Step back in time at Stourbridge Fair
September means just one thing at the Leper Chapel on Newmarket Road – the annual re-enactment of the Stourbridge Fair. This Saturday (14 September) pop along to this historic building, owned by local charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CambridgePPF), and take a step back in time.
From 12pm onwards join medieval dancers, storytellers, jugglers and stall holders as they bring history to life for the residents of Cambridge and celebrate an event that was once the largest medieval fair in the whole of Europe.
In 1199 King John granted the lepers living at the chapel the right to hold a three-day fair on the Vigil of Holy Cross. Rent from the stalls and booths added to the lepers’ income, which was otherwise derived from begging on the roadside, and from the crops they grew.
The event was so successful that it was held annually until 1933, attracting merchants and visitors from miles around. Goods on sale at the Stourbridge Fair typically included silk, wool, garlic, hops and cheese. Today many of the commodities that were sold live on in the names of the surrounding streets – Garlic Row, Oyster Row, Mercers Row and Cheddars Lane.
The re-enactment of the Stourbridge Fair opens at 12pm on Saturday 14 October and finishes at 4:30pm. Anyone interested in the history of the fair and surrounding area can join a special guided walk at 10am. Meet at the entrance to Stourbridge Common off ‘Riverside’ for a stroll that will take in the local area and bring you to the Leper Chapel in good time for the official opening.
This is a free event but donations towards the upkeep of the chapel are always appreciated. Local conservation charity andmembership organisation CambridgePPF looks after the Leper Chapel with the help and support of The Friends of the Leper Chapel. CambridgePPF also cares forother historic buildings and green spaces in and around Cambridge – maintaining them for future generations to enjoy.
For more information about CambridgePPF and the Leper Chapel, please go to: http://cambridgeppf.org/leper-chapel.shtml