Our home town – the Guild City of Preston & Preston Guild

We are taking a moment of quiet reflection and time away from Social Media following the death of our Queen.  And it’s got us thinking about the great royal connections between the monarchy and our home town of Preston.  Whether you’re from the area or not, you may have heard the phrase “once every Preston Guild”.  This is usually referring to events that happen pretty rarely, or every 20 years in this case!  But what exactly are our royal connections?

Proud Preston

Marley Solicitors started out life a couple of decades ago, close to Preston city centre before moving closer to home in Bamber Bridge.  But Preston hasn’t always been a City. We were granted city status in 2002, becoming England’s 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, some 22 years ago now.  A moment where we truly were “Proud Preston” as we’ve become known.  Though the PP that appears on our City’s shield doesn’t actually stand for that.  It’s a common misconception, but the initials represent “Princeps Pacis” (translated as Prince of Peace).

The late Queen visited Preston on many occasions; the first time as Monarch was in 1955 as part of a royal tour of Lancashire.  Though she also visited 6 years previously when she was then Princess Elizabeth.  In 1974 she returned with Prince Philip where she visited Preston’s iconic Victorian railway station whilst the Prince visited the Strand Road BAC Works.  Just 3 years later she was back as part of a tour of Britain in celebration of her Silver Jubilee year marking 25 years on the throne.  But it’s the Queen’s visit to Preston in 2002 as part of her Golden Jubilee that people most remember.  That’s when the town was granted City Status, and was to become her last formal visit to the City.

Preston becomes a City

It was the final day of her Golden Jubilee tour of Britain, on 5th August.  Her Majesty the Queen said, “I have been profoundly moved by the affection shown and by the warmth of the response to my Golden Jubilee.” As were the people of our city in recognition of it’s new city status.  And it’s promise of what it could mean for the future and development of the town.  Preston became England’s 50th city by seeing off competition from 26 other English applicants. “Team Preston” based its bid on its heritage, the university and because of its history as the traditional administrative centre of Lancashire.

What is Preston Guild

The Preston Guild itself though goes way back, to times of a much earlier monarch.  Preston Guild is a Royal tradition that began in 1179,  Henry II granted the market town its first royal charter and established a Guild Merchant. The purpose was to licence local traders, craftsmen and merchants. Only Guild members, or Burgesses as they were known, were allowed to operate in the town.  It’s now celebrated every 20 years, with the next Preston Guild being in 2032.