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Fair revived after 150 years

PUBLISHED: 22:00 16 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:45 03 March 2010

AN ANCIENT fair is being revived at the Suffolk History Festival in Stowmarket this summer – more than 150 years after it was last held.

The Cherry Fair, held annually in the grounds of Abbots Hall in July, was an established tradition in the historic market town in the 18th century.

AN ANCIENT fair is being revived at the Suffolk History Festival in Stowmarket this summer – more than 150 years after it was last held.

The Cherry Fair, held annually in the grounds of Abbots Hall in July, was an established tradition in the historic market town in the 18th century.

But it died out after the town authorities cracked down on people who used the fair as an excuse for drunkenness and hooliganism.

According to the historian Reverend A.G.H. Hollingsworth, author of the History of Stowmarket, the once popular trading fair which had its roots in the 13th Century, had fallen into disrepute. It became little more than a pleasure fair when it was last held in 1844.

Bob Malster, Vice Chair of the Suffolk Local History Council, said: "The fair was once the resort of Stowmarket's best people, who turned out to promenade the booths, chat with friends and savour the new season's cherries."

The fair will now be held at the Museum of East Anglian Life on Saturday 12th July (10 am - 5 pm) and Sunday 13th July (11 am - 5 pm).

History buffs and culture lovers will also be treated to a 'journey through the ages', according to Ches Riches, Tourism Development Officer. More than fifty local history societies and groups have booked stands so far.

Highlights include a battalion of 1st and 2nd Century AD Roman soldiers who will be living at the museum site for the festival.

Anglo Saxon settlers from West Stow will be demonstrating their weaving and carving skills, the Khaki Chums will be drilling with their Boer War rifles and 19th century steam engines will be working alongside Suffolk Punch and other traditional farm horses.

The festival is being organised by the Museum of East Anglian Life, the Suffolk Local History Council and Mid Suffolk District Council.


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