Copyright Showmen’s Guild Yorkshire.
The majority of fairs held in this country trace their ancestry back to charters and privileges
granted in the medieval period. In the thirteenth century, the creation of fairs by royal charter
was widespread, with the Crown making every attempt to create new fairs and to bring
existing ones under their jurisdiction.
By the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the majority of English fairs had been granted
charters and were reorganised to fall in line with their European counterparts. The granting
of charters however did not necessarily herald the right to hold a fair: it was in effect the
control of revenues for the Crown in return for the control and organisation to stay with a
particular town, abbey or village. Between 1199 and 1350 over fifteen hundred charters
were issued granting the rights to hold markets or fairs. © Vanessa Toulmin December
A list of Charters granted can be found in
The Gazetteer of Markets and Fairs
in England and Wales to 1516 © Samantha Letters, (last updated 25/06/02)
Further information on Charter Fairs and Mops can be found on the
National Fairground Archive