All Ripon hornblowers will gather together for Monday night return
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Last updated Jul 20, 2021
Hornblower Richard Midgley pictured at the obelisk, prior to covid restrictions

Ripon’s hornblowers will make their keenly awaited return to Market Square on Monday night.

Ripon City Council has organised a special gathering to mark the occasion, as all three members of the hornblowing team will be on duty for the city’s 9pm ritual.

Council leader Andrew Williams told the Stray Ferret:

“We believe that the ceremony, which dates back to 886AD, is the world’s longest unbroken daily tradition.

“It has been a continuous feature of Ripon life since then and is a key element of the city’s proud history.”

Night time photo of Ripon Market Square

The ceremony is carried out around the four corners of the Obelisk on Ripon Market Square

He added:

“To ensure that the return of the hornblowers is properly celebrated, all of them will play a part in the ceremony at the obelisk.

“We said that we would have them back as soon as covid restrictions allow and the city council is keeping that promise.”

Social distancing requirements announced by the government in March 2020 meant that Wayne Cobbett, Alison Clark and Richard Midgley could not perform the ceremony in public.

Instead, the hornblowers, who are employed by the city council and work on a rota basis, kept the tradition alive behind closed doors.

The ‘setting the watch’ ceremony was conducted at their respective homes and was live-streamed on Facebook every evening.

Before the covid lockdown, the nightly event involved them blasting the horn at the four corners of the obelisk and giving a brief talk on the history of Ripon.


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The city council welcomes public attendance at Monday’s event, but attendees will be required to observe social distancing during the ceremony and subsequent history talk.

During summer months in particular, the ceremony attracts large crowds.

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