LEIGHTON BUZZARD WILKES WALK
Wilkes Walk is an annual procession to the Almshouses on North Street in Leighton Buzzard Bedfordshire Uk.
It takes place every Rogation Sunday in memory of Edward Wilkes who founded the Almshouses in the seventeenth century and died in 1646. His son, Matthew, left funds to be devoted to this annual commemoration.
The procession includes a garland bearer, clergy, Almshouse officials and the choir of All Saints Church; after a short service a reading is taken from Wilkes’ Will, while one of the choir members stands on their head as is stipulated in the Will. At the Alms Houses the choir sings a short anthem, prayers are read in thanksgiving for the Wilkes family and part of the will is read aloud. While this is done a member of the choir must stand upon his or her head. Each member of the Alms Houses also receives a small remuneration to celebrate the day.
Afterwards, refreshments, beer and a light lunch provided at the Market Cross. This became very unrully and was abandoned many years ago. Buns, soft drinks and tea are provided back aat the church instead. The young members of the choir are given a £1 and the Vicar gets £50, which he gives to Save the Children Charity.
Many rogationtide boundary marking customs involve youngsters being bumped, upended or whipped at set boundary points to help them remember the location of the landmarks, and perhaps the head-stand derives from this