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Farnham’s 400-year-old tradition

Piper, chef holding venison on a platter and the Town Crier.

The Mayor of Farnham, Cllr Mrs Pat Frost has hosted the town’s 213th Venison Dinner.

The origins of the historic event can be traced back to 1605. The first dinner was held as an attempt by Farnham’s Bailiffs and Burgesses to stop the townsfolk from poaching the deer from Farnham Park.

This year’s event was held in the Great Hall at Farnham Castle and was very well-attended. Guests were greeted by a piper before being announced to the Mayor.

In keeping with tradition, shortly before the main course was served, the chef paraded the venison into the Hall to the accompaniment of the pipes. The chef presented the venison to the Mayor of Farnham who then carved the first slice.

Councillor Mrs Pat Frost, Mayor of Farnham says: “The Venison Dinner is steeped in tradition. After a delicious five-course meal, we made a number of toasts and enjoyed some lively after dinner speeches. The former Bishop of St. Albans, Rt. Revd. Dr Christopher Herbert talked about what he loves about Farnham. He described the essence of the town’s character as being ‘human-sized’, which was an observation many guests recognised.

“Professor Roni Brown from the University for the Creative Arts also gave a warm and thought-provoking speech. She talked about the value of a creative education and how creative thinking can be used to rethink problems. She also shared some of the successes that have been achieved by former UCA students. Finally, I am grateful to Cllr David Hodge, Leader of Surrey County Council and Rev Michael Hopkins of Farnham United Reform Church for their excellent speeches.”

The final toast was made by the Mayor of Farnham who drank from a silver cup which was presented to the ‘Bayliffs and Burgesses of the town of ffarnham’ by Mr John Byworth in 1623. Cllr Frost thanked the guests for supporting the dinner and stated how much she had enjoyed the evening.

The 2016 Venison Dinner will take place on Thursday 10 November.

Guests at the 2015 Venison Dinner.

Guests at the 2015 Venison Dinner.

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