In August 1613, two representatives from the City of London, George Smithes, Alderman, and Mathias Springham, Merchant Taylor, along with ten experienced local officers, “viewed and trode out the ground at the Derry for the fortification there”. That simple act, four centuries ago, has left us a tremendous physical legacy in the form of the largest ancient monument in Northern Ireland; it also left an enduring imprint on the cultural identities of the people of Ireland and Britain.
During National Heritage Week, Walled Towns across Ireland will be exploring the heritage of their ramparts, gates and towers. Sunday 25th August will be “Celebrate Derry’s Walls Day”. The main activities planned for the day are:
Wave on the Walls! 11.45 am until 12 .45
To recreate the marking out of the walls by the two Londoners and the 10 ten local officers four centuries ago, we are inviting you to join with us in creating a continuous red line of 1,500 local volunteers wearing specially designed t-shirts along the top of the ramparts. The event will be photographed from the air and entertainment will be provided. 400 years on, we want you to help us make a BIG statement that Derry’s Walls belong to EVERYONE. More details to follow.
The Charter Market at the Ship Key 12.30 pm until 5.30 pm
Guildhall Square will be transformed into a History Square and you can experience some of what made life colourful when Springham and Smithes arrived in Derry in August 1613. The 1613 Charter gave citizens the right to hold a monthly market so the Charter Market would have been a feature of life in Derry even during the building of the Walls. In 1613, such a market near the Ship Key would have been where London adventurers, Irish freeholders and Scots planters might have met. Enjoy period stalls, living history performers, period music and street theatre. More details to follow.
Walls400 is the brand for the programme of activities planned to mark the quatercentenary of the City Walls during 2013-18. The objective of Walls400 is to fully explore the contested history that the City Walls represent and to celebrate Derry’s Walls as a present-day national heritage asset, with the potential to unite rather than separate people.
The six year-long programme of activities is being developed by the Holywell Trust’s City Walls Heritage Project, working in partnership with Derry City Council, DOE Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and the Walled City Cluster of community-based, cultural tourism attractions. The City Walls Heritage Project is grant-aided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Culture Company and the Heritage Council of Ireland.