no gentle voice. Dr. Barnes, Bishop of Durham, had not shown good-will to Bernard Gilpin; also he had let some of his under-priests make ill use of the people's money, and he was too unready to check the waste. Therefore, when Gilpin mounted the pulpit one day he reproved Barnes in this plain English: "In the presence of God, His angels, and men I pronounce you to be the author of all these evils." Whereat there was coughing and frowning in the church. But the bishop was in truth an honest man, for he met Gilpin in the evening after dinner and told him he would go home with him, and did so. And when Dr. Barnes entered Gilpin's parlor he took him by the hand and said: "Father Gilpin, I acknowledge you are fitter to be Bishop of Durham than I am to be parson of this church of yours in Houghton. I ask forgive- ness for past injuries." Every Thursday throughout the year Gilpin had much food cooked for the poor of his parish; and four times a year he shared money among them, 7 97 HEROES OF PEACE and at Christmas divided a roasted ox for their eating. Oft he brought home the hungry and the naked and fed and clothed them in his house. The traveler and the stranger were welcome at his door, and so good was he to the very beasts that folk said if a horse was turned loose in any part of the country it would be sure to make straight for the rector of Houghton's stable. One day as he was riding homeward, his servant also being on horseback, he saw in a field a group of villagers standing round a dead horse; and standing beside the horse was the driver of the plow, looking in great distress. "Don't trouble," said Bernard; "I'll let thee have that horse of mine." He pointed to the horse ridden by the man- servant. "Ah, master," replied the sad countryman, "my pocket will not buy such a beast as that." "Take him, take him," said Gilpin, "and when I ask money for him thou shalt pay me." He never asked. Now, the land of Northumberland and Durham was in a large part wild, and on the moors and hills and in the lonely dales there wandered rude clans of folk, more like robbers and gipsies than people of a settled land, where were peaceful villages and cities. In summer they would camp out in little tents called "shealings," and make merry. They 98 A BRAVE PEACEMAKER roamed far and wide on the borders of England and Scotland; and their hand was against every man and every man's against them. Bernard Gilpin set his heart on softening the manners of these border folk; and very often he might be seen riding along hilly roads, or perhaps tramping on foot, on the way to a hamlet or camp amid the moorlands where these rough people dwelt, and he would gather them in open space or village church and preach to them, and none did him harm. It was a custom of these border people to settle quarrels with knife or sword. Two men would take their stand on a place laid out with mats, and he that was forced off this space by power of arms was held to be the loser in the suit. Such was the eagerness of the people for fighting that they would sometimes hang up a glove in a spot where passers- by could see, and whoever took down the glove would be bound to defend himself, even to wounds or death. And parties would hate parties, and so the land was in never-ending toil and trouble. Bernard Gilpin preached in a church one day, and two groups of border-men sat over against each other, and presently there was a clash of weapons, and angry hands were raised. Then Gilpin stepped down from the pulpit and stood between the rioters and made peace; and none touched the messenger of love. 99 9673 HEROES OF PEACE One Sunday morning he saw a glove of defiance hanging on a nail in the church he had come to preach in, and he thrust the glove into his bosom. The people came in, and the moment for the sermon arrived, and Gilpin spoke of good-will and brother- hood. "I hear," quoth he, "that one among you hath hanged up a glove, even in this sacred place, with intent to fight any one that taketh it down. See, I have taken it down." He held out the glove, and then let fall such words of gentle counsel as made them feel how much nobler was friendship than hatred. Such was Bernard Gilpin; and when Lord Bur- leigh, the famous man of state, passed through Houghton on his road from Scotland he was pleased to stay awhile at the rector's house, and he marveled much at the goodness of the man. And when he was setting out on his journey again he paused on a hill that overlooked the little town, and he gazed awhile, and then said: "There lives a man who has joy in his life. Who can blame him for saying 'No' when he was offered the rank of bishop? What doth he want to make him greater or happier or more useful to mankind?" Bernard Gilpin lay in his last illness, and had the scholars of the grammar-school led to his sick- room that he might speak words of kindness to the 100 A BRAVE PEACEMAKER lads; and he died on the 4th of March, 1583, in the sixty-sixth year of his age; and he was called the Apostle of the North. 1 1 Gilpin's biography was written by Prebendary W. Gilpin. 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Click the RefNo to see other items in this collection Level Collection RefNo DT.HR Title Hetton Race Company Ltd AdminHistory Hetton Race Company Ltd was first registered in 1891. The Hetton Race Company promoted the Houghton Feast races. The Houghton Feast, an ancient festival held every October, originated in the 12th century as a dedication festival to the parish church of St Michael and All Angels. The festival was expanded in the 15th century by Rector Bernard Gilpin and developed further in the late 18th century when it first became connected with horse racing. Steam powered rides and fairground attractions were introduced in the 19th century. From the 1890s Hetton Race Company organised horse racing, foot racing, football matches and the Houghton and Hetton Handicap at the Houghton Feast Races and Sports. The outbreak of the Second World War led to a reduction in the Feast activities and horse and foot racing were replaced by greyhound racing. The Hetton Race Company managed greyhound racing for the Houghton Stadium Club and provided the Club with premises on the Houghton Stadium Ground. Date 1914 - 1971
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Programme of events for Houghton Feast 2010 online now

GWILLIAM, Rev Canon Oswald 1916–1920 (Ma B) One of the oldest Blues, the Rev Canon Oswald Gwilliam (MB 16-20) died in February 1997. He studied at St Chad's College, Durham, was ordained in 1926/7 and served in the diocese of Durham throughout his ministry. After a long curacy in Gateshead he was vicar successively of Holy Trinity, South Shields (1932-41), Seaham with Seaham Harbour (1941-48) and Houghton-le-Spring (1948-71). He was made an honorary canon of Durham Cathedral in 1953. In advanced old age he was living in a caravan outside Carlisle.

Houghton Feast is held in October, and lasts about five days. Fringed with collieries, Houghton is one of the most important coal centres in the North of England, and every pit in the district remains idle until the close of the carnival. It is a typical miners' crowd.... From The Stage Guide by L.Carson, 1912

HOUGHTON FEAST The second weekend in October is when friends and families meet Heralding the start of the 900-year-old festival of Houghton Feast. Bernard Gilpin rector of the local parish church from 1557 to 1583 Started the tradition of roasting an ox, distributed to the poor for free. The fairgrounds were held in the lake and Market Place The welfare football ground was where the foot handicap races were based. Due to housing developments the fairground is now on the rectory field Pipers from local pipe bands compete for the feast shield. Colourful floats led by marching bands parade along Broadway A festival service in St Michael’s church is held on the sunday On monday afternoon roast ox sandwiches are sold In the evening a firework display is a sight to behold. From the fairground the music blares As families and teenagers forget their cares Enjoying rides, having goes on the coconut shies Eating toffee apples, candy floss and pies. Doris Turner, Hetton-le-Hole, Tyne and Wear
Foreword by John Mawston; Introduction by Ron Young; 1. Bernard Gilpin & the Origins of Houghton Feast; 2. The Traditional Ox Roast; 3. People of the Feast; 4. Fairgrounds; 5. The Opening Ceremony & Military Tattoo; 6. Carnival Parades; 7. Illuminations; 8. Community Hymn Singing; 9. Houghton Feast Races; 10. More Fun at the Feast; 11. Houghton Feast Timeline
Old Michaelmas Day Old Michaelmas Day falls on 11 October (10 October according to some sources). According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date. This is because, so folklore goes, Satan was banished from Heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles as he fell into them. In Yorkshire it is said that the devil had spit on them. According to Morrell (1977), this old legend is well-known in all parts of the United Kingdom, even as far north as the Orkney Islands.
Houghton Feast, Rectory Field, Houghton-le-Spring Dates:- October 3 2003 - October 12 2003 Lessee:- John Murphy Snr Main Attractions:- John Muphy - Waltzer and Dodgems. John Muphy jnr - The Edge (a miami). Keith Turner & Sons - Waltzer. Raymond Eddy - Hopper. Matthew Fendick - Tagada. Matthew Smith - Mattahorn. It is often said that Bernard Gilpin, rector of Houghton 1557 to 1583, was the originator of the Feast or that the Feast originated as a celebration of Rector Bernard Gilpin's safe return to Houghton after his arrest for heresy when the country was under the rule of Mary I. Houghton Feast, the festival of Houghton-le-Spring, most probably has its origins in the 1200s, when it originated as Michaelmas, the dedication service to the Parish Church of St Michael & All Angels. The first Feast's of Houghton would have consisted of a market selling local produce, and medieval entertainments such as dancing bears, wandering musicians, actors and acrobats. By the 1700s, entertainment and primitive rides such as hand-powered roundabouts would have been more common, with the 1800s seeing the mass introduction of steam-powered rides. Traditionally the Feast is held in early October, using an ancient rule which dictates when the Feast should start: The Feast opens on the Friday nearest to the Sunday preceding October 10th, unless the 10th is a Sunday. Using this rule we can calculate ahead as to when the Feast will open in years to come. This year's festival opened on Friday October 3 however it should be noted that Houghton Feast 2004 has a late opening, on Friday October 8. A similar late start date for the Feast in the early 1950s led to mass confusion, and many visitors arrived in Houghton a week early! I visited the fairground site in the week before the opening date, to watch the progress of the rides in construction. It was amazing to see Keith Turner and son's Waltzer rise from the ground once again, having first watched it rise on the Town Moor at the Newcastle Hoppings. The lads were hard at work and I visited throughout the week to watch the progress. Fortunately it hardly rained and when it did it was quite light. The fairground opened on Friday October 3 2003 at 6:00pm. The Festival was then officially open an hour and a half later by the Mayor of Sunderland, Cllr Juliana Heron. The Mayor switched on the town's illuminations which were followed by a parade of illuminated lanterns, a performance by Houghton Pipe Band, and a short fireworks display. The Houghton Feast logo was recreated in an amazing fire sculpture which burned for 10 minutes. The Opening Ceremony had been planned by "Walk The Plank" - the company which provided the finale for the Manchester Commonwealth games and entertainment at Sir Paul McCartney's wedding to Heather Mills. The Broadway was alive with the music of the Gavioli organ as thousands of people watched the display and headed down to the Rectory field fairground. The local pubs swelled with visitors, locals, showmen and pipers as Houghton came alive for Houghton Feast 2003. Members of the Houghton Feast Steering Committee, Civic Guests and principle showmen headed to Houghton Sports Complex for drinks and a celebratory sandwich. I was able to talk to showmen Colin Noble and John Murphy about Houghton Feast past as well as about the Hoppings fairground on Newcastle Town Moor. John Mawston, chairman of the Houghton Feast Steering Committee who has had associations with the Feast since around 1955 was of course there and I was able to catch up with him and again chat about Feasts of years gone by. Houghton Feast Saturday was cold, unlike last year which was very mild and quite warm. The annual carnival parade had it's usual huge crowds in attendance and the Broadway and town were brought alive with street theatre, carnival floats, pipe bands, vintage vehicles and alike. Houghton Feast has it's origins as a religious festival and as a result, the fairground is not open on a Sunday. There is still a lot of activity on the fairground field as preparations start for the roasting of an ox. Houghton Rotary club took delivery of the ox and prepared the ox roasting spit. Myself, Ron Young (Ox Roast co-ordinator and Rotarian), Kevin Reilly (local pipe band member), Derek Moss (local undertaker and Rotarian) Ashley Burland (Rotarian) lit the six gas burners at 6:00pm and the ox slowly roasted for about 20 hours. Members of the Rotary Club take it in turns of two hour sit-ins to supervise the roasting ox throughout the night. That night I assisted with an onscreen Houghton Feast photo presentation in Church whilst the annual Community Hymn Singing event took place. The Hymn Singing was founded in 1949 by Rector Gwilliam, a rejuvenator of the Houghton Feast events, and was for many years held out doors with crowds of five thousand in attendance. That night I spent the whole night in the ox roasting tent on Rectory field and had a very good time, talking with the Rotarians. It was a long yet interesting night. After spending a few hours asleep at a relatives, I returned to the ox roasting tent in the early afternoon of Houghton Feast Monday with my family. We were first in the queue and had our complimentary ox sandwich presented to us by the Mayor of Sunderland. The tent was then a hive of activity as the Rotary Club served up over 1500 sandwiches to members of the public in the huge queue. I returned to the fairground that evening and talked to my "Gaff Lad/Lass" friends. The annual fireworks spectacular took place at 7:30pm and thousands of people converged on the showfield. It really was very busy and everybody was having a good time on the waltzers, dodgems, hopper, Rhythm Master, Tagada, juveniles, sidestalls and other fairground attractions. Throughout the Houghton Feast week I made regular visits to the fairground and enjoyed myself talking to showmen and gaff lads. I really did learn a lot about the "showbusiness" life - about how fun it could be yet hard work. I spent the night with the gaff lads on the second Friday and watched the "semi" pull down on the Saturday morning. The fairground opened up in the afternoon and was quite busy considering. The fair closed after about 9:00pm and I had the last ride of the season on Keith Turner and Son's Waltzer to the sound of the Cherelle's "Will you still love me tomorrow"... the song is played on every last ride. It was amazing and quite poignant. I then watched the lads and showmen in action as they started the full pull down, some of them still busy working after midnight. Houghton Feast was over for another year. It was one which I will not forget in a long time and I can't wait for Houghton Feast 2004! Paul Lanagan www.houghtonfeast.co.uk
HOUGHTON FEAST It has been said that Houghton Feast was founded by Bernard Gilpin; but far more probably it was a much older institution, being celebrated in connection with the Patronal Feast of Houghton, the Feast of St. Michael, September 29th. The reason why the Feast is now so much later than September 29th is said to be on account of the alteration of the Calendar by the omission of 11 days. The Houghton Feast is held as though the eleven days were not omitted, and therefore centres round October 10th, rather than September 29th.
Billy Purvis made over 30 appearances at Houghton Feast. Born- Auchindinny near Edinburgh but brought to Newcastle at and early eage. Left school apprenticed to John Chapman, joiner, Bigg Market. Interest in stage from early eage. Became call boy at Theatre Royal Newcastle when managed by Stephen Kemble. He worked for a while as amature conjurer, clown and performer on the Northumberland bagpipes before becoming a proprietor of a traveling theatre around 1818. He traveled the North of England and Scotland with a portable theatre and was found at fairs and races . When the Theatre Royal was closed he brought a group of performers into town. Purvis was a freeman of Newcastle and was known for his performances as a clown at the Newcastle Races. Billy lived in the same house in the Close for around 66 years. Died= Hartlepool while with his theatre on Dec. 16, 1853 at age 73 It's two o' clock in the morning. It's early October and winter's chill has arrived with a vengeance. There's frost on the ground but something special in the air because Houghton Feast is just a week away, and for many the celebrations have started early. The girl stumbles slightly, having left the nightclub with more than one vodka under her belt, but she rights herself, and starts to walk a bit faster. She'd had two or three offers of an escort from the local studs but had announced to all her intention of going home alone. Proclaiming loudly that she'd had enough of men. Bastards, the fucking lot of them. She loves Houghton Feast though. As her nan tells her every year, it's been celebrated in Houghton since the middle ages, and was established as a feast of dedication to the church. By custom it takes place on the nearest Friday to October tenth, when the lights are switched on by the Mayor of Sunderland and the locals are treated to a tattoo, complete with bagpipes, after which the fairground opens. On the Monday after a weekend of celebrations a huge ox is roasted in the rectory field which lies between the rectory and the police station. But there's more to it than that: the feast, the tattoo and the fair may be the official story but everyone knows Feast time is a chance to let go, to go wild, to let off steam. It's like a get-out-of-jail-free card letting you off the hook for things you've wanted to do but not dared all year round. For most of this week and at the oddest hours imaginable, the fairground travellers have been pulling onto the field and the excitement is building. She can almost taste it.

HOUGHTON FEAST 2010 PROGRAMME

SATURDAY OCTOBER 9th 2010 between 10am – 1:00pm
Houghton Heritage photo exhibition. A free exhibition in the Broadway of old Houghton photos from years gone by. 10am – 1:00pm.

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 7TH 2010 at 7:00pm
Houghton-le-Spring: Journey Through Time: A DVD screening of then and now views and vintage footage of old Houghton. After the screening each scene will be discussed, so feel free to bring your own memories, recollections and photos along. In Houghton 1st Scouts HQ. Admittance £2.00. Places must be pre-booked on 0191 268 4688 or info@houghtonlespring.org.uk

SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH 2010 10am – 12noon
Singing in the Rain: A photo and video exhibition on the history of Houghton Feast, commemorating the 60th anniversary of community hymn singing, which used to attract 1000s to the Broadway at the Feast in years gone by. The exhibition features rare and unseen photos, plus footage from the 1930s and 1950s. Houghton Library & Learning Centre. Free admission.

SATURDAY OCTOBER 10TH 2009 at 2.00pm
Homicide in Houghton 4: Join best selling author Sheila Quigley and local historian Paul Lanagan on an exclusive investigation of the fictional murder scenes from Sheila’s books. The free tour departs from the corner of Rectory Field, next to Houghton Police Station, and returns to Houghton Library for refreshments, when Sheila will read an exclusive preview from her next novel, The Road to Hell. Book by telephone on 0191 561 6383 as places strictly limited.

Ox-roast feasting was tasty success MANY thanks once again to the people of Houghton for their magnificent support of the traditional ox-roasting at Houghton feast enabling us to have a complete sell-out. There was a long patient queue including many regular faces and after just over two hours of hectic activity we were sorry to have to disappoint some latecomers. Thanks to the Mayor, Councillor Mary Smith for continuing the practice of cutting the first slice and her genuine interest in the event. Again we are indebted to our regular suppliers and sponsors:Piper Quality Butchers, Easington Lane; Edinburgh Bakery, Fence Houses; Sunderland Scaffolding Co, Villiers Street; George Vardy Haulage, Hetton, Whitfields Chemists, Houghton; Alex Scullion Electricals, Houghton and the invaluable help and co-operation of City of Sunderland gas crew, administration staff and John Mawston, leading the feast steering committee, the Showmen's Guild members, and of course the voluntary hard work of our own club members which all combine to maintain this unique event. When all accounts are cleared our community service funds for other future events will be boosted by a substantial amount and we look forward to your support of these and serving you all again, at the ox-roasting on Monday, October 5, 2009. Ron Young, Houghton Rotary Club

Town prepares to celebrate tradition dating to 1100s A TOWN is gearing up for the start of a celebration that dates back almost 1,000 years. Houghton Feast began in the 1100s, held to mark Michaelmas. An ox roast was added to the event by Rector Bernard Gilpin in the 16th Century, but the feast died out after the Second World War. It was revived in 1967 and is going from strength to strength, featuring a lantern parade, ox roast, carnival, fireworks and several other events. The fun begins next Friday, with the lantern parade and switch-on of the feast illuminations at 7pm in Broadway. The paper lanterns have been made by pupils at Burnside Primary School and the Hetton Centre Learners Group, at workshops run by arts group Movers and Shakers. The designs are on the theme of a banquet - a giant turkey, bangers and mash, a cake and candelabra. Jane Gower, of the group, said: "We have made about 150 lanterns and in among them are some very large-scale ones. "As it is Houghton Feast, we thought we'd make the theme a banquet. The children will parade with the lanterns, which have push lights, and will be led by a pipe band. It should look quite spectacular.'' Mel Speding, Sunderland City Council member with portfolio for culture and leisure, said: "Houghton Feast is an annual festival which sees people across our community coming together to celebrate the rich history of Houghton and the surrounding area and honouring local traditions. "This year, people across the community have been involved in many of the feast preparations. Arts activities particularly provide a fun and exciting way of engaging local people, and it gives them an opportunity to be involved in a festival they can be proud of." John Mawston, chairman of the feast steering committee, said: "I think the feast is important, more so than ever, because it is a community event and we are very fortunate that we get so many organisations involved.'' Ron Young, of Houghton-le-Spring Rotary Club, said 1,500 ox sandwiches would be sold, raising between £700 and £800 for charity. "We have had to put the price up to £1.80. It has been £1.60 for four years,'' he said 29/09/06

Wet wonderful weather From the Northern Echo, first published Monday 9th Oct 2000. HUNDREDS of people flocked to a community festival at the weekend to enjoy a feast of music, flowers and entertainment. The Houghton Feast 2000 was launched on Friday night with a tattoo, peal of bells and lighting of a millennium beacon on the St Michael and All Saints playing field, in Houghton-le-Spring. Saturday saw a carnival parade, featuring an array of floats, vintage and classic cars and buses, and street performers, as well as the annual pipe band competition. And a festival of flowers and heritage photographic display on the history of the village were opened. There was also the usual fun fair, the Sunshine Circus, and traditional ox roast on the Rectory Field. A free fireworks spectacular will be held on the Durham Road playing fields at 7.30pm tonight. The feast runs until October 15. Further details of the full programme visit: www.houghtonfeast.co.uk

From The Northern Echo) A TASTY treat was served up for townsfolk as a long-held annual tradition was repeated yesterday. The first slice of roast ox was ceremonially cut at the Houghton Feast showground, in Houghton-le-Spring, on Wearside. It followed a 22-hour vigil by members of the town's Rotary Club, keeping watch as the beast was slowly cooked on a spit surrounded by covered awnings. Once it was cooked, Sunderland mayor Tom Foster cut the first portions to be served in sandwiches to those waiting in the Rectory Field. Club stalwarts George Bennison and Ron Young said the oxroasting ceremony has its origins in Elizabethan times. Legendary local clergyman Bernard Gilpin, known as the Apostle of the North, began the tradition by roasting an ox or hog

HOUGHTON FEAST. With Houghton-le-Spring the name of Bernard Gilpin will be ever associated ; in sooth, civilized Houghtou dates from his advent. The "Apostle of the North," moreover, has been often mentioned in connection with the annual and most ancient feast of Houghton. But Bernard Gilpin did not "originate" Houghton Feast, as has been but recently repeated. Country feasti, which are usually observed on the Sunday after the saint's day to whom the parish church is dedicated (Houghton to St. Michael, 29th Sep- tember), took their rise from a letter written by Pops Gregory the Great, in the sixth century, to Melitus Abbott (who was sent into England with St. Austin) in these words, quoted by Bede in his Ecclesiastical His- tory : "It may, therefore, be permitted them (viz., the English) that on the dedication day, or other solemn days of martyrs, they make themselves bowers about their churches, and, refreshing themselves and feasting to- gether after a good religious sort, kill their oxn now to the praise of God and increase of charity, which before they were wont to sacrifice to the devil," Ac. Thus, by ascertaining the date of the original church at Houghton, ws may arrive somewhere near the time when the feast was first celebrated. The first Rector of Houghtou of whom I can find any record was, according to Hutchin- son, named Renaldus (1131), who flourished four cen- turies before the truly Christian Gilpin, as twentieth Rector, so thoroughly realised, in his great charity, the idea of the good Saint Gregory when he, nearly a thousand years prior, instituted, with good intent, feasts and wakes. Every Sunday, from Michaelmas till Easter, says the Durham historian, was a sort of public day with Bernard Gilpin. During this season he expected to see all his parishioners with their families. For their reception he had three tables well covered. The first was for gentle- men, the second for yeomen, and the third for day labourers. This piece of hospitality he never omitted, even at seasons when its continuance was rather difficult to him. He thought it his duty, and that was a deciding motive. When he was absent from home, no alteration was made in his family expenses : the poor were fed as usual, and his neighbours entertained ; and he was always glad of the company of men of merit and learning, who greatly frequented his house. He attended to everything which he conceived might be of service to his parishioners. He was assiduous to prevent all law suits. His hall, it is said, was often thronged with people who came to sub- mit their differences to his judgment. His hospitable manner of living was the admiration of the whole country. He spent in his family every fortnight 40 bushels of corn, 20 bushels of malt, and a whole ox, besides a proportion- able quantity of other kinds of provisions. Strangers and travellers found in his house a cheerful reception. All were welcome that came ; and even their horses had so much care taken of them that it was humorously said, " If a horse was turned loose in any part of the country, it would immediately make its way to the Rector of Houghton." N. E. R., Fence Houses.

Can anybody tell me when is Houghton Feast 2010?
When is Houghton Feast 2010?

You searched for: Keywords = Houghton Feast Event Venue Description Dates Houghton Feast Show Houghton Leisure Centre Join exhibitors and visitors at these popular annual events, with craft stalls, vegetables and flowe... 10 Oct 09 - 11 Oct 09

HOUGHTON FEAST 2010 'Annie' the Musical Saturday 3rd October 7 p.m. Tickets £7 (Adults) £5 (Concessions) Sunday 4th October 2.30 p.m. & 7 p.m. Tickets £7 (Adults) £5 (Concessions) Tuesday 6th October 7 p.m. Tickets £7 (Adults) £5 (Concessions) To book tickets please call 0191 5840764 to order/pay over the phone or call into the Academy. Click here to print a booking form. Houghton Feast Variety Shows Thursday 8th October 7 p.m. Tickets £4.50 (Adults) £3.50 (Concessions) Friday 9th October 7 p.m. Tickets £4.50 (Adults) £3.50 (Concessions) Saturday 10th October 4 p.m. & 7 p.m. Tickets £4.50 (Adults) £3.50 (Concessions) To book tickets please call 0191 5840764 to order/pay over the phone or call into the Academy. Click here to print a booking form. Houghton Feast Band Night Tuesday 13th October. 7 p.m. £3.00 entry at door. Houghton Feast Social Dance Saturday 17th October. 7.30 p.m. £3.00 entry at door.

PROGRAMME OF EVENTS AND ACTIVITIES 2010 Heats of Houghton Feast pub quiz Winners of the heats will receive the quiz prize plus a £25 voucher, redeemed only by attending the finals night, with the opportunity to win £75 first prize plus the winners trophy. Heat 1 Bob Paisley Bar, Hetton Centre Sunday 13 September Heat 2 The Beehive, Sedgeletch Sunday 20 September Heat 3 Golden Lion, Houghton Thursday 24 September Heat 4 Sun Inn, Newbottle Sunday 27 September Heat 5 Mill Inn, Rainton Bridge Tuesday 29 September Wednesday 30 September 2.00pm Age Concern afternoon of entertainment & rally Held in Houghton Sports Centre, Welfare Hall by ticket only. For details please contact 0191 553 4033. Free admission. Friday 2 October 9.30am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 1.30pm Special opening of the feast fun fair The opening will be performed by Cllr Dennis Richardson, the Right Worshipful, The Mayor of Sunderland. Thanks to the generosity of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain (Northern Region), the fun fair will be open to invited children for supervised free rides. 7.00pm Festival of Houghton Feast opening ceremony & Switch On of the feast illuminations. Local schools and community groups will be working throughout September to create dazzling lanterns. Come along and see the results as the Broadway is illuminated and the feast is opened with musical performances. Cllr Dennis Richardson, the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland will switch on the feast Illuminations and officially open the Festival of Houghton Feast 2010 Saturday 3 October Feast festival day - a day of dozens of free activities for all the family:- 9.30am – 12noon Houghton from the Air Aerial photographs of Houghton and surrounding areas by Rob Hunter in Houghton Library & Learning Centre. 9.30am- 5.00pm Houghton Art Club Will stage an exhibition in Houghton Sports Centre. Free admission 9.30am – 5.00pm – Display of Miners Banners - Houghton Sports Centre Members of the Lambton and Houghton Banner Group will be on site to share their local knowledge about the history of the banners to ensure that this important part of their heritage is never forgotten. 10.00am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street 10.00am – 1.00pm Heritage Photo Exhibition, The Broadway A free exhibition in the Broadway of old Houghton photos from years gone by. 10.30am Antique & craft event Held in Kepier School, presented by Quintet Promotions. Free admission. 11.00am Open Day, St Michael & All Angels Church Take the opportunity to look around the recently reordered church in its new splendour. Light refreshment will be served throughout the day. 1.50pm Primary School Dash Organised by Houghton Harriers. Local primary schools are invited to attend .The run will start at Houghton Sports Centre with the finish line at St Michael & All Angels church. 2.00pm Annual carnival parade Organised by Houghton Round Table, spectators can enjoy colourful floats, vintage and classic cars and buses, marching bands and steam vehicles. The parade will leave Houghton Sports Centre and proceed into the Broadway, Dairy Lane and Wheeler Street. Proceeds of the collection en-route will be donated to local charities. 4.00pm Houghton Feast bowls tournament – Grand Final Held at Houghton Town bowls club, behind the sports centre. 7.00pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy present ANNIE the musical at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets £7.00 conc. £5.00 7.30pm Houghton Brass Band, St Michael & All Angels Church Concert with guest soloist Mark Bousie, tickets £3.00 available from Houghton Library & Learning Centre Sunday 4 October 10.00am- 4.00pm Houghton art club Will stage an exhibition in Houghton Sports Complex. Free admission 10.00am Festival civic service – St Michael & All Angels Church A grand service of thanksgiving for community life attended by the Lord Lieutenant, Cllr D Richardson, the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland, Members of Parliament, civic dignitaries, and many other public servants. 10.30am Morning Worship - Houghton Methodist Church 2.30pm & 7.00pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy present ANNIE the musical at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets £7.00 conc.£5.00 6.00pm Festival Evensong - St Michael & All Angels Church An opportunity to share in a service of worship within the Anglican tradition. 7.30pm Feast Hymn Singing with various guests introducing their favourite hymns. Monday 5 October 9.00am- 5.00pm Houghton art club Will stage an exhibition in Houghton Sports Centre. Free admission 9.30am Lambton Worm Exhibition – Houghton Library & Learning Centre Exhibition of book illustrations by author Andrew Jenkin in Library foyer until Friday 9 October. 1.15pm Tea dance Organised by Age Concern, Houghton, held in Houghton Sports Centre, Welfare Hall. Admission £1.00. 2.00pm Andrew Powell Houghton Library and Arts Centre Discussion with Andrew on reading and creative writing. Andrew will be promoting his new book ‘The Ark’. Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383 4.00pm Roasting of the ox The traditional feast ceremony. A roasted ox will be prepared by Houghton Rotary Club at Rectory field. All proceeds from the sale of sandwiches will be donated to local charities. 7.30pm Firework spectacular Sponsored by the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, the firework spectacular will take place at Durham Road playing fields. Tuesday 6 October 9.00am Coffee morning Held in Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 10.30am – 10.50am Shoppers service Pop in for a short service in Houghton Methodist Church 2.00pm Norman Kirtlan – Houghton Library and Learning Centre A workshop taken by forensic artist, author and ex-police officer Norman Kirtlan, who will shed some light on the hunt for the infamous Jack the Ripper. Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383 2.30pm Ecumenical service for senior citizens - St Michael & All Angels Church A hearty invitation is extended to all senior members of the community to meet together for worship. Afternoon tea will be served after the service. 7.00pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy present ANNIE the musical at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets £7.00 conc. £5.00 . Wednesday 7 October 6.00pm Fran Sandham – Houghton Library & Learning Centre Author of ‘Traversa’ one mans trek across Africa from the Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean. 7.00pm Journey through time – Houghton 1st Scout HQ (next to Houghton Quarry) A DVD screening of then and now views and vintage footage of old Houghton. After the screening each scene will be discussed, so feel free to bring along your own memories, recollections and photographs. Admittance £2.00. Places must be pre-booked on 0191 268 4688 or info@houghtonlespring.org.uk. Thursday 8 October 9.00pm Grand final of the Houghton Feast pub quiz – Houghton Buffs Club Quiz teams are invited to the battle for the Feast championship along with the winning teams from the heats. (A limit of 6 persons per team). 11.30 – 2.30pm Heritage Open Day, St Michael & All Angel Church 6.00pm Alice De Smith – Houghton Library and Learning Centre Discussion on reading and creative writing with regional author Alice de Smith. Alice has written for numerous publications including The Times, the Mail on Sunday, and Cosmopolitan. Welcome to Life is her first novel. Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383. 7.00pm Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available Tickets:£4.50 conc. £3.50 . Friday 9 October 9.30am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 6.00pm Mark Turnbull – Houghton Library and Learning Centre Houghton Le Spring author Mark Turnbull has his finger on the political, military and social pulse at one of the pivotal moments in British history and he effortlessly transports you back to those momentous days with ‘Decision most deadly’ Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383. 7.00pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at the Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets:£4.50 conc. £3.50. Medieval Banquet - St Michael & All Angels Church, The Broadway Tickets £12.00 from Michael Foster tel: 07860 250 300

Can anybody tell me when is Houghton Feast 2010?
When is Houghton Feast 2010? Saturday 10 October 10.00am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 10.00am Houghton Feast horticultural show held in Houghton Sports Centre 10.00am – 12noon Singing in the Rain – Houghton Library and Learning Centre A photo and video exhibition on the history of Houghton Feast, commemorating the 60th anniversary of community hymn singing, which used to attract 1000s to the Broadway at the Feast in years gone by. The exhibition features rare and unseen photos, plus footage from the 1930’s and 1950’s. 12.00noon Annual gymnastic display Held at Houghton Sports Centre by the children of Houghton Gym Club. 2.00pm Homicide in Houghton 4 – Houghton Library and Learning Centre Join best selling author Sheila Quigley and local historian Paul Lanagan on an investigation of the fictional murder scenes from Sheila’s books. The free tour departs from the corner of Rectory Field, next to Houghton Police Station and returns to Houghton Library and Learning Centre for refreshments, when Sheila will read an exclusive preview from her next novel Road to Hell. Book by telephone on 0191 561 6383 as places are strictly limited. 4.00pm & 7.00pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at the Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets: £4.50 conc. £3.50. Sunday 11 October 10.00am Houghton Feast horticultural show Held in Houghton Sports Centre, the presentation of prizes and grand charity auction will take place at 5.00pm. 10.00am St Michael & All Angels Church A family celebration of Holy Communion with hymns and a sermon (plus a creche and Young Church). 10.30am Morning worship – Harvest Thanksgiving Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 11.00am Houghton Feast five a side soccer knockout competition Held at Houghton Sports Centre, contact 0191 553 6465 for details. 1.00pm Houghton Feast family walk Enjoy a gentle stroll through some of the districts most beautiful countryside around the Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve. Registration is on arrival for a ‘rolling start’ between 1.00pm – 2.00pm. Walkers please meet at the Durham Wildlife Trust Headquarters, Rainton Meadows Nature reserve. Contact 0191 561 8433 for further details. Free admission.

Houghton Feast 2010 Wednesday 30 Sep 09 - Thursday 15 Oct 09 Most events are FREE, but there is a small charge where stated Various locations in Houghton-le-Spring This years Houghton Feast will be bigger and better than ever, with a whole host of events for all the family. Visitors are in for a treat as the Broadway is illuminated by dazzling lanterns to mark the opening of the festival on Friday 2 October at 7pm at the Broadway. The Mayor of Sunderland Councillor Dennis Richardson will officially open the festival. There’s an exciting programme of events and activities including the traditional fun fair at Rectory Park, firework displays, the annual carnival parade will take place on Saturday 3 October at 2pm, a craft fair, pub quizzes, a grand variety show by Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy and of course, the famous ‘Roasting of the Ox’. The ancient festival is steeped in tradition and has been running since the 12th Century as a two-day fair, which was extended to ten days in 1967. The ten-day festival will run from 2 - 11 October in various locations across Houghton-le-Spring and will combine a unique mix of traditional and modern activities that will bring together community, voluntary and professionally staged events

Can anybody tell me when is Houghton Feast 2010?
When is Houghton Feast 2010?

Wednesday 30 September2pm Age Concern afternoon of entertainment & rally Held in Houghton Sports Centre, Welfare Hall by ticket only. For details please contact 0191 553 4033. Free admission. Friday 2 October9.30am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 1.30pm Special opening of the feast fun fair The opening will be performed by Cllr Dennis Richardson, the Right Worshipful The Mayor of Sunderland. Thanks to the generosity of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain (Northern Region), the fun fair will be open to invited children for supervised free rides. 7pm Festival of Houghton Feast opening ceremony & Switch On of the feast illuminations. Local schools and community groups will be working throughout September to create dazzling lanterns. Come along and see the results as the Broadway is illuminated and the feast is opened with musical performances. Cllr Dennis Richardson, the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland will switch on the feast Illuminations and officially open the Festival of Houghton Feast 2010 Saturday 3 OctoberFeast festival day - a day of dozens of free activities for all the family:- 9.30am – 12noon Houghton from the Air Aerial photographs of Houghton and surrounding areas by Rob Hunter in Houghton Library & Learning Centre. 9.30am- 5pm Houghton Art Club Will stage an exhibition in Houghton Sports Centre. Free admission 9.30am – 5pm – Display of Miners Banners - Houghton Sports Centre Members of the Lambton and Houghton Banner Group will be on site to share their local knowledge about the history of the banners to ensure that this important part of their heritage is never forgotten. 10am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street 10am – 1pm Heritage Photo Exhibition, The Broadway A free exhibition in the Broadway of old Houghton photos from years gone by. 10.30am Antique & craft event Held in Kepier School, presented by Quintet Promotions. Free admission. 11am Open Day, St Michael & All Angels Church Take the opportunity to look around the recently reordered church in its new splendour. Light refreshment will be served throughout the day. 1.50pm Primary School Dash Organised by Houghton Harriers. Local primary schools are invited to attend .The run will start at Houghton Sports Centre with the finish line at St Michael & All Angels church. 2pm Annual carnival parade Organised by Houghton Round Table, spectators can enjoy colourful floats, vintage and classic cars and buses, marching bands and steam vehicles. The parade will leave Houghton Sports Centre and proceed into the Broadway, Dairy Lane and Wheeler Street. Proceeds of the collection en-route will be donated to local charities. 4pm Houghton Feast bowls tournament – Grand Final Held at Houghton Town bowls club, behind the sports centre. 7pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents ANNIE the musical at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets £7 conc. £5 7.30pm Houghton Brass Band, St Michael & All Angels Church Concert with guest soloist Mark Bousie, tickets £3.00 available from Houghton Library & Learning Centre Sunday 4 October10am - 4pm Houghton art club Will stage an exhibition in Houghton Sports Complex. Free admission 10am Festival civic service – St Michael & All Angels Church A grand service of thanksgiving for community life attended by the Lord Lieutenant, Cllr D Richardson, the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland, Members of Parliament, civic dignitaries, and many other public servants. 10.30am Morning Worship - Houghton Methodist Church 2.30pm & 7pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy present ANNIE the musical at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets £7 conc.£5 6pm Festival Evensong - St Michael & All Angels Church An opportunity to share in a service of worship within the Anglican tradition. 7.30pm Feast Hymn Singing with various guests introducing their favourite hymns. Monday 5 October9am- 5pm Houghton art club Will stage an exhibition in Houghton Sports Centre. Free admission 9.30am Lambton Worm Exhibition – Houghton Library & Learning Centre Exhibition of book illustrations by author Andrew Jenkin in Library foyer until Friday 9 October. 1.15pm Tea dance Organised by Age Concern, Houghton, held in Houghton Sports Centre, Welfare Hall. Admission £1. 2pm Andrew Powell Houghton Library and Arts Centre Discussion with Andrew on reading and creative writing. Andrew will be promoting his new book ‘The Ark’. Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383 4pm Roasting of the ox The traditional feast ceremony. A roasted ox will be prepared by Houghton Rotary Club at Rectory field. All proceeds from the sale of sandwiches will be donated to local charities. 7.30pm Firework spectacular Sponsored by the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, the firework spectacular will take place at Durham Road playing fields. Tuesday 6 October9am Coffee morning Held in Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 10.30am – 10.50am Shoppers service Pop in for a short service in Houghton Methodist Church 2pm Norman Kirtlan – Houghton Library and Learning Centre A workshop taken by forensic artist, author and ex-police officer Norman Kirtlan, who will shed some light on the hunt for the infamous Jack the Ripper. Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383 2.30pm Ecumenical service for senior citizens - St Michael & All Angels Church A hearty invitation is extended to all senior members of the community to meet together for worship. Afternoon tea will be served after the service. 7pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents ANNIE the musical at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets £7 conc. £5 Wednesday 7 October6pm Fran Sandham – Houghton Library & Learning Centre Author of ‘Traversa’ one man’s trek across Africa from the Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean. 7pm Journey through time – Houghton 1st Scout HQ (next to Houghton Quarry) A DVD screening of then and now views and vintage footage of old Houghton. After the screening each scene will be discussed, so feel free to bring along your own memories, recollections and photographs. Admittance £2. Places must be pre-booked on 0191 268 4688 or info@houghtonlespring.org.uk. Thursday 8 October9pm Grand final of the Houghton Feast pub quiz – Houghton Buffs Club Quiz teams are invited to the battle for the Feast championship along with the winning teams from the heats. (A limit of 6 persons per team). 11.30 – 2.30pm Heritage Open Day, St Michael & All Angel Church 6pm Alice De Smith – Houghton Library and Learning Centre Discussion on reading and creative writing with regional author Alice de Smith. Alice has written for numerous publications including The Times, the Mail on Sunday, and Cosmopolitan. Welcome to Life is her first novel. Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383. 7pm Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at The Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets: £4.50 conc. £3.50. Friday 9 October 9.30am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 6pm Mark Turnbull – Houghton Library and Learning Centre Houghton Le Spring author Mark Turnbull has his finger on the political, military and social pulse at one of the pivotal moments in British history and he effortlessly transports you back to those momentous days with ‘Decision most deadly’ Booking required: for further information please ring 0191 561 6383. 7pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at the Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets: £4.50 conc. £3.50. Medieval Banquet - St Michael & All Angels Church, The Broadway Tickets £12 from Michael Foster, contact 07860 250 300 Saturday 10 October 10am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 10am Houghton Feast horticultural show Held in Houghton Sports Centre 10am – 12noon Singing in the Rain – Houghton Library and Learning Centre A photo and video exhibition on the history of Houghton Feast, commemorating the 60th anniversary of community hymn singing, which used to attract 1000s to the Broadway at the Feast in years gone by. The exhibition features rare and unseen photos, plus footage from the 1930’s and 1950’s. 12noon Annual gymnastic display Held at Houghton Sports Centre by the children of Houghton Gym Club. 2pm Homicide in Houghton 4 – Houghton Library and Learning Centre Join best selling author Sheila Quigley and local historian Paul Lanagan on an investigation of the fictional murder scenes from Sheila’s books. The free tour departs from the corner of Rectory Field, next to Houghton Police Station and returns to Houghton Library and Learning Centre for refreshments, when Sheila will read an exclusive preview from her next novel Road to Hell. Book by telephone on 0191 561 6383 as places are strictly limited. 4pm & 7pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at the Academy Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. Tickets: £4.50 conc. £3.50. Sunday 11 October 10am Houghton Feast horticultural show Held in Houghton Sports Centre, the presentation of prizes and grand charity auction will take place at 5pm. 10am St Michael & All Angels Church A family celebration of Holy Communion with hymns and a sermon (plus a creche and Young Church). 10.30am Morning worship – Harvest Thanksgiving Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 11am Houghton Feast five a side soccer knockout competition Held at Houghton Sports Centre, contact 0191 553 6465 for details. 1pm Houghton Feast family walk Enjoy a gentle stroll through some of the districts most beautiful countryside around the Rainton Meadows Nature Reserve. Registration is on arrival for a ‘rolling start’ between 1pm – 2pm. Walkers please meet at the Durham Wildlife Trust Headquarters, Rainton Meadows Nature reserve. Contact 0191 561 8433 for further details. Free admission. Event information may be subject to change or cancellation, please check before travelling. Sunderland City Council makes every effort to maintain the accuracy of the information on this website but cannot accept responsibility for any error or alteration to details which may occur. see events & festivals see museums & galleries see theatre & music see the great outdoors see sport & leisure see history & heritage see words search events Pick a date: Today, Tomorrow, This Week, This Weekend, This Month, Next Month, Full Events Diary Enter specific dates (dd/mm/yy): From DD 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31From MM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12From YY 09 10 11 To DD 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31To MM 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12To YY 09 10 11 Pick a category of events: Select theme City Centre Family Fun Festivals Free Heritage Museums & Galleries Sport & Leisure Talks The Great Outdoors Theatre & Music Venue search: Find events by venue: Keyword search: Find events with any of these words:

Can anybody tell me when is Houghton Feast 2012?

When is Houghton Feast 2012?
Houghton Feast 2012 starts on Friday October 5th 2012, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 7th 2012.

When is Houghton Feast 2013?
Houghton Feast 2013 starts on Friday October 4th 2013, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 6th 2013.

When is Houghton Feast 2014?
Houghton Feast 2014 starts on Friday October 3rd 2014, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 5th 2014.

When is Houghton Feast 2015?
Houghton Feast 2015 starts on Friday October 2nd 2015, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 4th 2015.

When is Houghton Feast 2016?
Houghton Feast 2016 starts on Friday October 7th 2016, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 9th 2016.

When is Houghton Feast 2017?
Houghton Feast 2017 starts on Friday October 6th 2017, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 8th 2017.

When is Houghton Feast 2018?
Houghton Feast 2018 starts on Friday October 5th 2018, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 7th 2018.

When is Houghton Feast 2019?
Houghton Feast 2019 starts on Friday October 4th 2019, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 6th 2019.

When is Houghton Feast 2020?
Houghton Feast 2020 starts on Friday October 2nd 2020, with Houghton Feast Sunday being Sunday October 4th 2020.

Houghton Feast 1967 was held on Sunday October 8 1967 08/10/1967

Houghton Feast 1968 was held on Sunday October 6 1968 06/10/1968

Houghton Feast 1969 was held on Sunday October 5 1969 05/10/1969

Houghton Feast 1970 was held on Sunday October 4 1970 04/10/1970

Houghton Feast 1971 was held on Sunday October 10 1971 10/10/1971

Houghton Feast 1972 was held on Sunday October 8 1972 08/10/1972

Houghton Feast 1973 was held on Sunday October 7 1973 07/10/1973

Houghton Feast 1974 was held on Sunday October 6 1974 06/10/1974

Houghton Feast 1975 was held on Sunday October 5 1975 05/10/1975

Houghton Feast 1976 was held on Sunday October 10 1976 10/10/1976

Houghton Feast 1977 was held on Sunday October 9 1977 09/10/1977

Houghton Feast 1978 was held on Sunday October 8 1978 08/10/1978

Houghton Feast 1979 was held on Sunday October 7 1979 07/10/1979

Houghton Feast 1980 was held on Sunday October 5 1980 05/10/1980

Houghton Feast 1981 was held on Sunday October 4 1981 04/10/1981

Houghton Feast 1982 was held on Sunday October 10 1982 10/10/1982

Houghton Feast 1983 was held on Sunday October 9 1983 09/10/1983

Houghton Feast 1984 was held on Sunday October 7 1984 07/10/1984

Houghton Feast 1985 was held on Sunday October 6 1985 06/10/1985

Houghton Feast 1986 was held on Sunday October 5 1986 05/10/1986

Houghton Feast 1987 was held on Sunday October 4 1987 04/10/1987

Houghton Feast 1988 was held on Sunday October 9 1988 09/10/1988

Houghton Feast 1989 was held on Sunday October 8 1989 08/10/1989

Houghton Feast 1990 was held on Sunday October 7 1990 07/10/1990

Houghton Feast 1991 was held on Sunday October 6 1991 06/10/1991

Houghton Feast 1992 was held on Sunday October 4 1992 04/10/1992

Houghton Feast 1993 was held on Sunday October 10 1993 10/10/1993

Houghton Feast 1994 was held on Sunday October 9 1994 09/10/1994

Houghton Feast 1995 was held on Sunday October 8 1995 08/10/1995

Houghton Feast 1996 was held on Sunday October 6 1996 06/10/1996

Houghton Feast 1997 was held on Sunday October 5 1997 05/10/1997

Houghton Feast 1998 was held on Sunday October 4 1998 04/10/1998

Houghton Feast 1999 was held on Sunday October 3 1999 03/10/1999

Houghton Feast 2000 was held on Sunday October 8 2000 08/10/2000

Houghton Feast 2001 was held on Sunday October 7 2001 07/10/2001

Houghton Feast 2002 was held on Sunday October 6 2002 06/10/2002

Houghton Feast 2003 was held on Sunday October 5 2003 05/10/2003

Houghton Feast 2004 was held on Sunday October 10 2004 10/10/2004

Houghton Feast 2005 was held on Sunday October 9 2005 09/10/2005

Houghton Feast 2006 was held on Sunday October 8 2006 08/10/2006

Houghton Feast 2007 was held on Sunday October 7 2007 07/10/2007

Houghton Feast 2008 was held on Sunday October 5 2008 05/10/2008

Houghton Feast 2009 was held on Sunday October 4 2009 04/10/2009

Houghton Feast 2010 was held on Sunday October 10 2010 10/10/2010

Houghton Feast 2011 is held on Sunday October 9 2011 09/10/2011

Houghton Feast 2012 is held on Sunday October 7 2012 07/10/2012

Houghton Feast 2013 is held on Sunday October 6 2013 06/10/2013

Houghton Feast 2014 is held on Sunday October 5 2014 05/10/2014

Houghton Feast 2015 is held on Sunday October 4 2015 04/10/2015

Houghton Feast 2016 is held on Sunday October 9 2016 09/10/2016

Houghton Feast 2017 is held on Sunday October 8 2017 08/10/2017

Houghton Feast 2018 is held on Sunday October 7 2018 07/10/2018

Houghton Feast 2019 is held on Sunday October 6 2019 06/10/2019

Houghton Feast 2020 is held on Sunday October 4 2020 04/10/2020

Houghton Feast 2021 is held on Sunday October 10 2021 10/10/2021

In 1967 The Rotary Club recreated the ox-roast as part of Houghton Feast and have done it ever since. In that first year a whole bullock was cooked over an open coke fire. Now four large boneless joints are attached to the spit with wire strapping and cooked over a specially built gas fire. It still takes at least 18 hours to cook and club members take shifts through the night to turn the spit. Customers queue for hours and as soon as the Mayor has cut the first slice the hectic sale of around 1600 sandwiches takes place. Over the years the ox-roast has raised thousands of pounds for charities, in memory of Bernard Gilpin. The sad and ironic conclusion to the story of Bernard Gilpin is that in 1583 he was knocked down by an ox in Durham Market Place and died shortly afterwards.

About our Parish Houghton-le-Spring is a former mining town on the edge of Sunderland heading out to Durham, with a population of approximately 12,000. Houghton boasts a proud history, gaining its standing first through farming, then through mining. Back in mining times, it was a thriving centre for a number of pit villages, with cinemas, ice cream parlours, tailors shops and all manner of grocery and hardware stores. Today, it is on the rise again with a busy shopping centre, a range of offices, an industrial estate and numerous residential areas. Former mining and quarrying sites have been regenerated into nature reserves and much of the area consists of open countryside. The history of Houghton-le-Spring is centred around St Michael and All Angels church and the much loved figure of Bernard Gilpin (1517-1583), known as ëthe Apostle of the Northí. Renowned for his dedication to spreading the Christian Gospel in the North East and for his generosity to the poor, Bernard Gilpin established the first school in Houghton and regularly used to keep the inhabitants from starvation by roasting an ox and sharing out food to those in need. To this day the town commemorates Bernard Gilpinís generosity in the ëOx Roastí, a central part of the annual ëHoughton Feastí, a week-long town festival that features a mini Edinburgh-style tattoo, a carnival with floats, bagpipe competitions, and a huge range of arts, crafts, musical and drama activities. Population: 12000

Families enjoy Houghton feast ox roast Published Date: 06 October 2009 Houghton's traditional roast proved a tasty treat for families tucking in at the annual event. People began queuing at lunchtime yesterday to make sure they got their hands on the ever-popular hot beef sandwiches. The roasting of the ox is the centrepiece of the Houghton Feast celebrations, which began on Friday. The roasting is said to date back to the 16th century, when Houghton Rector Bernard Gilpin fed the poor of the parish by giving them a bullock or hog to roast at the religious feast of Michaelmas. Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Dennis Richardson, had the honour of cutting the first slice. "The queue just keeps getting longer," he said. "All you've got to do is smell it to understand why and the sandwiches are wonderful. "It's a tradition that nobody else in Sunderland has got. "It'll definitely continue year after year. Sunderland will drop into the ocean before we give this up." The traditional feast ceremony was organised by Houghton Rotary Club, which prepared the beast to raise money for community charities and Polio Plus. "It's as popular as ever," said club co-ordinator Ron Young. "It's a tradition passed down by families. "We've always done it and it tastes as good as ever, so people keep turning up every year. "It's great value and they're giving for a good cause."

Children add a splash of colour From the Northern Echo, first published Friday 1st Oct 2004. THE launch of a traditional community festival will feature colurful creatures this year. Spectacular puppets created by local youngsters, backed by the Busy Ape Arts group, will provide a colourful feature of next Friday's Houghton Feast opening ceremony in Houghton-le-Spring, east Durham. Busy Ape Arts is a team of artists who promote and encourage creative thoughts, words and action through artforms. They were recruited by feast organisers to team up with local children, including St Michael's RC Primary School, in Old Durham Road, to help brighten the ceremony. Each puppet will take the character of a typical person who might have attended or entertained at Houghton Feast over its history, believed to date from medieval times. Characters include clowns, chefs, flower-sellers, miners and dancing bears, and will form part of the spectacular procession of "magical glowing" puppets. The illuminated puppet parade, starting from Houghton Kepier School, in Dairy Lane, will end in front of crowds outside the parish church of St Michael and All Angels, in the Broadway. Feast arts co-ordinator Val Craggs said: "I hope it helps to encourage visitors to come along on a dark October evening to witness a visually stunning procession, backed by a fantastic sound and light show to mark the beginning of a week-long programme of community events." The ceremony will start at 7pm on Friday, with the annual feast carnival parade the following afternoon, from 2.30pm. Another feast tradition, the ox-roast, will take place on Monday, October 11, from 4pm on the Rectory Field, followed by a free fireworks display at Durham Road Playing Fields, starting at 7.30pm. Full details of the feast launch are available from Houghton Library and Learning Centre, on 0191-553 6475. Published: 01/10/2004

People feasted on 240 kilos of beef IT is our pleasure once again to report a highly successful Ox Roasting and thank the people of Houghton for their continued magnificent support. The starting queue, with the excellent weather, seemed longer than ever and enabled a complete sell-out of 240 kilos of beef in sandwiches within two hours of hectic activity. Thanks to our local councillor and Mayor of the city, Dennis Richardson, accompanied by his wife Anne, for continuing the tradition of cutting the first slice to give to the first person in the queue, who was there at 1.30pm for a 4pm start. Again we are indebted to our regular sponsors and suppliers: Piper's Quality Butchers, Edinburgh Bakery Ltd (Graham Turnbull), Sunderland Scaffolding Co (Anthony Stephenson), George Vardy (Haulage), Whitfield's Chemists, Alex Scullion Electricals, the invaluable help and expertise of the city gas crew and administration staff, John Mawston of the Feast Steering Committee, the Showman's Guild on the fairground and, of course, the voluntary hard work of our Rotary Club members throughout the weekend which all combine to maintain this unique historic event. There will be a substantial boost to our Community Services Funds towards our regular events for the public and organisations in Houghton and we look forward to serving you all again on Monday, October 11, 2010. Ron Young, Ox Roasting Co-ordinator, The Rotary Club of Houghton
Ceremony opens historic festival An annual historic festival lasting 10 days and thought to date back more than 900 years, begins on Wearside. The Houghton Feast is believed to have originated in the 1100s celebrating the dedication of the parish Church of St Michael and All Angels. The event starts on Friday with a spectacular opening ceremony, street parade and lighting display. One of the highlights will be the ox roasting on Monday, when the mayor of Sunderland will cut the first slice. Houghton Rector Bernard Gilpin is believed to have started the celebration of the ox roasting in the 16th Century. The famous clergyman, also known as the Apostle of the North, is known to have fed the poor of the parish by giving them a bullock or hog to roast at Michaelmas. At the opening ceremony on the Broadway, local historian John Grundy will narrate while puppet parades and performers play their part in telling the history of the festival.

Join The Feast Parade! For more than 30 years Houghton-le-Spring & District Round Table organisation has voluntarily organised the annual parade as a highlight of the Houghton Feast activities. Each year thousands of Houghton families enjoy this unique event . . . provided for the community and despite the many changes in legislation and modern life, Houghton Round Table strives to improve the procession each year and involve a variety of volunteers, community organisations, companies and business groups. We write to invite any interetsed groups to be involved this year and really make a difference in our town and perhaps to promote your company or organisations profile in the community .... the best and cheapest advertisement ever. The Round Table have received a grant from Sunderland City Council and all participants will receive a commemorative gift and there may also be a small grant available to help participants decorate your entry. You can enter the parade as either a walking or in/on a vehicle of some sort.. The Parade will commence at 2.00 p.m., but participants will be invited to meet at Houghton Kepier Medical Group Car Park, Leyburn Grove by 1.30 p.m. The Parade is guided through Houghton Town Centre and returns to the complex car park, supervised by Stewards and Traffic Management. Please enter early and support the Feast by entering your group. Ever changing legislation means that many community events and activities are now under threat and we require much more Health and Safety, Insurance and Council Risk Management so although the feast is not until Saturday 9th October please enter as soon as possible. If you are interested please complete this application form, and either print and return it using the details on the bottom of the form or use the submit button to send online.

Houghton Feast 10K Multi Terrain Race Sunday 10 October 2010 - 11:00Venue: Hetton Lyons Country Park Houghton le Spring North County Durham DH5 0RH Distance: 5.1 - 10 Km (3.16 - 6.2 Miles) Limit: 200 Last year: 65 Profile: Undulating Water stations: Yes Awards/mementos: Yes Distance markers: N/A Venue facilites: parking, toilets Affiliated entry: £5.50 Unaffiliated entry: £7.50 On the day affiliated entry: £7.50 On the day unaffiliated entry: £9.50 Contact: Peter Dodsworth, 14 Balmoral Terrace, Grangetown, Sunderland, SR2 9QG Tel: 01915651158 Eve: 01915651158 Mob: 07849 403313 dodsworth.14balmoral@ntlworld.com www.houghtonharriers.org

HOUGHTON-LE-SPRING ROUND TABLE 589 Houghton Feast Carnival Parade Saturday, 9th October 2010 Meet in NEW VENUE Houghton Kepier Medical Centre Car Park (map attached) no later than 1.30 p.m. NEW START TIME 2.00 p.m. APPLICATION FORM NAME OF ORGANISATION. CONTACT NAME ADDRESS... PHONE NUMBER YOUR ENTRY WILL BE (e.g. Wagon float / Vehicle / Walking etc. DO YOU REQUIRE ANY ASSISTANCE YES / NO* IF POSSIBLE DO YOU REQUIRE ANY FINANCIAL HELP YES / NO* DOES YOUR ORGANISATION HAVE INSURANCE YES / NO* DOES YOUR VEHICLE HAVE INSURANCE YES / NO* HAVE YOU ANY RISK ASSESSMENT YES / NO* *Please delete as appropriate ANY OTHER REQUIREMENTS. PLEASE SUPPLY PUBLICITY DETAILS TO PROMOTE YOUR ENTRY AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION WHICH WILL BE USED BY THE COMPERE ON THE DAY PLEASE RETURN COMPLETED FORM TO: John Price, Parade Organiser 2010, Houghton-le-Spring Round Table Whitefield, Gillas Lane East, Houghton-le-Spring DH5 8LB E.mail: john.price@hettontowncouncil.gov.uk

The Parish Notice Books are also useful sources of information about both spiritual and social matters. Unfortunately the oldest one remaining in the parish dates only from 1929. The earliest entry shows that Houghton Feast was celebrated extensively in the parish. On Sunday there was Solemn High Mass on the morning, open air procession, sermon and Benediction in the afternoon in honour of St. Michael, patron saint. There was an address and concert in the evening. On Monday a tea in the afternoon and a social in the evening.

"Clown, beau, and belle, came feastward trooping forth, "The grave, the gay, the handsome, and the witty." Now comes the season round again, When joy and mirth seize every swain, When damsels doff their clouted shoon, The apron check and linsey gown, To sport new dresses, ribbons blue, White, red and green, of every hue; This season near Saint Michael's day, Devoted long to mirth and play, When sombre Houghton, all alive, From yearly torpor will revive, And hail the day with joy sincere That brings her shows and races here. From Lumley, Lambton, Shiney-row, They come new-clad from top to toe;- From Raintons, Pittington, Belmont, From Haswell, Hetton Downs, as wont;- From Penshers twain, both old and new, From Offerton and Hylton too;- From Usworth, Wrekenton, Black Fell, Oxclose and Washington as well;- With Wapping last, where pigs are rife All times, and ready for the knife. Sing, Muse of sprightly mien and grace, The varied sights in Market-place. There stalls innumerous meet the eye, While flags and banners flaunt on high; Shows by the score arrest the sense, And what's worth pounds is seen for pence.

Houghton Feast 10K Multi Terrain Race Sunday 10th. October 2010. Starts at 11.00 am. Under UK Athletics Rules PERMIT No. 2010101048 The one lap course (10,000 m approx) is multi terrain using country paths and tracks. Starting and finishing at the picturesque Hetton Lyons Country Park it is considered to be one of the most scenic races in the North East. The Michael Page Memorial Trophy PRIZES: - Individuals :- First four men, First Woman & First Veteran Woman Teams:- First teams only, first four to count from any age group. Otherwise not a prizewinner:- First Veteran Man O/50, O/60 & O/70 , Veteran Woman O/40 & O/50 OTHER PRIZES DEPENDING ON ENTRIES RACE CONDITIONS: - The Michael Page Memorial Trophy will be presented to the winner and must be returned before next year's race. All entries will be entered by date of birth into their race category. Runners must be aged 15 years or over on the day of the race. The Race promoter reserves the right to amend the prize list. Race organizers shall not be held liable for any injury, accident, damage or loss caused during the race meeting. ENTRY FEE :- AFFILIATED RUNNER £5.50 . UNATTACHED RUNNER £7.50. ENTRIES ON THE DAY, £2.00 EXTRA. CLOSING DATE:- MONDAY 27th. Septemer Entries after the closing date and entries on the day will count for individual and team prizes. Cheque to be made payable to Houghton Harriers & A.C. and sent to Mr P.Dodsworth, 14 Balmoral Terrace, Grangetown, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR2 9QG. Tel. 0191 5651158. Email address:- dodsworth.14balmoral@ntlworld.com or www.houghtonharriers.org for prospectus

Programme of events and activities 2010 Heats of Houghton Feast pub quiz Winners of the heats will receive the quiz prize plus a £25 voucher, redeemed only by attending the finals night, with the opportunity to win £75 first prize plus the winners trophy. Heat 1 Bob Paisley Bar, Hetton Centre Sunday 19 September Heat 2 The Beehive, Sedgeletch Sunday 26 September Heat 3 Sun Inn, Newbottle Sunday 3 October Heat 4 Mill Inn, Rainton Bridge Tuesday 5 October Heat 5 Golden Lion, Houghton Thursday 7 October 2pmAge UK Rally Afternoon of entertainment held in Houghton Sports Centre, Welfare Hall by ticket only. For further information contact 0191 553 4033. 6.30pmWriter David Simpson, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre Born in Durham City David worked as a researcher and columnist for the Northern Echo, he has made numerous TV appearances and is the author of many Northern History books. For further information contact 0191 561 6383. 9.30am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 1.30pmSpecial opening of the feast fun fair The opening will be performed by Cllr Tom Martin, the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland. Thanks to the generosity of the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain (Northern Region), the fun fair will be open to invited children for supervised free rides. Wednesday 6 October Thursday 7 October Friday 8 October 7pmFestival of Houghton Feast opening ceremony & Switch On of the feast illuminations. Local schools and community groups will be working throughout September to create dazzling lanterns, which will parade into the Broadway supported by various performances with an international theme. Cllr Tom Martin, the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland will switch on the feast Illuminations and officially open the Festival of Houghton Feast 2010. Feast festival day - a day of dozens of free activities for all the family: 9.30am to 5pm Houghton Art Club Will stage an exhibition in Houghton Kepier School. Free admission 9.30am to 5pm Display of Miners Banners, Houghton Sports Centre Members of the Lambton and Houghton Banner Group will share their local knowledge about the history of the banners to ensure that this important part of their heritage is never forgotten. 10amCoffee morning, Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 10am to 3pm Heritage Photograph and WWII Exhibition, The Broadway Photos of old Houghton will be on display, along with a small ‘Home Front’ exhibition to commemorate the 65th anniversary of VE day. 10.30am Antique & craft event Held in Kepier School, presented by Quintet Promotions. Free admission. 11amOpen Day, St Michael & All Angels Church Take the opportunity to look around the recently reordered church in its new splendour. Light refreshment will be served throughout the day. 2pmAnnual carnival parade, leaving from Kepier Medical Centre Organised by Houghton Round Table, spectators can enjoy colourful floats, vintage and classic cars and buses. Marching bands and steam vehicles will proceed into the Broadway, Dairy Lane and Wheeler Street. Proceeds of the collection en-route will be donated to local charities. 4pmHoughton Feast bowls tournament – Grand Final Held at Houghton Town bowls club, behind the sports centre. 7pmHoughton Dance & Performing Arts Academy present FAME The Musical at Zazz Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. For further information contact 0191 584 0764 7.30pmHoughton Brass Band, St Michael & All Angels Church Concert featuring Houghton Brass band and Hetton Lyons Male Voice Choir. Tickets £3.00 available from Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre 10amFestival civic service, St Michael & All Angels Church A grand service of thanksgiving for community life attended by the Lord Lieutenant, Cllr T Martin, the Right Worshipful, the Mayor of Sunderland, Members of Parliament, civic dignitaries, and many other public servants. 10.30am Morning Worship, Houghton Methodist Church 11amHoughton Feast 10K Multi-terrain Race Starting and finishing at the picturesque Hetton Lyons Country Park. For further details telephone Mr P Dodsworth on 0191 5651158 or email dodsworth.14balmoral@ntlworld.com 2pm & 7pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy present FAME The Musical at Zazz Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. For further information contact 0191 584 0764 6pmFestival Evensong, St Michael & All Angels Church An opportunity to share in a service of worship within the Anglican tradition. 7.30pmFeast Hymn Singing Theme for the evening is education with the attendance of local schools. Saturday 9 October Sunday 10 October 1.15pmTea dance Organised by Age UK, Houghton, held in Houghton Sports Centre, Welfare Hall. Admission £1.00. 4pmRoasting of the ox The traditional feast ceremony. A roasted ox will be prepared by Houghton Rotary Club at Rectory field. All proceeds from the sale of sandwiches will be donated to local charities. 6pm to 7.30pm Sandra Rowell Local author Sandra Rowell is a Costa nominated author who began writing as a child. Sandra will be discussing her recently published book ‘Silence of the Night’, with the aim of inspiring others to write. 7.30pmFirework spectacular Sponsored by the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain, the firework spectacular will take place at Durham Road playing fields. 9amCoffee morning, Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 10.30am to 10.50am Shoppers service Pop in for a short service in Houghton Methodist Church 10am to 11am Dora the Explorer A visit by the popular TV character who will take part in a storytime session. Younger readers can listen to stories with Dora herself. 10am to 2pm Janet Macleod Trotter, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre This best selling author Janet has written many historical novels set in the North East where she was brought up. For further information contact 0191 561 6383 2.30pmEcumenical service for senior citizens - St Michael & All Angels Church A hearty invitation is extended to all senior members of the community to meet together for worship. Afternoon tea will be served after the service. 6pmSteve Wraith, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre Steve became a freelance writer for various publications including ‘442’ and Match of the Day magazine. Steve has had his first book, The Krays, published and is busy writing another two. For further information contact 0191 561 6383 7pmHoughton Dance & Performing Arts Academy present FAME The Musical at Zazz Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. For further information contact 0191 584 0764 6pmBenita Brown, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre Benita was born and brought up in the North East, having a great love for the place and its people, it provides the inspiration for the books she writes. For further information contact 0191 561 6383. 9pmGrand final of the Houghton Feast pub quiz, Houghton Dairy Lane Bowls Club Quiz teams are invited to the battle for the Feast championship along with the winning teams from the heats. (A limit of 6 persons per team). 2pmElizabeth Gill, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre A former journalist, this local author lives in Durham City and has over 30 book published under various names. For further information contact 0191 561 6383 6pmKatchi Ozumba, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre The Nigerian author whose first novel ‘The shadow of a smile’ was short listed for the commonwealth writer’s prize. For further information contact 0191 561 6383 7pmHoughton Dance and Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at Zazz Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available For further information contact 0191 584 0764 Tuesday 12 October Monday 11 October Wednesday 13 October Thursday 14 October To Washington Brinkburn Crescent Station Grey St Mautland Sq Car Park Newbottle Street Houghton Meth. Church To Sunderland To Seaham Shops PARK Burn Park Road Wallace Street To Chester-le-Street Dairy Lane POLICE STATION Burn Promenade St Michael’s Parish Church To Durham The Broadway Church Street To Hetton Bethany Christian Centre Durham Road Houghton Park Estate The White Lion 6 5 9 4 10 8 2 3 7 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.30pmConcert by Jayne Lewis, St Michael & All Angels Church Tickets £5.00 from Malcolm Foster Tel: 07860 250 300 9.30am Coffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 6pmGraham Pears, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre A former police chief who spent 33 years fighting crime before becoming an author. For further information contact 0191 561 6383 7.30pmMedieval Banquet - St Michael & All Angels Church Tickets £15.00 from Malcolm Foster Tel: 07860 250 300 10amCoffee morning Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 10amHoughton Feast horticultural show, Houghton Sports Centre 9.30am to 12noon Houghton Feast 10, Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre A photo and video exhibition on the history of Houghton Feast, acknowledging the mystical date of this years feast 10/10/10. The exhibition features rare and unseen photos, plus footage from the 1930s and 1950s. 12noonAnnual gymnastic display Held at Houghton Sports Centre by the children of Houghton Gym Club. 2.00pmHomicide in Houghton 5 – Houghton Library & Customer Service Centre Join best selling author Sheila Quigley and local historian Paul Lanagan on an exclusive investigation of the fictional murder scenes from Sheila’s books. The free tour departs from the corner of Rectory Field, next to Houghton Police Station and returns to Houghton Library for refreshments, where Sheila will talk about her sixth novel, ‘Thorn In My Side’, Please book by telephone on 0191 561 6383 as places are strictly limited. 7pmHoughton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at Zazz Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. For further details contact 0191 554 0764 10amHoughton Feast horticultural show Held in Houghton Sports Centre, the presentation of prizes and grand charity auction will take place at 5.00pm. 10amSt Michael & All Angels Church A family celebration of Holy Communion with hymns and a sermon (plus a creche and Young Church). 10.30am Morning worship – Harvest Thanksgiving Held at Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street. 11amHoughton Feast five a side soccer knockout competition Held at Houghton Sports Centre. For further information contact 0191 553 6465. 1pmHoughton Feast family walk, Herrington Country Park Registration for a ‘rolling start’ is between 1pm to 2pm from the main building. For further details contact 0191 561 8433. 2.00pm & 7.00pm Houghton Dance & Performing Arts Academy presents a Grand Variety Show at Zazz Theatre, Newbottle Street, Houghton. Licensed bar available. For further information contact 0191 584 0764 Saturday 16 October Sunday 17 October Friday 15 October KEY VENUES Durham Road Playing Fields Firework Display Kepier School St Michael & All Angels Church Houghton Methodist Church Houghton Library and Customer Service Centre Houghton Sports Centre Houghton Dairy Lane Bowls Club Fun Fair Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy Building Kepier Hall Car parking facilities 1 2 Programme may be subject to alteration The traditional Fun Fair organised by Mr John Murphy of The Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain will operate for the duration of the Festival. Admission to all concerts is by way of ticket ‘pay at door’ at the venue. For festival information call: 0191 561 8407 or visit: www.sunderlandevents.com This information can be made available in large print, Braille, audio and other languages. Please contact the Marketing Team Team on 0191 561 8407 or email marketing@sunderland.gov.uk for help. All information correct at time of going to press. Published September 2010. oce17724 The festival of Houghton Feast 8 - 17 October 2010 HOTLINE: 0191 561 8407 www.sunderlandevents.com

1 CHURCH/ DATE The date of Houghton Feast changes each year. It's all to do with Michaelmas, the Church's dedication day on September 29th and the change of calendar from the Julian to the Gregorian and resulting 11 days difference. Houghton's folk weren't keen on this change in 1752 and celebrated the Feast as though the dates had not been omitted. Traditionally, the Feast day is the Sunday preceding October 10th, unless the 10th is a Sunday. In 1954, the Feast had a late start date and many visitors arrived in Houghton a week early! 2 GWILLIAM/GILPIN A common misbelief is that Houghton Feast was founded by Bernard Gilpin, when in fact it predates his arrival in Houghton by several centuries. Gilpin was Rector from 1558 until 1583, and each year, from Michaelmas to Easter, would regularly roast an ox or hog to feed the parish’s poor. Another of Houghton’s Rectors dedicated to the Feast was Oswald Noel Gwilliam. He became Rector in 1948 and was responsible for the rejuvenation of the Feast, with the introduction of the outdoor Community Hymn Singing and a greater emphasis on the religious side of the Festival. 3 OX ROASTING The Ox Roasting tradition has its origins in Elizabethan times with Houghton’s Rector Bernard Gilpin. It was added to the Feast line-up at the 1967 Festival revival by the Rotary Club of Houghton-le-Spring. Over the years, around 60,000 sandwiches have been served up to hungry Houghtonians! In 1996 the ox roasting equipment mysteriously disappeared and no ox roasting took place that year. Thankfully a new spit was purchased in 1997 and the hungry crowds were fed once more. 4 FAIRGROUND The Houghton Feast fairground has been housed on the Rectory Field since 1968. Before then it was located in the Market Place and the Lake ground. Older Houghtonians will remember the many sidestalls that lined the roads from Nesham Place, down Church Street and along the Broadway, selling pies, mussels, cockles and Pease pudding sandwiches. Some may even recall the rides situated on old Robinson Street, now the Co-Op car park. 5 CARNIVAL PARADE The Carnival Parade was introduced by the Round Table to Houghton Feast in 1967 as a way of recapturing the spirit of pre-War Feasts when carnivals were a common sight. It was described in the programme of events as: “a carnival of colour, fun, and spectacle, such as used to held at the Feast in the 1930s”. The parade continues to be organised by the Round Table to this day. In 1997, an estimated 10,000 spectators lined the parade route! 6 JOHN MAWSTON John Mawston is known as ‘Mr Houghton Feast’ for his longstanding involvement with the Festival. He joined Houghton Urban District Council in 1955 as a local Ward Councillor and was Chairman of the Council at the time of the Houghton Feast revival in 1967, a position which gave him the privilege of cutting the first slice of beef at the revived ox roasting. In 1976 he was appointed as permanent Chair of the Houghton Feast Steering Committee, a position he is proud to remain in to this day. 7 THE WITTY BILLY PURVIS Billy Purvis was a Tyneside clown who visited the Feast every year with his showbooth between 1818 and 1848. In 1825, Billy erected his booth in the usual place at Houghton Market Place, only to be told by a Dr Bell and a Mr Myers that he needed to pay into a racing fund; Billy refused this suspicious request and was set upon by the two! Billy stood his ground and the unwarranted attack on him left the Doctor minus three front teeth and Mr Myers with a fractured leg! Billy died on December 16th 1853 and was buried in St Hilda's Churchyard, Hartlepool. Watch out for him at this year’s Feast! 8 WHITE’S GAVIOLI ORGAN Sidney White’s Mammoth Gavioli Organ was restored in 1956 by George Parmley and a band of enthusiasts and is thought to have first visited Houghton Feast in 1959. It usually stood in the grounds of the Council Offices during its annual appearance, but can now be seen on the corner of the Broadway. At the Millennium Feast it was accompanied by: the Gavioli German Military ‘Golden Ruth’ organ; a 65 key Dutch Street Organ; and Wilf Husband’s Dance Organ. The organs are an integral part of Houghton Feast and help to create an old-time atmosphere at the Festival. 9 ILLUMINATIONS Illuminations were introduced to the Feast in 1947 and were a welcome sight after the blackout of WWII. Many of the early pieces were home-made by Billy Straughan of the Council's Engineering Department, while Leslie Westmore designed and constructed the much loved peacock (seen above in 1983) having been inspired by a children’s picture book owned by his niece, Winnie Hunter. The Gilpin Crest illumination, seen on the front cover, was introduced at the Millennium Feast of 2000. 10 RACING AT THE FEAST Horse racing was a big feature of the Feast from the 1820s up until the last race in 1938. It was the large crowds of miners and their families, with a few pennies to spare, that attracted stalls, show booths and roundabouts to the Market Place, helping the Feast to evolve into a larger event. This was not to everyone’s liking; Rev Alfred Merle Norman, Rector of Burnmoor, while preaching in St Michael’s Church on Michaelmas, 1885, encouraged the parishioners to ‘keep themselves undefiled during the Feast’! Following the outbreak of WWII, greyhound racing replaced the horse races at Houghton Stadium.

A rich Feast of fun for centuries Published on Fri Oct 07 14:19:08 BST 2005 WEARSIDE'S oldest festival gets under way today. SARAH STONER looks at the history of Houghton Feast. WARS, revolutions, slumps and depressions – Houghton Feast has survived them all during its 800-year history. The festival is believed to date back to 12th century Michaelmas celebrations, marking the dedication of the Parish Church of St Michael and All Saints. But although the dancing bears and medical quacks of olden times are long gone, the magic of the Feast continues to enthrall each new generation. "I think it remains popular because it's run by the people, for the people," said Val Craggs, city librarian and events co-ordinator. "It appeals to everybody, as it is a true community-based festival. There are activities and events for all ages and interests." Country folk would pour in from the 23 villages surrounding Houghton, and often beyond, to enjoy "all the fun of the fayre" in the Feast's early years. The slick patter of hucksters extolling their wares was commonplace, as were quacks performing seemingly miraculous cures with herbs. Performing dogs and bears provided thrilling entertainment for visitors long before mechanical swings and roundabouts stole the show. And those seeking a little good luck could easily buy some from one of the Feast's many pedlars, who did a roaring trade in cheap charms and amulets. The traditional ox-roasting ceremony, however, dates from later medieval times, when poverty-stricken villagers were fed by churchman Bernard Gilpin. Gilpin, rector of Houghton from 1557, "roasted a whole bullock for ye poor of Houghton in Ye Spryngge" as part of his good work in the village. Indeed, Gilpin became such a friend and champion to anyone in need that he eventually became known as the "Apostle of the North." These days members of Houghton Rotary Club prepare the ox and, in keeping with Gilpin's original deeds, all profits are donated to local charities. The passing of the centuries has seen an ever-changing kaleidoscope of topical entertainments enjoyed by Feast visitors. In the 1830s, when railways were still new, people could travel behind a "Puffing Billy" for a penny, which drew carriages up and down the fairground. Those brave enough to shin up a greasy pole could win a shoulder of mutton, while a glass of rum was on offer to the winner of the All Fours race. Next came a steam organ and steam-driven roundabouts, which replaced the hand-propelled hobby horses and jumping jacks. Ralf and Pedley's electric scenic railway, complete with organ, soon followed, as did a turning windmill and tumbling waterfall. Other attractions included "The Only Headless Woman in the World," a stall selling tasty nougat, the Feast horse racing handicap and a three-headed sheep. The popularity of the Feast dwindled, however, in the early part of the 20th century, until being revived by another Houghton rector – Canon Gwilliam. Gwillian, who served as rector from 1948 to 1972, persuaded Houghton Urban District Council to help plan and subsidise the event. The successful partnership continued until 1974, when the County borders were changed and Houghton became part of Sunderland. Many people feared for the Feast's future at this time, but Sunderland Council pledged to make it better than ever. A promise that was kept. Later generations of visitors were treated to waltzer rides, as well as the Wall of Death, Murphy's Proud Peacocks, Noah's Ark and House of Nonsense. The tattoed lady, hoopla stalls, the cakewalk and boxing booths – where Len Johnson flayed every challenger – also proved hugely popular. Boxing has now disappeared from the Feast, as have the traditional horse races and greyhound handicaps. But the centuries-old Civic Service at St Michael and All Angels Church, giving thanks for community life, still continues, and will be held this Sunday at 10am. Val said: "This year's Feast is better than ever, as we have worked on improving the opening ceremony to encourage young people to get involved. "If we don't get young people interested now, then eventually the Feast will die out and we certainly don't want that to happen." BERNARD Gilpin was born into an old and distinguished Westmoreland family and lived at Kentmere Hall, near Kendal. At the age of 16, following a successful career at grammar school, he was sent to Queen's College, Oxford, to further his education. Gilpin, the great nephew of the Bishop of Durham, was ordained in 1541, but made enemies in high places by defending the Catholic church. He became vicar of Norton-on-Tees in 1552, despite lingering doubts about the Protestant church, but fled later abroad to try and find peace of mind. Four years on, in 1556, he was made Archdeacon of Durham and vicar of Easington, but resigned after rebelling against the high wages he was paid. In 1557 however, he took up the post of rector at Houghton – then one of the largest parishes in England – and spent the rest of his life there. His hospitality to both man and beast soon became famous thoughout the countryside, and he spent his earnings on feeding the poor of Houghton. Every fortnight 40 bushels of corn were delivered to the rectory, as well as 150 gallons of beer and other provisions to keep the villagers well fed. The founding of Houghton Grammar School was another of Gilpin's good works, and he provided 460 towards the cost of the project. Gilpin delighted in offering poor boys a chance to study, and he boarded between 20 and 30 young scholars at his rectory. He sent many of the students to Oxford, at his own expense, and went to visit them once a year. Gilpin turned down the chance to be a Bishop in 1563, preferring to stay at Houghton, and he remained in the parish until his death in 1583. He was already in failing health when an ox knocked him down in Durham's Market Place. He died just a few months later. Highlights of this year's Feast FRIDAY, October 7: Feast Fun Fair was opened this afternoon by William Stephenson, the Mayor of Sunderland. He will switch on the illuminations at 7pm. SATURDAY, October 8: 10am – Hetton Art Club exhibition in Houghton Library and Learning Centre. 10am – Houghton Art Club exhibition in the Rectory Building Council Offices, The Broadway. Open day at St Michael and All Angels Church. 2.30pm – the Feast Fun Run, organised by Houghton Harriers. 2.30pm – annual carnival parade organised by Houghton Round Table. 7.30pm – Kepier School Theatre Houghton Brass Band with guest celebrity Jonathan Pippin. 7.30pm – Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy grand variety show at Empire House Studio, Newbottle Street. SUNDAY, October 9: 10am – Feast Civic Service at St Michael and All Angles Church. 11am-5pm – Houghton Art Club exhibition in the Rectory Building, Council Offices, The Broadway. 7.30pm – community hymn singing at St Michael and All Angels Church. 7.30pm – Houghton Dance and Performance Arts Academy show in the Empire House Studio. MONDAY, October 10: 1.15pm – tea dance, organised by Age Concern (Houghton), at Houghton Sports Centre, Welfare Hall. 4pm – roasting the ox at Rectory Field. 7.30pm – free fireworks spectacular at Durham Road playing fields. Broth & bun available at The Bethany Christian Centre from 6.30pm. TUESDAY, October 11: 9am – coffee morning in Houghton Methodist Church, Mautland Street; 2.30pm – ecumenical service for senior citizens at St Michael and All Angels Parish Church. 7.30pm – Photo display of Houghton From the Air and Much More at Houghton Library & Learning Centre. 7.30pm – Battle of the Bands semi final at Kepier School. WEDNESDAY, October 12: 7.30pm – Houghton on Screen, videos of the village at St Michael and All Angels Church. 7.30pm – Battle of the Bands semi final at Kepier School. THURSDAY, October 13: 7pm – Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy present Aladdin the Musical in the Empire House Studio, Newbottle Street; 9pm – grand final of the Houghton Feast Pub Quiz at Houghton Rugby Club. 7.30pm – Battle of the Bands semi final, Kepier School. FRIDAY, October 14: 7pm – Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy present Aladdin The Musical in the Empire House Studio, Newbottle Street. 8pm – Houghton Feast Big Night Out Variety Show at Kepier School. SATURDAY, October 15: 10am – Houghton Feast Horticultural Show, Houghton Sports Centre. 10.30am – solo piping & drumming competition at Kepier School. 12pm – gymnastic display at Houghton Sports centre by Houghton Gym Club. Free; 7pm – Aladdin at the Empire House Studio. 7.30pm – Battle of the Bands Grand Final, Kepier School. SUNDAY, October 16: 10am-5pm – Houghton Feast Horticultural Show at Houghton Sports Centre. 11am-4pm – Houghton Feast five-a-side soccer knockout competition at Houghton Sports Centre.

This year's Feast was superb, but ... Published on Sat Oct 21 11:56:26 BST 2006 FOR the past 20 years I have enjoyed, with family, visiting Houghton Feast each year. This year's parade was superb – the fireworks display beautiful, and funfair as lively as ever. Well done to all concerned. However, I am saddened to see the total demise of the opening tattoo ceremony which now seems to be utter chaos with no organisation and me and my family are now deprived of the week series of celebrity performances. We used to enjoy seeing these stars in our town once a year. I am afraid my grandchildren will never now experience parts of our Feast which were excellent. Can the city council re-introduce these activities next year? Houghton Feast Supporter Feast was flop HOUGHTON Feast, what a flop. We had no lights or decorations in the Rectory Park, no doubt these will be in Sunderland? On Saturday the parade was not very interesting , two pipe bands (one was Houghton) so there was no pipe band contest. We have no toilets in Houghton and no decent restaurant. Who on God’s earth wants to come to Houghton Feast? It gets worse every year. Poor Show Unique tradition WE offer a big thank you to the many groups and individuals who participated in the Carnival Procession at Houghton Feast on Saturday, October 7. This unique community event is now more than 30 years old, however, each year changes in legislation continue to make the organisation more difficult and our thanks must go to Northumbria Police for their help. More than 8,000 spectators lined the town centre parade route and nearly 1,000 was collected for local charities by Round Tablers. We hope this unique tradition will continue next year for everyone’s enjoyment. G Smith, Chairman, Houghton Round Table Greatest ever MY contribution to the Feast parade, along with secretary Pat Simmons, of the Lambton-Houghton Banner Group, was to supply ten beautiful banners from all groups, proud to show off their new banners to the people of Houghton. Most of these banner groups had previously been to the Thomas Hepburn Memorial Service at Heworth, and they left there early to march for us. Pat and I worked our socks off to make this happen, wanting to make it a feature of the parade, letters, phone calls, posters, everything to make it go down well, even the band, prize-winning Easington Colliery. Nothing was left to chance, everyone knew what to do, so off we went, in spite of a blustery wind. It was a majestic sight to behold for the magnificent crowds lining the street, clapping, cheering, many crying. The plan was to stop in front of St Michael’s Church, with all the VIPs watching, all banners lined up, and the band to play two verses of Gresford, the miner’s anthem. As soon as we arrived in our position, before anyone could get a good look at the banners, the fellow with the mike instantly announced that it was the end of the parade. The same thing happened last year, and the band was left to play to about 50 people, all dignitaries gone, so that was ruined. That’s why we were so sure it wouldn’t happen again, but whoever he was he did his best to ruin one of the best images Houghton has ever seen. It went ahead as planed because of Pat and myself, getting the band to play before the crowd dispersed. It was a fantastic scene, never to be forgotten, all banners turned around so that both sides could be seen. As for the man with the mike, whoever you are, you almost succeeded in ruining two month’s hard work. We were supposed to finish the parade near Bernard Street, but the banners were getting damaged, and the carriers were exhausted. So, I’m sorry, but we had to stop at Kepier House. Everywhere I go, people tell me this was the greatest parade ever. There were all the guest banners, the wonderful public and the police, they did a great job as well as Easington Band, Fraser Kemp and the Major and the caterers. To all who helped me it as great day. You certainly won’t see another like it. George Rowe, Chairman Lambton-Houghton Banner Group Behind the scenes PRESIDENT George Bennison and members of Houghton Rotary Club thank the public for their continued support of the historic Houghton Feast ox roast. Again blessed with unseasonal good weather, a long queue formed in the fairground and continued after the Mayor ceremonially cut the first slice until a sell-out of 1,500 sandwiches was achieved with complimentary comments already received on the quality and taste. A substantial amount will be available for the club’s community service programme with the next events the Senior Citizens Band Concert and the Columbia Grange School Christmas Party. Apart from the voluntary services by the Rotary Club members this event would not be possible without the help of our sponsors and suppliers who enter into the sprit of the occasion thanks go to Pipers Butchers of Easington Lane, George Vardy Haulage of Hetton, Whitfield Chemist of Houghton, Sunderland Scaffolding Co. of Villiers Street, Aurora Lighting and City of Sunderland workers, city council administration staff and the support of the Feast Steering Committee led by John Mawston. Ron Young, Rotary International

We're all ready for the Feast Published on Sat Oct 03 14:10:50 BST 2009 This year's Houghton Feast celebrations are officially under way. Sunderland mayor Coun Dennis Richardson opened the Feast funfair at Rectory Park, and switched on the illuminations at the opening ceremony in The Broadway. Festivities included a lantern parade from Newbottle Street into The Broadway. The Houghton councillor said it was an honour to open the Feast. "The Rotary Club, the city council and many people help keep this tradition alive on behalf of our city, and are helping to make sure Houghton Feast is an important date in everyone's calendar," said Coun Richardson. "It really is a fantastic event where people can get together and celebrate our community and its heritage." Houghton Feast is a traditional festival which originated in the 1100s as a two-day fair. Since its revival in 1967, it has been extended to 10 days. This year's programme includes firework displays, the annual carnival parade, a craft fair, pub quizzes, a variety show by Houghton Dance and Performing Arts Academy and of course, the famous Roasting of the Ox. Feast highlights include a DVD screening of Journey Through Time – which includes vintage and modern footage of Houghton – at Houghton 1st Scout HQ, next to Houghton Quarry at 7pm on Wednesday. Admission is 2 and places must be booked, tel. 268 4688 or email info@houghtonlespring.org.uk Houghton Feast horticultural show is at Houghton Sports Centre from 10am on Saturday and Sunday. Singing in the Rain – a photo and video exhibition on the history of Houghton Feast – will take place on Saturday from 10am to noon at Houghton Library and Learning Centre.

Published on Wed Nov 08 10:38:24 GMT 2006 Opening night of feast was simply 'pathetic' YET another Houghton Feast has come and gone. And another opening Friday night has seen what I can only describe as a pathetic lantern parade. I ask you, how much money was wasted in paying people to put together a few canes in the shape of so-called chefs, the ridiculous-looking food and the scabby table? I bet far too much. The lights were really poor this time, and I feel no thought, or very little, is being put into the celebration by the events team from the civic centre to what the people of Houghton really want in the form of the opening ceremony of this annual event. Bring back the mini-tattoo for the opening ceremony. At least when this was being run we had people actually staying to watch, and a damn sight more people on The Broadway enjoying what, over the years, became a large part of the feast’s opening night. Or is it a plan by the people concerned to try and make this tradition so rubbish that it gives the council an excuse to pull the plug on Houghton Feast and not support it? People of Houghton and the surrounding area – have your say. Let these so-called professional event management people (and I do not make that statement lightly) know what we really want for our opening night of Houghton Feast. Malcolm DD Robertson, Kingsway, Houghton Feast criticism was an insult to our efforts THIS is my reply to Poor Show, Echo October 23. I would dearly love to call you Mr Jones or Mr Smith, but no, you choose to hide under a non-de-plume. However, that is your choice. How on Earth you can say that Houghton Feast was a flop, I honesty do not know. No, there were no decorations in the Rectory Park, but yes, we did have lights around the centre of Houghton. We had a firework display, fun fair, carnival parade, exhibition by local artists and a craft fair. There was also a mining exhibition in the church, fun runs and concerts. Your disparaging remarks belittle the effort of all the community concerned, who work very hard to try and retain a little of our heritage and custom. Traditions are slowly disappearing through the disinterest of cynical people like you. Do not knock the people who are trying to keep an important tradition in Houghton alive. You say the parade was not very interesting. If you read the letter following yours, you will see that George Rowe and I, through sheer hard work and a large amount of our own money, tried to make the parade an unforgettable sight by parading 10 miners’ banners behind a prize-winning brass band, a sight you will probably never see again. So what does it take to move you? Everybody we have spoken to said how emotional they were at the sight, and this is not just ex-miners and their families but many members of the public who had not previously had the opportunity to see the banners close up. What about the hard work the parents and helpers put into the children’s floats? Perhaps you should think of the excitement of the children at being able to take part in the parade. All this is planned to keep the community spirit alive, and then a miserable person like yourself comes along and tries to put a dampener on the festivities. If you feel the way you say, I say don’t bother to come next year and let those who appreciate tradition enjoy themselves in peace. As to your remarks that there are no decent restaurants in Houghton, we may not have four-star-standard ones but we do have at least four pleasant and clean cafes where you can have food. All I can say to you, Poor Show, is that I hope you have a better Christmas. Pat Simmons, secretary, Lambton and Houghton Banner Group

FEAST ASSURED OF A SECOND SITT Published on Mon Oct 04 01:00:00 BST 1999 Houghton feast is set to conti Chairman of the Feast Committee John Mawston said the centuries-old tradition was still a favourite celebration for the people of Houghton and the surrounding villages.He said after this weekends programme of events how pleased he was with the number of young people committed to getting involved in so many activities and enjoying the programme."It is their efforts particularly which make me proud to belong to the Houghton community and the future of our feast is safe in their hands."Families packed Houghton town centre on Saturday afternoon for the annual carnival parade organised by Houghton Round Table.The procession included pipe and brass bands, decorated floats, vintage, classic, and American cars, traction engines, and steamrollers, unicyclists, stilt walkers, and street theatre actors.Judges decided the most professional float was Bethany Christian Centres Jesus, The Man Behind the Millennium, with the Bowes Railway the most original, and Newbottle Community Association toddlers group the most humorous.They were awarded special prizes from the Mayor of Sunderland, Coun Ross Wares, while all taking part received token gifts.A former Rector of Houghton, the Rev Peter Fisher, was given a warm welcome by the congregation when he preached at the Feast Civic Service in Houghton Parish Church yesterday morning while the more energetic enjoyed a family fun run.The festival continues tonight with a fireworks display at 7pm and a concert by the Northern Sinfonia Concert Orchestra.

Paul plans a Feast of history Published on Thu Jul 04 12:57:33 BST 2002 A HISTORY of Houghton Feast is ready to be published in time for this year's event in October. Trainee teacher Paul Lanagan, 21, has completed the manuscript and is hoping the book will be launched to promote the town's traditional 10-day celebration. Paul, a former pupil of Houghton Kepier School, was "dropped in it" by his original publisher and is appealing for local traders and businesses to help pay for the venture. "I need to raise my costs, which are in the region of 4,000, and I intend to repay any funding back from the sale of the first 400 books, which will retail at 9.99. "The book heavily promotes Houghton and is a perfect project for any local businesses that wish to give something back to the area." Feast Chairman John Mawston, who has supervised the event for many years, said the steering committee were looking favourably on his application for financial help and hoped Houghton traders would back him. "It is going to be a very good publication," he said. "Paul has done a tremendous amount of research and has also put together a fine collection of old photographs. "I am sure nearly every family in the Houghton area will be buying copies when it comes out." Paul, from Fence Houses, can remember going to the carnival parade and ox-roasting events as a toddler. "I decided to do the book a couple of years ago and interviewed people attending the event to get their thoughts on it." Paul will have a stand at the craft fair during the celebration, where he will hold book signings for visitors. At one time the programme featured horse racing at the Houghton track and foot races, with miners given the Monday off to take part in the event. Anyone wishing to help out can contact Paul on 0191 268 6595. The ox-roast - a beef history 1557: Bernard Gilpin became Houghton Rector and treated parishioners to a roast bullock or hog. 1583: He was knocked down and killed by an ox in Durham Market Place. 1887: An ox was roasted in Houghton as part of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. 1967: The ox-roasting tradition was revived. 1996: The cooking equipment disappeared and the ox-roasting was cancelled for the year.

Houghton Feast ends on a murderous theme Published on Mon Oct 12 10:35:19 BST 2009 Bumper crowds flocked to Houghton at the weekend to mark the end of its traditional Feast. This year's event proved to be a huge success with a dazzling lantern parade and illuminations, a carnival and the traditional Roasting of the Ox. Speaking as the ancient festival came to a close yesterday, Coun Denny Wilson, Sunderland City Council's portfolio holder for Safe City, hailed the 2009 Feast "more popular than ever". He said: "People of all ages enjoyed the varied programme of activities throughout Houghton." Visitors enjoyed a series of fun events in the run-up to a family walk, which marked the end of the festival. On Saturday, bookworms joined best-selling author Sheila Quigley and local historian Paul Lanagan for an investigative journey of the fictional murder scenes from Sheila's books. The writer also read an exclusive excerpt from her next novel Road to Hell. Other events included a pub quiz, horticultural show and five-a-side competition. A photo and video exhibition also celebrated the history of Houghton Feast and commemorated the 60th anniversary of community hymn singing, which attracted thousands of people in previous years. The exhibition featured rare and unseen photos, plus rare footage from the 1930s and 1950s.

Crowds make Feast a huge success Published on Sat Oct 21 12:49:16 BST 2006 WITH the biggest crowds in years, police and organisers have hailed the Houghton Feast celebrations a resounding success. Getting the community involved in the planning of the celebrations, which date back to medieval times, was the key to increased turn-outs to events like the Saturday parade and fireworks display. A new feature of the parade was a procession of 10 miners’ banners, led by the prize-winning Easington Colliery brass band. Thanks to the efforts of ex-miner George Rowe, chairman of the Lambton and Houghton Heritage Banner Group, and secretary Pat Simmons, the mining theme was carried throughout the feast fortnight. Spectators were able to enjoy coal mining exhibitions, displays and a video presentation featuring the brass bands and banners, detailing the rise and fall of mining in our communities. Other popular events included the traditional ox roasting and firework spectacular, which saw crowds from miles around queue for hours to get their ox sandwich before lining the streets near Old Durham Road to watch the magical display. New arrivals to this year’s feast celebrations were the literature festival’s Homicide in Houghton tour. Author Sheila Quigley and local historian Paul Lanagan guided visitors around the crime scenes featured in Sheila’s best selling novels. Paul Lanagan said: “To me, the crowds seemed to be bigger than ever for the carnival parade. “It was an excellent family attraction and I hope it continues. “The murder tour was a success and could pave the way for a bigger and better Literature Festival at next year’s Houghton Feast.” And with only five arrests over the two-week festival, Neighbourhood Inspector Peter Dent, of Northumbria Police, was delighted with the smooth running of the event. He said: “Houghton Feast is a family event where our priority in policing is to make sure families can enjoy the celebrations in safety and comfort. “If anyone started to get rowdy, officers intervened so that law-abiding people could enjoy the events. “This year a total of five arrests were made, four on the first night and only one during the rest of the two weeks, mainly for disorder.”

Join The Feast Parade! For more than 30 years Houghton-le-Spring & District Round Table organisation has voluntarily organised the annual parade as a highlight of the Houghton Feast activities. Each year thousands of Houghton families enjoy this unique event . . . provided for the community and despite the many changes in legislation and modern life, Houghton Round Table strives to improve the procession each year and involve a variety of volunteers, community organisations, companies and business groups. We write to invite any interetsed groups to be involved this year and really make a difference in our town and perhaps to promote your company or organisations profile in the community .... the best and cheapest advertisement ever. The Round Table have received a grant from Sunderland City Council and all participants will receive a commemorative gift and there may also be a small grant available to help participants decorate your entry. You can enter the parade as either a walking or in/on a vehicle of some sort.. The Parade will commence at 2.00 p.m., but participants will be invited to meet at Houghton Kepier Medical Group Car Park, Leyburn Grove by 1.30 p.m. The Parade is guided through Houghton Town Centre and returns to the complex car park, supervised by Stewards and Traffic Management. Please enter early and support the Feast by entering your group. Ever changing legislation means that many community events and activities are now under threat and we require much more Health and Safety, Insurance and Council Risk Management so although the feast is not until Saturday 9th October please enter as soon as possible. If you are interested please complete this application form, and either print and return it using the details on the bottom of the form or use the submit button to send online.

Sunderland Public Libraries – reading, information and learning for a better future Houghton Feast Literature Festival 2010 7 – 16 October 2010 David Simpson Thursday 7 October 6.30 – 8.00pm Opening Houghton Feast Literature Festival David will discuss our ‘dialect and place names’ David Simpson is a writer and a historian of northern england with a particular interest in the north east. Dora the Explorer Tuesday 12 October 10.00- 11.00 am A visit by the popular TV character who will take part in a storytime session. Younger readers can listen to stories with Dora herself. Sandra Rowell Monday 11 October 6.00 – 7.30pm During Houghton Feast Literature Festival, Sandra Rowell, Costa nominated local author will read extracts from her recently published book ‘Silence of the Night’, Sandra began writing as a child and also writes children’s stories and poetry. Janet Macleod Trotter Tuesday 12 October 2.00 – 3.30pm Janet’s North East historical novels have put her on many best selling lists. She was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award with her book ‘The Hungry Hills’ and the ‘Tea Planter’s Lass’ was longlisted for the RNA Novel of the Year. Join Janet at Houghton Feast Literature Festival do discuss her latest mystery novel ‘The Vanishing of Ruth’. Steve Wraith Tuesday 12 October 6.00 – 7.30pm Meet Steve Wraith at Houghton Feast Literature Festival where he will talk about his book ‘The Krays - The Geordie Connection’ and about his involvement with the notorious Kray Twins over an 11 year period as their business advisor. Benita Brown Wednesday 13 October 6.00 – 7.30pm Join bestselling author Benita Brown at Houghton Feast Literature Festival. ‘Starlight and Dreams’ is her latest novel which is set in the 1940s against the back drop of Britain’s golden era of cinema. Elizabeth Gill Thursday 14 October 2.00 – 3.30pm During Houghton Feast Literature Festival, Elizabeth Gill will hold an author session to discuss her bestselling novels about the North East and its people. Her latest novel ‘Snow Hall’ is her fortieth published novel. Kachi Ozumba Thursday 14 October 6.00 – 7.30pm Kachi Ozumba will discuss his debut novel ‘The Shadow of a Smile’, at Houghton Feast Literature Festival. Kachi’s short stories have won several awards and have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Graham Pears Friday 15 October 6.00 – 7.30pm During Houghton Feast Literature Festival Graham Pears will discuss his book ‘The Myth of Justice’ which takes readers into the fascinating world of Tyneside detective Francis Whittle – aka Jet. Homicide in Houghton Walk Saturday 16 October 2.00 – 4.00pm The walk visits areas around Houghton where fictional murders have taken place; Sheila will be on hand to give more grisly details. Afterwards, walkers can join Sheila in Houghton Library and Customer Service Centre for refreshments and a discussion about her life as a writer. Sheila will also be profiling her new novel ‘Thorn in my Side’. For further information and to reserve a place at these free events, please contact Houghton Library and Customer Service Centre on 0191 5616383, or ask at your local library. Sunderland Public Libraries – reading, information and learning for a better future

Each year I am delighted to comment on the Festival of Houghton Feast… a truly unique community effort. I am particularly pleased that the theme of this year's Festival is CELEBRATION: to commemorate the regeneration of Houghton-le-Spring. Through regeneration, we have seen the recent refurbishment of The Broadway and Newbottle Street, and now welcome the new Library and Learning Centre and Co-op Supermarket, both facilities should breath new life into our Town. And what better way than to celebrate with the Festival of Houghton Feast. This years Feast has an amazing seventy different events and attractions taking place, catering for all. The week long Literature Festival will herald the opening of the new Library, and will feature rock opera to celebrity authors, a 'murder squad' themed event and, of course, many children's library events and activities. The traditional well-established events are again very much supported by a unique range of new attractions and concerts, there is a breathtaking variety of things to do and see during the Festival. I am sincerely grateful to my colleagues of the Festival Steering Committee who have worked tirelessly during the past twelve months to produce this packed programme… for you ALL to enjoy…so let's celebrate. Councillor JOHN MAWSTON Chairman, Houghton Feast Steering Committee

The Annual Ten Day Festival is staged as an element of the City of Sunderland's Programme of Events and Attractions and is held in October. The Festival attracts attendances of more than 65,000 people who enjoy a wide variety of activities provided by professional artists and community organisations. Houghton Feast is truly a community Festival and more than 30 local groups are involved in the production of the Festival, by providing a unique mix of attractions. Houghton Feast, as a Festival is unique. People from surrounding towns in the area remember Houghton le Spring because of its Feast. No other place for miles around has any kind of celebration similar, especially one that is so old and steeped in history and traditions. The roots of the event were based upon the religious holiday of St Michael and also the return of Bernard Gilpin from his arrest. The Feast has now progressed into a ten-day event, which includes a great deal of entertainment and attractions. In most opinions, Houghton Feast is fun, busy and people enjoy it. Houghton Feast is important to the community, it is a source of local pride as there is no other event like it. It gives the community something to look forward to and provides the opportunity for people to begin to work together. For example, groups work in preparation for the parade, they grow flowers for the flower shows, local rugby teams and some form across the country visit the town for the rugby tournament and also pipe bands come for the competitions. As a result of this, the community can gain numerous benefits from it and the town is rewarded with its own identity. The Festival programme highlights several traditional activities, including: - The Ox Roasting Ceremony, Floodlit Marching Bands Tattoo, Carnival Procession, Fireworks Display, Sporting Competitions, Craft Fair and a series of evening concerts. Each year introduces professional celebrity performances and events, which ranges from a concert by Northern Sinfonia or a full Circus Big Top week of events.

Council ruling hits Houghton event 12:06pm Saturday 2nd October 2010 Print Email Share Comments(0) SUNDERLAND City Council has forced the cancellation of a memorial race tomorrow with a demand for £1,200 to temporarily close part of the course. Houghton Harriers have had to refund entry fees for the Michael Page Memorial 10K – part of the annual Houghton Feast celebrations – after being told a little-used bridle path would have to be closed for health and safety reasons. A disappointed race organiser Peter Dodsworth said: “There is no way the club can afford that sort of money. We only had 65 runners last year.” The council has been criticised by UK Athletics, the sport’s governing body which would have provided race insurance. A spokesman said: “This is a continuation of the takeover by over-zealous health and safety chiefs who don’t investigate the nature of events they are killing off.” Dodsworth, who told the council that the short bridle path would have been adequately marshalled during the race to safeguard the public, said: “I don’t know where we will go from here. The club is really disappointed with the whole situation.” The multi-terrain race, in memory of a long-serving official of the club, was moved to Hetton after the route of the original long-established 10K road race, also part of Houghton Feast, was considered dangerous for runners. Les Clark, Sunderland City Council Head of Street Scene, said: “At the Multi-Agency Events Group where this was discussed it was decided that if the race was to be given permission as an event it would require a road closure in the interests of public safety. “The minimum cost to taxpayers to cover this, including staff, legal costs and advertising, is £1,200. “It was the organisers themselves who took the decision not to proceed after hearing it would require a legal order from both ourselves and Durham County Council.” Three times North-East cross country champion Mark Hood makes his first road race appearance for Sunderland Harriers since being injured in last year’s Great North Run in today’s North of England Six Stage Road Relay Championships in Manchester. Also in the team are the reigning North-East champion, Patrick Martin, and British Masters over-45 champion Brian Rushworth. Morpeth Harriers are also leading medal contenders after finishing fourth last year. There will be three races for junior athletes when the first Kielder Marathon is held around the reservoir on Sunday, October 17. The Osprey Run (1K) is for ages 7-9, the Roman Mile (2K) 10-12 and the Centurian (3K) 13-15.

Feast thanks PRESIDENT Alan Dickinson and members of the Rotary Club thank the people of Houghton for their continued support of the traditional ox roasting at Houghton Feast which, once again, has been highly successful and will provide significant funds for our regular events and community service for senior citizens, young people, schools and other groups. The starting queue was the longest we can remember and nearly 1,300 sandwiches were sold before we sold out and very few people were disappointed. Thanks to the Mayor, Coun Tom Martin, for ceremonially cutting the first slice. Again, we are indebted to our regular sponsors and suppliers: Piper’s Quality Butchers, Easington Lane; Edinburgh Bakery at Fence Houses; Sunderland Scaffolding Company, Villiers Street; George Vardy Haulage, Hetton; Alex Scullion Electricals, Houghton; Whitfield Chemists, Houghton and the invaluable help of the City Gas crew and administrative staff together with the co-operation of the Showmen’s Guild at the fairground and the voluntary hard work of our own Rotary Club members. Looking forward to serving you all again on Monday, October 10, 2011. Ron Young, Rotary Club, Houghton

1517 - Bernard Gilpin was born in Kentmere. 1541 - Bernard Gilpin was ordained. 1557 - Bernard Gilpin became rector of Houghton-le-Spring and helped expand the Michaelmas celebrations with his hospitality and the roasting of a bullock or hog. 1569 - Bernard Gilpin arrived back in his parish about a week before Christmas in 1569. He had, in a sense, ridden back in the train of the conquering Elizabethan army that was riding almost unopposed into the territory vacated by the fleeing earls. It had been at this time of year, eleven years previously, in 1558, that Gilpin had ridden back to Houghton a free man, after having been arrested by Bishop Bonner’s runners, and expecting to be burned at the stake for his views on matters of doctrine. 1574 - Kepier Grammar School was founded by Gilpin and John Heath. 1583 - Bernard Gilpin was knocked down by an ox in Durham Market Place and died on March 4th. Bernard Gilpin Tercentenary Clock - installed in Houghton Parish Church in 1885 The Gilpin Family Crest - adopted by Houghton from the family of its famous Rector Bernard Gilpin's Altar Tomb - now found in the South Transept of St Michael's Church Gilpin, or Gylpyn as it is sometimes recorded, is often referred to as the “Apostle of the North” or “Father of the Poor” for his many good deeds throughout his lifetime, as well as during his incumbency as Rector of Houghton (1558 to 1583). Bernard Gilpin died on March 4th 1583, however owing to the change in calendars, from the Julian to the Gregorian in 1752, when 11 days were omitted, the anniversary of Gilpin's death is on MONTH DAY of each year. With this in mind, 2011 will be the NUMBERth anniversary since his death. The first ever meeting of Houghton le Spring Round Table is recorded as being 02/04/1958. We received our charter (accepted in to Round Table Britain and Ireland) on 16/10/1958, but our official "Birthday" for anniversay celebrati...ons etc is 19/11/1958 .... hope that's not too confusing!

What do you know about the ox roasting at Houghton-le-Spring?
BERNARD GILPIN AND THE HOUGHTON OX-ROAST In the 13th.Century the Gilpin family lived in Kentmere Hall, near Kendal in the Lake District. King John granted Richard Gilpin the crest of a boar under an oak tree to honour his killing of a ferocious boar which was terrorising the neighbourhood. He helped found Houghton's Kepier School in 1574. He was a scholar and theologian who was politically not always on the popular side. He was only saved from trial and execution because the Queen died before he could reach London. His crest is now the logo of Houghton-le-Spring Rotary Club. The Rotary Club of Houghton-le-Spring took more than it's logo from Bernard Gilpin (Rector of St.Michaels and All Angels Church between 1557-84.) As well as being known as the "Apostle of the North" his other nickname was "Father of the Poor". This was because of his caring for the poor people of the Parish. Houghton Feast was a fair which had been celebrated since the 1100s but Gilpin started the custom of donating an ox to be roasted to feed the parish poor. It is thus appropriate that an organisation such as Rotary should continue to use this event as a source of fund raising for a variety of charitable causes. 1976 In 1967 The Rotary Club of Houghton-le-Spring recreated the ox-roast as part of Houghton Feast and have done it ever since. In that first year the ox was cooked over an open coke fire. A whole bullock was used but since the Government ban on the sale of beef on the bone four large boneless joints are now attached to the spit with clamps and wire strapping. It is now cooked over a specially built gas fire. It still takes at least 18 hours to cook and members of the Rotary Club take shifts throughout the night to regularly turn the spit. In 2009 Ron is seen checking the cooking temperature. Customers queue for hours and as soon as the Mayor has cut the first slice the hectic sale of around 1600 sandwiches takes place. The sad and ironic conclusion to the story of Bernard Gilpin is that in 1583 he was knocked down by an ox in Durham Market Place and died shortly afterwards.

Which is the oldest butchers in Houghton-le-Spring?
Traditional quality butchers in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear Pipers Quality Butchers have been providing their traditionally renowned butcher services to customers across the County of Durham since 1890. Michael Piper is a fifth generation butcher who took over from his father 4 years ago. His father's dedication to the business has led him to now manage the famous Piper's branch on Chester-le-Street, whilst the business also operates branches in Houghton-le-Spring and Durham's Indoor Market. We are a traditional family butchers who pride ourselves on supplying top quality meats and products - all sourced from local farms and markets.

HOW TO MAKE A SANDWICH? It may have been Bernard Gilpin (about 1560) who started the tradition of roasting an ox to feed the poor people of Houghton but for more than 40 years Houghton-le-Spring Rotary Club has continued this service. Ron Young has been in charge since 1988 and is a fund of facts about what goes on to make a sandwich. A week before the roasting, Pipers the butcher visit Bishop Auckland Farmer’s Mart to pick the best animals. The meat Is then hung for a week and boned. Alan Dickinson is involved with strapping the meat to the spit. This year the meat weighed 240 kilos (528 lbs) and cost £936. The stall is built by Sunderland Scaffolding Company and workers from the Council Gas Department. George Vardy Haulage provide a lorry and crane for transporting the spitted meat. The fires are lit the day before and the meat is turned according to a strict rota by members of Rotary, working shifts day and night. On the day of the Feast a Council Health and Safety Officer visits to check that the temperature of the meat is more than 75 degrees. Finally the gas is turned off and the oven is dismantled by Council workers. Edinburgh Bakeries arrive with the buns and the staff to slice and prepare the sandwiches. At 4.00pm. The Mayor cuts the first slice and Club members start serving the waiting crowds. Considering the origins of Bernard Gilpin’s Ox it is appropriate that an organisation such as Rotary should continue to use this event as a source of fund raising for a variety of charitable causes.

Who was Bernard Gilpin? Bernard Gilpin was born in 1517 into a distinguished Westmoreland family, who lived at Kentmere Hall, six miles northwest of Kendal. Gilpin’s father, Edward Gilpin had eleven children by two marriages, Gilpin’s mother, Margaret, was the niece of Cuthbert Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, who was a scholar and theologian and had a great influence over Bernard. After attending Kendal Grammar School, Bernard went on to Queens College, Oxford at the age of 16. He was elected fellow of Queens and ordained in 1542; subsequently he was elected Student of Christ Church. By the time of Gilpin’s ordination, King Henry VIII had withdrawn England from her traditional obedience to the Roman Papacy, and Gilpin, as many other members of the clergy, as well as laymen and laywomen, found the situation very difficult. Gilpin became (for a while) champion of traditional Catholic teachings; in 1549 he became engaged in a series of debates with some of the leading reformers and this seems to have led him to have doubts about his own faith. In 1552 he was invited to preach a sermon at Greenwich before the new king (Edward VI), and this sermon appears to have helped him secure appointment as Vicar of Norton-on-Tees. A year later, however, he resigned from this postion and set off on a series of journeys around France and the Netherlands, attending lectures and debates and reading extensively. Gilpin was appointed Rector of Houghton le Spring in March 1558, then one of the largest parishes in England covering twenty-four square miles and over 16 villages. The salary was worth £400 per year. This was an extremely large amount of money in those days and the Rectory, where he lived and worked, was described as more magnificent than a Bishop’s palace. Despite his important status, Gilpin was a generous man who always had the interests of his parishioners at heart. He was looked up to as a judge and did great service in preventing lawsuits. Each Sunday between Michaelmas and Easter he declared his rectory an ‘open house’ and gave free dinners to all who visited, whether they were rich or poor. Gilpin declined several offers of promotion, preferring to remain a parish priest. Towards the end of the reign of Queen Mary I Gilpin was arrested as a suspected Protestant “heretic”, but fell from his horse and broke his leg on his way to interrogation. He was unable to reach London before the death of Queen Mary and was thus never brought to trial. Houghton Kepier School Gilpin was a scholarly man and was keen to see that the humble and poor received a good education. Besides his open hospitality to strangers and parishioners, Bernard gave a permanent home to twenty four boys, whom he fed, clothed, boarded and educated, mostly at his own expense. He even sent some of his brightest young parishioners to university. With the financial help of a Londoner named John Heath (who owned land at Kepier near Durham), Gilpin founded Kepier Grammar School at Houghton le Spring in the late 1500s and this helped to improve the educational standards of the district. Among the famous students to attend Kepier school in later centuries was Robert Surtees (1779-1834), the great Durham historian. Later years Bernard Gilpin's good works extended beyond his parish and he is perhaps best known for his annual journeys through the dales of Northumberland, trying to restore church life in a region where civil society seemed to have been devastated by civil wars, wars with Scotland, feuding and robbery. He is reputed to have quelled feuds between families of Border Reivers and to have re-started services in tumbledown old chapels scattered around Northumberland. For this he is remembered as the “Apostle of the North.” Gilpin’s adventurous life came to a tragic and rather unexpected end on the 4th of March 1583. Some months earlier he was knocked down by oxen in Durham market place and suffered injuries from which he never recovered. Gilpin was buried beneath a simple altar tomb, located in the south transept of the parish church of St Michael and All Angels, Houghton le Spring, in the centre of the community which he had served for a quarter of a century. Many residents of Houghton today commemorate Bernard Gilpin's goodness and generosity in the roasting of the ox at the annual “Houghton Feast.” The Feast is an ancient festival that has its origins in the 1100s as the dedication festival to the Parish Church of St Michael & All Angels. Houghton Feast begins on the first Friday in October and lasts for ten days.

by C. A. Smith The Story of Houghton Feast is closely interwoven with that of the Church and Parish, all of which have existed since pre-Norman days. There are some who hold the mistaken belief that the Feast was founded by Bernard -Gilpin, Apostle of the North and Rector of Houghton-Le-Spring from 1557-1583, but the Feast was being held many centuries before his time. In a word, Houghton Feast is the Patronal Feastival of St. Michael and commemorates the dedication of the Parish Church. How old the Church is we cannot tell, though we know for certain that much of the present building dates from the 12th and 13th Centuries, and here and there are traces of Norman and even earlier architecture which compel the belief that on this very spot stood an Anglo-Saxon Church. In the writings of the Venerable Bede (673-735) we read that the English Christians were permitted by St. Gregory on their Church dedication day to make themselves bowers about the Church and feast together and refresh themselves in good religious sort; to sacrifice their oxen in praise of God which they were before wont to offer to the Devil. Small wonder than that Bernard Gilpin did of his generosity as "Father of the Poor" roast a whole bullock for the poor and infirm of Houghton in the Spring, a tradition which is being re-enacted t his very year. Houghton Feast then is our oldest festival... a Feast of Worship, rededication and rejoicing. Long may it last. This is the reason why on Feast Sunday the various Civic leaders and representative public bodies will attend the family service of rededication and thanksgiving in the Parish Church; why the choir will sing to the folk assembled below; why, after Evensong, a vast concourse will crowd the Broadway for the Community Hymn singing led by massed choirs of the United Churches to the music of the Hetton Silver Prize Band. Gilpin the Giver and Apostle of the North by Jack Jacques Life in the North East of our hundred years ago presented a dark picture of Poverty and hardship, ignorance and violence. The area had been depopulated by William the Conqueror and had never really recovered! Bernard Gilpin - Rector of Houghton-le-Spring from 1557 to 1584, Beloved Apostle of the North did much to improve the lot of the common people in the North East at a time which had its difficulties for parsons too. He became rector under the catholic Queen Mary and continued under Queen Elizabeth I who strove to hold catholic and Protestants together in one church. Born in 1517 at Kentmere Hall near Kendal, Westmorland. Now Gilpin was one of eleven children - at 16 years of age he went to Queen's College Oxford to read Greek and Hebrew - he made a special study of the Bible in these original languages. From 1552 for a while he had charge of the parish of Norton on Tees. But in 1557 Gilpin became Rector of Houghton-le-Spring, a very large parish indeed in those days, comprising 16 villages or more. In 1547 the population of Houghton Parish was 2,000 to 3,000. Now Gilpin's outstanding quality was his hospitality and though he had a large stipend of about £400 a year, neither the rectory nor the salary was large enough for this generous giver - it is said that money never stayed in Gilpin's pocket! it simply passed through on its way to the Poor. He thought nothing of giving away his cloak or his horse to a needy person. Every Thursday he ordered that a 'very great pot' should be provided full of boiled meat for the poor! Twenty four of the poorest of his people were his constant pensioners, and for many years he provided board and lodging in the rectory for 20 to 24 grammar school boys, most of them free of charge . Every Sunday from Michaelmas to Easter the intestar of Houghton rectory resembled a huge feast with gentry, farmers and labourers dinning together at three long tables and there was an open invitation for any parishioners to join in the feast on these Sundays. Everybody was welcome, from the richest official of the Queen's court to the poorest person in Houghton, now Gilpin became known as the "Common Father of the Poor" Northerners took him to their hearts and filled his church eager to hear his wise and gracious sermons. Life for many of the ignorant took on a new dimension. It is recorded that the fortnightly menu of this large household was 40 Bushels of corn and a whole ox (cow), in addition to other proportionate provisions. In order to maintain this hospitality Gilpin himself lived very frugally, it was said if a horse strayed from his owner , it would be sure to find its way to the rectory stables. A noted thief once declared that the devil himself would punish him if he stole one of Gilpins horses! Without neglecting his own parish Gilpin paid yearly visits to other distant parishes of Yorkshire, Cheshire, Westmoreland, Cumberland and Northumberland, travelling on horseback in the robber infested countryside. At Rothbury he quelled family feud in the church itself! Two families armed with spears and swords faced each other in church clanging their weapons impatiently. Gilpin entered the pulpit and strongly denounced violence. The two families appreciated such courage in a parson and listened to the sermon. After the Rothbury incident any person in fear of his life knew he could be sure of safety in any church where Gilpin preached! In another Northern parish Gilpin fearlessly removed a glove placed high in the church as a challenge in a family feud and again strongly denounced such practice in any church; Gilpin was always ready for any emergency- one day when arriving at a church in a Northern Parish- a man galloped up on horseback with a dead child lying on the saddle in front of him. He thrust the dead body into Gilpin hands saying "Here parson! Do the cure" and galloped off so Gilpin held a service over the little body and so buried himself the little boy in the churchyard. When the rectory become too small for the many pupils lodging there, Gilpin established the Kepier Grammar School around the year 1566- he gave a whole year's income towards the cost of this Venture! and needed to exercise the strictest personal economy to do so, for the poor children of Houghton in 1583 Bernard Gilpin was knocked down by an OX in Durham Market Place- he never fully recovered from this accident and he passed away on March 4 1584 in his 67th year, he was buried the next day in a tomb in the south transept of Houghton Church! worn out by his constant labours "Gilpin the Giver" had finally given his life. Prematurely in the service for the Northern People he loved so well- "he was truly one of our Greats" Jack Jacques Beaufield Newbottle April 8th 1996 Houghton Feast 2001 Each year I am delighted to comment on the Festival of Houghton Feast… a truly unique community effort. I am particularly pleased that the theme of this year's Festival is CELEBRATION: to commemorate the regeneration of Houghton-le-Spring. Through regeneration, we have seen the recent refurbishment of The Broadway and Newbottle Street, and now welcome the new Library and Learning Centre and Co-op Supermarket, both facilities should breath new life into our Town. And what better way than to celebrate with the Festival of Houghton Feast. This years Feast has an amazing seventy different events and attractions taking place, catering for all. The week long Literature Festival will herald the opening of the new Library, and will feature rock opera to celebrity authors, a 'murder squad' themed event and, of course, many children's library events and activities. The traditional well-established events are again very much supported by a unique range of new attractions and concerts, there is a breathtaking variety of things to do and see during the Festival. I am sincerely grateful to my colleagues of the Festival Steering Committee who have worked tirelessly during the past twelve months to produce this packed programme… for you ALL to enjoy…so let's celebrate. Councillor JOHN MAWSTON Chairman, Houghton Feast Steering Committee Houghton Feast History by Sally Mitten It is a common belief that Houghton Feast began as a celebration for a man named Bernard Gilpin, who was a rector for Houghton Le Spring parish in the Sixteenth Century. He was born in 1517 in the village of Kentmere, Westmorland, above the town of Kendal. He was the younger son of Edwin Gilpin, Lord of the manor of Kentmere. At the age of sixteen Gilpin went to Queen's college, Oxford, to study Greek and Hebrew. A year later he was transferred to a college of the new learning - Christ Church College. He was ordained in 1541 in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. Before becoming a Parish Priest Gilpin was invited to preach at Greenwich. What had been a private conversion to Protestantism, Gilpin made public during this sermon. While acting as Bishop Tunstall's Chaplain and living in Durham Castle, accusations of heresy were made against Gilpin. As well as those interested in his sermons, there were informers present acting for Bishop Bonner - who wanted more people to be arrested for heresy. Gilpin was offered the post of rector of Houghton le Spring, which he gladly accepted in 1558. HOUGHTON FEAST 2001 The Festival Opening Ceremony and the Switch On of the Town illuminations is held in The Broadway and against the Backdrop of the beautiful St Michael and All Angels Church. The Floodlit Arena plays host to colourful marching bands and military processions. The Feast festive day is held on the first Saturday of the Festival and throughout the day the Town Centre becomes alive with a mix of arts and entertainment involving art Exhibitions, Street Theatre, outdoor music concerts, Carnival Procession featuring colourful floats, classic cars. The large funfair is operational all day. The Festival week commences with the Historical and Traditional Ox Roasting Ceremony followed by a Spectacular Free Fireworks Display set to classical music. The Programme continues mid week with a series of musical concerts and workshop activities provided by professional, semi-professional and local enthusiasts. Several static exhibitions are held by local Art & Photography Clubs, together with Church Floral Displays. Each year the Festival looks to support and promote new ideas and initiatives such as a "CYBERFEAST" computer/internet event introducing all to new technology whilst making it fun for all ages. The Houghton Community Library provides a venue for different but hugely popular performances such as: - Storyteller Theatre Co's production of "Pinocchio" for primary school ages and the Flabbergast Arts production of "A String of Pearls", nostalgia music and song which was attended by groups provided by Age Concern. Again these aspects of the Feast Programme are designed to cater for all ages of the community. The highlights of the second weekend of the Festival include a 2 day Annual Horticultural Show which attracts record entries from all the Northern region and produces record breaking entries. The sporting events feature the Family Fun Run, Harriers Races, Rugby Tournament and Family Country Walk, which again attract a record entry. The local church community are very involved with the Festival; the Annual Civic Service is attended by the Mayor and Mayoress of Sunderland, the High Sheriff of Tyne & Wear, many Members of Senior Officers of the Council, together with representatives of other local churches and community organisations. The Festival of Houghton Feast continues to provide a unique mix of activities and events providing a Festival without comparison in the City of Sunderland. Houghton Feast is the oldest and most traditional yearly Festival in the City of Sunderland. The Festival origins date back to the Tudor times, however over the second half of this century major efforts have been made to boost these celebrations. The original Feast was said to have dated back to the times of Bernard Gilpin who was a rector of Houghton le Spring during the sixteenth century. There are some people who would dispute this, as the Festival was important as both a religious and a community event. The Feast has evolved and changed to meet the differences in today's society. It dwindled significantly during the early parts of the twentieth century but was revived by a Canon Gwilliam, who was a Rector of Houghton from 1948 to 1972. Gwilliam persuaded the Urban District Council to become fully involved with the planning and presenting and also subsidising the festivities, which helped to link together the religious and community aspects of Houghton Feast's Traditions. This continued until 1974 when the County borders changed and Houghton le Spring became part of Tyne & Wear and Sunderland Council took over. Houghton Feast became a regionally promoted attraction organised by the City of Sunderland Council. Today, the Festival is organised by a committee that has representatives from more than thirty local community groups, who organise the Feast and encourage other community groups to take part. The Council introduced illuminations into the Town Centre and Rectory Park and there is also a funfair run by the members of the showmen's guild, who operate on the rectory field. Your quick guide to the full variety of festival events. Poetry Readings Themed Readings Craft Workshops/li> Drama Workshops Quizzes Reading Groups Celebrity Talks Local History Groups Bookk Signings Author Visits Rock Opera Rock n Roll Massed Choirs Pipe Bands Operatic/Musical Brass Bands Variety, Music & Dance Ceilidh Folk Concert Barber Shop Harmony 60's Night Street Buskers Photographic Radio Communications Art & Craft Sale Demonstrations Art Work Horticultural Show Exotic Birds Enactment Battles Ox-Roasting Carnival Parade Tea Dance Countryside Walk Street Theatre Aikido & karate Events Family Country Walk Coffee Mornings & Events Special Services Galloping Gilpin Extravaganza Civic Service Well-dressing Peal of Bell-Tower Bells Heritage Hop Carnival Parade Rugby Tournament Fun Fair Fireworks Sports Displays Harriers Races Family Fun Run Comedy Shows Circus Shows Details of venues and dates are included in the Events page, however for further information contact the Festival Hotlines: 0191-5141235, 0191-5536601 Houghton Feast 1999 It is that time of year again - time for Houghton Feast. Each year it grows. The feast evokes a unique community spirit and represents one of the main features which make up the identity of the town. The Feast runs from 1st-9th October 1999. Now the Feast incorporates the all new Cyberfest which lets visitors to the Feast explore the Internet and the realms of cyberspace...... Visit the Cyberfest Station at Houghton Kepier School from Saturday 2nd October.

From: http://www.gulliver-poultry.co.uk/goose-knowledge/michaelmas-goose.htm
Michaelmas Goose September the 29th,Michaelmas, the day of St Michael and and All Angels or Michaelmas was celebrated as a holy day throughout the United Kingdom and Europe until the 18th century. During the Middle Ages Michaelmas became a great religious feast and many popular traditions grew up around the day. Coinciding with the end of harvest, the feast was celebrated with a traditional well-fattened Michaelmas goose fed on the stubble fields after harvest. Michaelmas coincides with the autumn equinox, historically, the day of the year on which the serfs of the manor elected a reeve. The reeve was expected to ensure all other serfs started work on time and that no one was cheating the lord of the manor out of any money. This day was also recognised as the beginning of the farming year , the time for rents and debts to be paid to the lord of the manor. Many landlords would hold a goose feast for all tenants to supposedly protect against financial hardships. Michaelmas is still celebrated in many European countries and Michaelmas goose is starting to gain popularity within the United Kingdom. Michaelmas goose is also known as the 'green goose' as they have been fed on stubble and grass as opposed to the Christmas goose which is finished on corn. Many restaurants and butchers have started to promote Michaelmas goose reviving old recipes and folklore surrounding Michaelmas. UK Goose Producers have started to produce geese specifically for the Michaelmas goose market, with demand growing year on year. To find out where you can buy a Michaelmas goose, please contact us and we will send you details of producers.