Happy Lanimers!

Every June the town of Lanark in Scotland holds its Lanimer celebrations. The festivities reach a high point on the Thursday of Lanimer week, when the town's schoolchildren parade in fancy dress with decorated vehicles, pipe bands, and a Lanimer Queen and court elected from local children.

The Lanimer celebrations are based on King David I (r. 1124 - 1153) granting Lanark the status of Royal Burgh during his reign. A condition of the charter stated that the merchants of the town must inspect their March or boundary stones each year. Lanark claims to have carried out this duty every year since then, and the Land Marches became transformed over time into the annual Lanimer celebrations.

The Lanimer Queen, Court, and Lord Cornet

The first Lanimer Queen was chosen in 1893, and nowadays is elected by the children of one of six rotating local schools. On the Thursday, she is literally, "queen for a day", and is crowned following the procession. She also attends receptions where the children taking part in the procession perform, and a Lanimer Ball with the Lord Cornet on the Tuesday night.

A Lanimer Court is also chosen from schoolchildren, and includes Outriders, First and Second Lords, the Queen's Champion, Yeomen of the Guard, Sword, Crown, and Sceptre Bearers, Page Boys, and Ladies-in-waiting.

Finally, a Lord Cornet is chosen from among local businessmen to bear the town Standard, escort the Queen, and inspect the March stones.

Events in Lanimer Week

Lanimer week begins on Sunday when the Lord Cornet-Elect is led from the town's Memorial Hall to St Nicholas' Parish Church for the Kirkin' of the Cornet. On the Monday evening, large crowds turn out for the Perambulation of the Marches, and there's a lot of splashing about in the River Mouse. A Scottish country dancing display takes place at Lanark Cross, followed by the Sashing of the Cornet and the Shifting of the Standard. The evening ends with the Lord Cornet's Reception. Tuesday sees the Lanimer Ball at a local hotel, when the Lord Cornet escorts the Lanimer Queen-Elect. An official ride-out around the March stones takes place on Wednesday night, followed by the presentation of the New Lanark Loving Cup to the Queen-Elect at New Lanark.

Lanimer Day

Lanimer Day itself is usually held on the Thursday between the 6th and 12th of June, barring a June election which greatly annoys some of the townsfolk! Schoolchildren and others parade through the town in costumes accompanied decorated floats. They each receive a Lanimer penny for participating. With the children march pipe bands, ex-cornets, and visiting dignitaries. The court ride in cars after the parade, and the Queen has an open-top coach.

Once the parade has gone once around the town centre, the children mount a stand in front of St Nicholas Church (and a statue of William Wallace on the steeple). The court also climb the stand and eventually the Queen is crowned by a local lady, to wide acclaim from the assembled crowds. "Flower of Scotland" and "Scots Wha Hae" are played, and a Lanimer Proclamation read out, followed by "God Save the Queen" , the British national anthem.

Later in the afternoon, the Lord Cornet has two processions on foot and horseback. Various entertainments for children and adults are laid on at Castlebank Park, and musical entertainment takes place at the cross in the evening. For the children, the final climax is performing at the Lanimer Queen's Receptions on the Thursday and Friday nights, followed by a disco.

I hope this writeup has given some idea of the excitement felt in Lanark as Lanimer Week approaches, and the hard work that goes into preparations for the festivities.

Lanark Lanimer Brochure 2004

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