Madrid sheep festival mirrors Preston

Fiesta de la Trashumancia, Madrid.
Fiesta de la Trashumancia, Madrid.

By Andrew Atkinson

THE annual Fiesta de la Trashumancia October Festival of sheep in Madrid, that spans over six centuries, mirrors my home City Preston, Lancashire.

In the 1800s Freemen were given ancient privileges – and were allowed to herd their sheep on Preston’s Moor Park.

Madrid staged the 601st anniversary of the Fiesta de la Trashumancia from Casa de Campo to Cibeles in 2019, in celebration of seasonal migration.

Thousands of sheep flocked to Spain’s capital, to the sounds of singing, dancing and music. Similar scenes were seen in years gone by in Preston, whose name is derived from the Old English meaning Priest’s settlement.

In the Domesday Book of 1086 it is recorded as Prestune. The City’s Coat of Arms is of a sheep, with the initials PP, derived of Proud Preston.

Preston is one of the world’s biggest cotton manufacturers of yesteryear. Being granted the Freedom of the Borough enables you to take sheep through the City centre, similar to that of Spain’s ceremony.

Only 23 people have the honour of the Freedom of the Borough in Preston in the last century.

Preston born Nick Park, creator of Shaun the Sheep, the film that Premiered in 2015, was presented with the honour in 1997.

The late Sir Tom Finney, former England and Preston North End footballer, was given the Honour of Freeman in 1979.

Ex-England cricketer Andrew Flintoff was given the Freedom of Preston in 2005, when Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the Preston born sportsman becoming an Honorary Freeman.