On Saturday 10th June 2006 my family and friends descended on Abingdon Market Place to be a part of the 30th Abingdon Bun Throwing.
The Bun Throwing was held to celebrate the 450th Anniversary of the Charter of Incorporation being granted to Abingdon by Queen Mary in 1556 (see notes). June 10th is also the date of Queen Elizabeth II’s Official Birthday which made the event a joint celebration.
The unique tradition began in 1760/1761 to mark the accession/coronation of King George III, and has taken place to celebrate special occasions and royal anniversaries ever since.
Our group arrived at the Market Place at 5pm and picked a prime spot in the middle of the square in a shadow of the old County Hall (now home to Abingdon Museum).
As the tension mounted until the first bun was thrown we were entertained by some traditional Morris dancing and music.
At around 5.45pm the Mayor, Freemen and other dignitaries made their way to the town hall where the National Anthem was played.
As the ‘throwers’ made their way to the top of the building the Abingdon Town Crier bellowed out a speech declaring the reasons for the event, ending with the cry of “God save the Queen”.
At 5.56pm the first bun was thrown and the event was underway!
In total 4,500 buns were thrown down to the people of Abingdon and you can see the numbers caught by our party of Abingdonians.
Chris Gottfried = 2
Richard Gottfried = 5 (and a half)
Jon Gottfried = 8
Christopher Gottfried = 6
Zoe Bates* = 2
Robin Last* = 4
Total = 27.5 buns (or 0.6111% of the total buns thrown!)
* Honourary Abingdonians
Our group was extremely pleased with our haul, especially so because one of the buns caught had a special ‘06’ marking!
A very good time was had by all, although after spending 20 or so minutes of looking up at the roof myself and Zoe found that we had very sore necks.
Other injuries included twisted fingers, pockets full of bun dust and squashed currants on our T-Shirts where we had taken our ‘eyes off the Bun’ and been hit in the chest!
The two members of our group who had never been to a Bun Throwing before were both pleased they attended and were thrilled by the experience. And we are all looking forward to the next Bun Throwing!
Notes: Royal Charters
Royal Charters, granted by the sovereign on the advice of the Privy Council, have a history dating back to the 13th century. Their original purpose was to create public or private corporations (including towns and cities), and to define their privileges and purpose. Nowadays, though Charters are still occasionally granted to cities, new Charters are normally reserved for bodies that work in the public interest (such as professional institutions and charities) and which can demonstrate pre-eminence, stability and permanence in their particular field.