RESIDENTS in Colchester have the chance to apply for a prestigious honour dating back to 1189.

Applications for Colcestrians eligible for the ceremonial Freeburgess title are now open.

The Freeburgess title is a ceremonial honour dating back to the 1189 Royal Charter of Richard the Lionheart.

Successful applicants need to either have been apprenticed for seven years to a member of the Guild of Master Craftsman who also holds the title, or have a parent or grandparent with Freeburgess status.

More 400 Master Craftsman trades and crafts qualify for the title, from traditional occupations, such as cabinet makers, tree surgeons and coffin makers, to modern skills including aluminium fabrication and asbestos products and removal.

Colchester Mayor Peter Chillingworth said: “While Freeburgess status is now simply a ceremonial honour, its continued existence plays an important part in keeping our long history and heritage alive.

“Whether residents think they qualify through parentage or master craftsmanship, I encourage them to apply ahead of the Town Hall ceremony this autumn.”

The deadline is 5pm on September 12, ahead of the ceremony on October 9, when the status will be conferred by Mr Chillingworth.

Download the application at