The actual fiddle played by Knaresborough’s famous Blind Jack Metcalf in the 18th Century has been restored and returned to the Town for the 2017 feva Festival. The 10-day Festival in August will host a series of events to celebrate the 300th anniversary of his birth on 15 August 1717 and it is planned that the fiddle will be on display throughout feva.
Blind from the age of six, Blind Jack rose above his disabilities to become a famous musician, guide, soldier and, above all, a revolutionary road builder gaining national recognition. Stories of his life were collected and printed into a biography of the man published in 1795 as The Life and Times of John Metcalf, commonly known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough.
As part of the celebrations there will be musical performances, talks about his life and an exhibition of illustrations based on his adventures as a young man. His tri-centenary had already been marked by renaming part of the road near the Kestrel pub John Metcalf Way in his honour.
In our photo on the steps of Knaresborough House are local dignitaries with the restored fiddle; from left to right, Shan Oakes, John Metcalf Tri-Centennial Committee, Councillor David Goode (Mayor of Knaresborough), Councillor Mavis Clemmitt, Bernard Higgins, John Metcalf Tri-Centennial Committee, Councillor Anne Jones, Mayor of Harrogate, Alan Cartwright and Marie Cartwright, both of the John Metcalf Tri-Centennial Committee, Nicola Smith, Clerk to Knaresborough Council, Councillor Robert Aspin, Councillor Bill Rigby and Rosie Clarke of the John Metcalf Tri-Centennial Committee.