Made in Preston, the website about Preston, Lancashire

Preston Guild History

Preston Guild 2012

Preston Guild 2012

Preston Guild - I was there. New Page Saturday 1st September 2012 Trade Procession and Miller Park

Preston Guild - I was there. Updated Page for visit on Thursday 6th September 2012 Harris Museum and various


The next Preston Guild is 2032.


A full week of events and activities, some seriously civic and others just for fun.


Since 1179 a guild fair has been run in Preston and since 1542 approximately every 20 years except for 1942 which was moved to 1952, the year after the Festival of Britain in London.

The guild was originally to promote the traders of the town, a sort of business union, and was run by Burgesses as an official body. Now the guild is a celebration of the town, now city, and includes every aspect of the modern Preston: business, schools, music, theatre, dancing, art and craft, story telling, literature, history, military etc.

To be a Burgess entitled you to trade in the town. Outsiders couldn't trade. The entitlement of the Burgesses was established in a Royal Charter. The first one known being in 1179 from Henry II.

The Guild has spawned many things, for example, the phrase 'every Preston Guild' meaning something that doesn't happen very often. There is a Fuschia called Preston Guild. A quick look on the internet will find guild medals dating to 1700's, there are also songs, beer and books. Prestons main Theatre and Concert Hall is in the Guild Hall.


This is quite a long page.


Preston Guild Memories

From Dave Hughlock in California who was on BBC North West during his 4th Guild Visit.


'As an ex-Prestonian now living in California let me say that I very much enjoy reading your pages.
I did return to Preston for a month to celebrate the Guild Week with family and friends and had a wonderful time while in Preston.
Your Guild segment is very well done, I enjoyed viewing all the photographs and reading the captions.

I was fortunate enough while in Preston to get interviewed by BBC Lancashire TV near the cenotaph, and also by Radio Lancashire in the Harris Museum as well as having the LEP run a half page article about my intending return to Preston for the Guild celebration, all very flattering for me, I was just very happy that the weather for the Guild Week was sunny and warm.

I met the Guild Mayor one day in the Harris Museum, shook his hand, congratulated him on a wonderful week and jokingly told him I was visiting from California and had brought the good weather with me. That was my fourth Guild, I was a member of the Fishwick School gym team for the Children's Festival on Avenham Park for the Guild of 1952.
Roll on 2032, I'll be 94 by then, God willing, and who knows, maybe that will be my fifth Guild ?
Thanks for the memories Preston.'

See Dave's photo playing football for Fishwick Rangers in 1964. Against Atkinsons Vehicles so it's on their page.

Link to BBC interview - scroll on to 1 min 12seconds.


Preston Guild - August 31st to September 9th 2012

The full programme contains a very impressive range of events and activities including every aspect of modern Preston: business, schools, music, theatre, dancing, art and craft, story telling, literature, history, military etc.


The full programme and plenty of other related websites are linked below.


This is a short overview:


Friday 31 August
Opening of Guild City Festival


Saturday 1 September

I was there - read more click here.

Third and final proclamation. 10.30am
Trades Procession 11am
Guild City Festival

Vintage Guild Weekend (see video and website below)

Preston Cake City on Winckley Square.

Guild Fair on Moor Park.


Sunday 2 September
Guild Mayor's civic procession and divine service at the Minster
Guild City Festival

Vintage Guild Weekend (see video and website below)

Preston Cake City on Winckley Square.

Guild Fair on Moor Park.

Monday 3 September
The Guild Court
Churches Procession 2pm
Guild City Festival

Guild Fair on Moor Park.

Tuesday 4 September
Mayoral International Reception
Guild City Festival

Guild Fair on Moor Park.

Wednesday 5 September
Guild Mayoral Ball
Guild City Festival 

Guild Fair on Moor Park.

Thursday 6 September

I was there - read more click here
Guild City Festival

Preston Our Heritage 2032 corner shop Fishergate-Corporation Street. 11am 
Guild Fair on Moor Park.
Friday 7 September
Community Procession 11am
Guild City Festival

Proms in the Park with Katherine Jenkins and Jose Carreras. Avenham Park.

Guild Fair on Moor Park.

Saturday 8 September
Adjournment of the Guild Court

Torchlight Procession 8pm, 'tis said to be the biggest attended.

Guild City Festival

GFest music 

Guild Fair on Moor Park.

Sunday 9 September
Guild Mayor's civic procession and service of thanksgiving at the Minster.
Grand firework display and farewell ceremony

Guild City Festival

Guild Fair on Moor Park.

GFest music



Read the details in these booklets, (5mb, 3mb resp pdf).


Guild Programme on the official Guild websiteVintage Weekend programme on the officila Guild website



Four processions. It's quite a long one, about 3 miles for vehicles and half that for walkers. From Moor Park to the Adelphi where walkers join, Friargate, Ringway, Lancaster Road, Covered Market, Flag Market, Fishergate, Corporation Street, walkers leave just before the Adelphi, Moor Park.



Preston Guild Facebook Group - click here


Preston Guild 2012 - August 31st to September 9th

They say the Torch procession is the most popular. Some will like their type of music the most. I'll enjoy Saturday 1st: the opening, the procession, the Preston cake city and food on Winckley Square and the Vintage Weekend crafts and general going on - on Avenham and Miller Park. It would be good to see the Burgesses parading as well.



Video by Chris Miller Ltd of their float and its journey in the Trades Procession.


An excellent YouTube video preview of the Vintage Guild Weekend that was held on the 1st and 2nd September on Preston's Avenham Park and Winckley Square:


Click here for Vintage Guild Weekend website


Preston Guild Ceremonial

The timing of Guild week has been the same since 1562 - the Guild Court must be opened on the Monday after the feast of the decollation of St John the Baptist (29 August).

Guild Proclamations in 2012:

On each of the three Saturdays before the main celebrations of the Guild crowds pack into the Market Square to join in a tradition which gives them a direct link with medieval Preston. In accordance with ancient custom, a proclamation will be made announcing that a Guild is to be held and summoning all those who wish to attend.

At 10.30am, the regalia party, carrying the civic regalia of the ancient borough of Preston, will lead the Guild Mayor, dressed in full ceremonial robes, and the civic party, onto the steps of the Harris Museum and Art Gallery.

After a fanfare of trumpets, at 10.30am precisely, there will be a call for silence with “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” so that the Clerk of the Guild can read the proclamation. The Guild Mayor then addresses the crowd, bringing the focus back to Guild of 2012.

Before and after the pomp and ceremony, the crowd will be entertained with music, street theatre and colourful spectacle. Each proclamation event will be bigger than the last, to build excitement for the Guild itself.


The Guild Courts

Photographs of the Guild Court held in the Guild Hall in 2012.

Preston Guild Court in the Guild Hall

Preston Guild Court in the Guild Hall

The Guild Court - Monday 3 September 2012

This traditional ceremony is the heart of Preston Guild. The order of proceedings is carefully followed forming an unbroken link with Preston of the Middle Ages.

The day starts with the Guild Mayor and Mayoress welcomed to the Town Hall by distinguished guests. At 10am the civic procession walks from the Town Hall to the Guild Hall, taking the long way round so that the assembled crowds can line the route and witness the start of this historic event. Meanwhile the burgesses, their guests and representatives of the City will be taking their seats at the Guild Hall, awaiting the arrival of the civic party.

During the ceremony, the Clerk of the Guild recites the charters associated with the ancient Guild and the names on the Guild roll are called so that burgesses can renew their franchise and new hereditary burgesses can be admitted. Two students deliver Latin orations and the Guild Recorder replies in Latin. The Guild Mayor will then deliver a short speech.

Formal adjournment of the Guild Court - Saturday 8 September

In comparison to the Guild court, this is a shorter civic ceremony, with no procession before it. It is at this court that new Honorary Burgesses are admitted at the gift of the Guild Mayor. These are traditionally people who have been of service to the Guild and to Preston, such as past Mayors, business, sports people. . In 2012 this tradition will be widened to allow more people, nominated by the community, to become Honorary Burgesses. After the new burgesses are admitted the court is adjourned for another 20 years - a poignant moment. The Guild Mayor then gives a speech, thanking the many people involved and giving a summary of the memories and spirit of the week’s celebrations.


What is a Preston Burgess

Originally, anybody who wanted to trade in Preston, whether as a merchant, a craftsman, a market stall holder or in any other capacity, was required to be a member of the Guild Merchant.

A Guild Court was held to admit people to the Guild. Once they were in the Guild, burgesses could reap important benefits and these could be passed on to sons and grandsons without question.

Over the centuries the nature of the membership changed. New members could be admitted in a number of ways - by serving an apprenticeship in a trade, by being rewarded for services to the Guild or as a special honour.

By paying a substantial fee, people living outside of the town could become “out burgesses”. However, as membership was hereditary and there was no restriction on where later generations of burgesses lived, the distinction between ‘in’ or ‘out’ burgesses soon became blurred, despite the current Guild Roll still listing them separately.

To refresh and renew the Guild and to ensure the rights could be passed down to the next generation, a Guild Court was held. In 1542 it was agreed that this would take place every 20 years – a tradition still in place today. Only the Second World War has interrupted Preston Guild, when it was postponed to 1952.

When Free Trade was introduced in the 18th Century, the need for a Guild and the rights of the burgesses were abolished but by then the Guild had become a great social occasion and so the people of Preston decided to continue to celebrate their Guild. 

 In 1992 history was made as daughters of existing burgesses were admitted to the Guild for the first time, numbering 274 out of a total of 808.

In 2012, all sons and daughters of the 1992 burgesses will be entitled to be admitted making the task of tracing all eligible people back to the original family name quite a challenge!

Ref Preston Council Guild website.


Previous Guilds

1328 the first recorded Guild. Guild Mayor; Aubrey, Son of Robert. Interesting that the town was burnt by Robert the Bruce 1322.





























Preston Guild 1992


Preston Guild Official Record 1992


Preston Guild 1952 and 1972

Preston Guild Programme 1972

Preston Guild Programmes 1952 and 1972

Preston Guild 1952 textile sample


1922 Preston Guild

Preston 1922 Guild Tea Set Number 1

Preston 1922 Guild Tea Set 2


6 September, 2019 Contact the site author