Now, we don’t think you’ve really experienced Ripon until you’ve stood and watch the city hornblower blow his horn in a tradition that’s rumoured to have been going on for 1128 years. Yes you did read that right, the horn has been sounded every single day for 1128 years!
The ancient ceremony of Setting the Watch takes place every evening in the historic market square, and it’s now the world’s oldest unbroken ceremony. So we know what you’re thinking, how did it all start? Well, back in 886 when the city welcomed Alfred the Great he gave the city of Ripon a royal charter. As he decided to grant it in the spur of the moment and found himself without a parchment scroll, he presented the horn as a mark of the charter and instructed the city to treasure it.
To this day, the original horn can still be seen in the City Town Hall, and the official hornblower delights crowds with the sounding of the latest horn every evening without fail. The horn is sounded at 9pm every evening as the hornblower sets the watch at all four of the corners of the obelisk in the centre of the market square.