Appleby Horse Fair

Here is a photo essay from my trip to Appleby Horse Fair last year. My reason for going was that I am fascinated by anything alluding to a past time, outside of the homogenised world that we increasingly find ourselves in – particularly in the West.

Appleby is like stepping into another world, a time gone by. I have never experienced anything quite like it!

Please see below a bit of factual information about Appleby Horse Fair from our friends at Wikipedia.

The horse fair is held each year in early June. It attracts about 10,000 Gypsies and Travellers and about 30,000 other people. Rather than an organised event with a set programme, it’s billed as the biggest traditional Gypsy Fair in Europe, one that’s like a big family get together. The horses are washed and trotted up and down the flashing lane most main days. There is a market on Jimmy Winter’s Field selling a variety of goods – some traditional to the Gypsy travelling community – and other. The Gypsy and Traveller attendees include British RomanichalIrish TravellersScottish Gypsy and Traveller groupsKale (Welsh Romanies), and more. [2]

The fair is held outside the town of Appleby where the Roman Road crosses Long Marton Road, not far from Gallows Hill, named after the public hangings that were once carried out there. In the mid 20th century the story developed that the fair originated with a royal charter to the borough of Appleby from King James II of England in 1685. However, recent research has shown that the 1685 charter, which was cancelled before it was enrolled, is of no relevance. Appleby’s medieval borough fair, held at Whitsuntide, ceased in 1885. The ‘New Fair’, held in early June on Gallows Hill, which was then unenclosed land outside the borough boundary, began in 1775 for sheep and cattle drovers and horse dealers to sell their stock; by the 1900s it had evolved into a major Gypsy/Traveller occasion. No-one bestowed the New Fair, no-one ever owned it, no-one was ever charged to attend it: it was and remains, a true people’s fair.




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