THE Duke of Gloucester is to kick off Melksham's 800th anniversary celebrations for receiving a Royal Charter for a market from King Henry 111 in 1219.

Prince Richard will visit Melksham on Friday, September 27 to unveil a commemorative plaque for display in the town’s Market Place. Local stonemason, Jim Wheel, at Sandridge Stone, has been commissioned to produce the plaque for the event.

The charter allowed the town to hold a regular Tuesday market – which still exists – and a Michaelmas Fayre at the end of September.

During his visit, the Duke will also view work produced by local school children in the Town Hall and the historical banners and flags hand-made by local volunteers.

Other events include a town criers' competition, a 23-course medieval banquet in the Assembly Hall, and a medieval tournament in King George V Playing Field.