Chilham Castle in Kent celebrated it’s 400th anniversary over the weekend, which culminated in runners re-enacting the Dudley Digges Memorial Chase, last run over 150 years ago.
In his will, Sir Dudley Digges left prize money for a race to be run each year ‘by young men and maidens of good conversation from Chilham and its surrounds’. Over time the racers became less orderly, indeed even disorderly and the Wildman family, owners of the castle at the time in true Victorian rectitude, called a stop to the proceedings! On Sunday the race got underway once again with a “bang” and at least 20 teams, of two or more members dressed in some sort of period costume. The winners, the first complete team crossing the line won £100 in cash, and other prizes were awarded to the team with the best costume etc. The course, of about two and a half miles around the stunning castle grounds, included climbing over and scrambling under static horse jumps, wading into a pond to collect a rubber duck, as well as an egg and spoon and sack race.
All proceeds of the weekend, which included a concert, Jane Austen Ball and village fete, went to local organizations.