WEDDING EXTRAORDINARY – THE DONKEYS
From the Leeds Times

On Monday forenoon, a wedding party from Golcar, consisting of three white-waistcoated young men and three maidens, preceded by an “old father,” who was to give away the bride at church, entered the town of Huddersfield, walking peaceably, but with their faces suffused with blushes, along the causeways. What caused them to blush, and the immediate collection of an immense crowd of spectators, which accompanied them to the gates of the parish church was an extraordinary procession of twelve donkeys (each mounted by a young man) which attended the wedding party as a guard of honour. The donkeys and their riders were gracefully decorated with garlands of straw and dirty rags, and the riders carried broomsticks on their shoulders, a la drawn swords. As this extraordinary cavalcade proceeded along the streets, the crowd continued rapidly to increase, until the streets became entirely blocked, and it was with considerable difficulty that the police could clear a passage for the bridal party to the church. The chief constable and the police soon learnt that the donkeys and their riders were obnoxious to the wedding folks, and by their desire the donkeys, who were standing at the gates of the church were ordered to “move on”. The reply, however, was that they were determined to exercise the undoubted rights of Englishmen, and walk on the Queen’s highway, so they continued to parade Kirkgate and Cross Church Street for two hours, the wedding party having so long to wait before a clergyman could be found. The “silken knot of matrimony” having at length been tied, the wedding party was seen to emerge from the back door of the church, and wend its way through the back-yard gates into Saint Pater’s-street, and from thence through St George’s square to the railway station, about 100 yards above. The information was soon given to the donkeys and the crowd, who immediately set off pell-mell up Kirkgate and John William-street, to the station. The scene here baffled description. Let the reader imagine a crowd of several thousands, and such a donkey procession as we have described, hastening under such circumstances to catch the wedding party, and about half-a-dozen policemen vainly endeavouring to arrest their progress. It was all the most lively imagination can picture. Stalls, fruit tables and old women being knocked over. The wedding folks, however, got safely ensconced in the London and North western booking-office, and the doors locked against the donkeys and the crowd, but there was no train to Golcar for nearly two hours. The donkeys were driven away by the police, the crowd soon afterwards dispersed, and the wedding party left in a cab, and proceeded to Golcar.

Source: Morning Advertiser, 9 August 1853