The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival – full press release 1

17 Jan

A set of events to celebrate Saint Blaise, Bradford’s forgotten patron saint, are set to return for the second year running, after nearly 200 years of neglect.

A small group. led by Bradford based poet and showman Glyn Watkins are organising a walk along the route of the last big procession celebrating Bishop Blaise, which was in 1825! As well as a couple of shows focusing on Bradford’s hidden histories.

Saint Blaise was an Armenian bishop who was reputedly done to death with wool combs in the 4th Century; who became the patron saint of wool combers. Wool towns all over England celebrated his feat day on 3rd February, but Bradford’s was by far the biggest and most famous.

The last procession, in 1825, was perhaps the largest ever in Bradford, and involved everyone in the wool trade, from shepherds to merchants. Unfortunately the wool combers went on strike soon afterwards, lost, and the procession never happened again.

There are a few reminders of St. Blaise in Bradford, but they are few and largely fading from memory. The Bradfordians behind ‘The Bring Back St. Blaise’s Festival’ intend to help remember him, and Bradford’s rich history.

The events start with a walk on Saturday 1st February. Starting at 11.00 at Glyde House, at the bottom of Little Horton Lane. The walk will feature ghost graveyards; Bradford heroes and sieges; lost becks, goits, breweries, markets, public houses, theatres, chapels; and more.

The walk will be lead by Glyn Watkins dressed as a bright bishop, include stops at the New Bradford Playhouse; The Sparrow Bier Cafe on Northgate; The Lord Clyde on Thornton Road; and finish by 15.00 at The Sir Titus Salt. The venues will provide different sorts refreshments celebrating the day, with one serving homemade cakes and another bread and dripping!

Glyde House will also have a show called ‘Pie, Poetry & Proud of Bradford’ at 20.00 on Sunday 2nd Feb. featuring words, pictures, stories and opinions about Bradford

The Theatre in the Mill will be hosting a different show called: ‘Comedy & Errors – A Brief History of Bradford’s Showing Off’ on the evening of Monday 3rd February. Based on what Bradford has done to entertain itself.

For details check

Photo by Joe Ogden of Glyn Watkins outside Glyde House


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