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Gloucester’s historic Assize of Ale will take place tomorrow. 

The Sheriff’s Assize of Ale raises funds for the city’s civic charities, Longfield Hospice and Leonard Cheshire Disability, and dates back to medieval times when the Sheriff was responsible for ensuring the ale on sale in the city was of palatable quality.  The event usually takes place as part of Heritage Weekend in September but this year was delayed due to the Henry III coronation re-enactment.

The Mayor, Councillor Neil Hampson, will be standing in for the Sheriff and he, together with an army of followers dressed in medieval clothing, tour the pubs in the city’s historic core collecting cash for charity and carrying out a slightly bizarre ritual involving a wooden stool, someone dressed in leather breeches and an egg timer.  The Sheriff has an “Ale Conner”, whose job it is to sit on a wooden stool, on which a small amount of ale has been poured, wearing a pair of leather trousers.  If after three minutes the trousers stick to the stool, the ale does not pass the test.  Conversely if the Ale Conner can move freely at the end of the three minutes, it does pass.   The tradition was reintroduced in 2003 by City Council Leader Paul James during his year as Sheriff of Gloucester and has taken place in each year since.  Cllr James organises the event with Town Crier Alan Myatt, with a host of city councillors and other local “characters” taking part.  It has raised well over £10,000 since the event was introduced.

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The Assize will visit more than 20 pubs in the historic core of Gloucester, at the Docks and in Kingsholm to tie in with Gloucester’s home match against Wasps.

Paul James said, “The Assize of Ale has become an established part of the City’s calendar and the pubs look forward to it.  It is a great spectacle and one of the slightly quirky traditions that makes Gloucester special.  It should be a busy weekend in the city due to the Victorian Market taking place and Gloucester playing at home, so we hope to raise a good amount of money for some worthy causes.”

The Mayor will join the group outside the Guildhall in Eastgate Street at 2.30pm.

Gloucester News Centre – http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk

Assize event takes place this weekend by Shaun Moore | Gloucester News Centre - http://gloucesternewscentre.co.uk/