David Preston, former Oswestry Town Council Town Clerk, visited Borderland Rotary recently to discuss his adventures since leaving his post, which he held for thirty-three years, some four years ago.

David, a familiar face in the Oswestry area, is now chief executive of the National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) which promotes, supports, and advises markets throughout the country that include famous ones such as Borough and Billingsgate in London and many others in just about every town in the land.

David then posed a question, “By tradition, why must markets be at least six and two thirds’ miles apart, as the crow flies?”

Well, after much discussion and many suggestions, David answered the question, “In medieval times, it was assumed that a person could walk 20 miles in a day so if you spent a third of the day walking to market, a third of the day at the market and a third walking home, thus twenty, divided by three, equals six and two thirds. This also goes to show how town markets are so much part of the fabric of our society and history as they have been ever present over the millennia. Take Oswestry market, for instance, although it is assumed that the market already existed, the very first formal charter, which gave common law protection, was granted in the reign of King Henry 2nd in 1262 with further charters in the reigns of James 1st and Charles 2nd so it’s clear that there’s been a market somewhere in the town for more than 750 years! Of course, in those early day, you couldn’t buy potatoes as they weren’t introduced to Britain until 1586, but you can’t have everything”.

The government have set up an all-party Markets Group that is actively working with NABMA to encourage events that will help sustain markets and market traders and it also understands the social impact that markets have on the communities they serve as they are great places to socialise, especially for older people.

Pictured: David Preston, Andy Boroughs (Borderland president) & Harry Richardson.