Rothwell Fair 2008

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In 1204 King John issued a royal charter granting Rothwell the right to hold a market every Monday:

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John, by the grace of God King, be it known that we have granted, and by this our present charter do confirm to our beloved and faithful Richard – Earl of Clare and his heirs that they may have their market of Rowell on Monday, with all the liberties and free customs to that market belonging as it was formerly [held] on Sunday, so that nevertheless it be not the hurt of neighbouring markets.

Besides which we grant and by this our charter we have confirmed to the same Earl Richard and his heirs, that they may have yearly, a fair at Rowell at the feast of the Holy Trinity for and during the five days, that is to say on the eve of the Holy Trinity and on that day and on three following days, so nevertheless that such fair will not be to the hurt of neighbouring fairs.

Wherefore we will and firmly declare that the aforesaid Earl Richard and his heirs may and hold the aforesaid market and the aforesaid fair of us and our heirs in perpetuity well and in peace, freely and quietly, rightly, fully and with honour, with all the liberties and free customs as aforesaid.

Witness the Lord H. Archbishop of Canterbury, J Norwich and W. London Bishops etc. Given at Westminster the 26th day of January, in the fifth year.

The granting of the charter is celebrated annually by the week-long Rowell Fair.

The fair is opened on the first Monday after Trinity Sunday each year by the Proclamation,  Starting at 6 am at the west door of Holy Trinity church, the bailiff of the Lord of the Manor rides through the town accompanied by a guard of halberdiers and the Rowell Fair Society Band.

At each public house, he pauses to read aloud the charter. At the conclusion of each reading, the crowd cheers “God save the Queen and the Lord of the Manor” and the band plays the National Anthem.

The proprietor of the public house then serves the bailiff and his guards with drinks including the traditional Rowell Fair rum and milk. The local townspeople then attempt to disarm the halberdiers before the party moves on to the next public house.

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