Fairs and markets

Fairs and markets were a regular occurrence in Bradworthy for centuries. They continued to thrive into this century, but gradually died away. The last known fair was held in 1913, and the market came to an end around 1985.

Bradworthy Fair

Bradworthy Fair, 9 September 1908.

In 1995 Jane Addy established the Local Agenda 21 Group which aimed to ensure a more sustainable future.

In 1996 the Group revived the annual Bradworthy fair, as a vehicle for raising awareness about what sustainability means in practice. The fair is held mainly in the Square and presents demonstrations of rural skills, native breeds of animal and locally produced food and goods.

The early fairs were amongst the most important events of the year. One was held in June and the other on 9th September, both on the Square.

Bradworthy Fair

Bradworthy Fair in 1910. The Fair was traditionally held in September.

The latter event was a large sheep fair with frequently over a thousand sheep being brought in for sale.

The sheep began arriving early in the morning by all the roads into the village with a number of men busy penning them. There were cattle also. The villagers erected poles across the fronts of their homes to prevent the animals strolling in at the door. Before the 1914-18 War the auctioneer was Mr. R.L. Ashton.

A part of the Square would be occupied by switchbacks and steam ponies, stalls and coconut shies, and all the usual paraphernalia which made up the fun of the fair.

Market Day

Market Day in the early 1960ís.

If the corn harvest was finished or well advanced by the day of the fair, the farm workers were given a holiday when the workmen and their wives, the chaps and their maids all had a very jolly time.

The first auction was held in April 1914, when the auctioneer was Mr. J.P. Seldon. He was succeeded in the early 1920's by Mr. W. Seldon and Mr. W.J. Cory who formed a partnership (Seldon and Cory). W.J. Cory retired in 1978 when he was 95 years old.

ram sale

Bradworthy Market. A ram sale in September 1949. Stan Bond, W.J. Cory and Bill Seldon

After the 1914-18 War a monthly cattle market was held in the field opposite the school (now Westholme).

Later, between 1922 and 1924, it moved to the Market Field next to the school (now the school car park).

last market

The last market conducted by W.J. Cory was in 1978. W.J. Cory, Lorna Jenkins and Peter Kivell.

Cattle and sheep were driven in from the farms, whereas pigs were brought by horse and cart.

A large number of dealers and agricultural merchants attended these markets.

The January market was always a Prize Day when prizes, including a cup for best exhibit, were awarded for cattle, sheep and pig classes.

Auction - August 1938
Messrs Seldon and Cory had an entry of 120 sheep and lambs, 12 cows and calves, 40 fat and store cattle, 113 pigs and 500 head of poultry. Quotations as follows: Couples from 54s. to 77s. per couple; lambs to 39s. each; hogs to 43s. each; ewes to 37s. each; cows and calves to £25 5s; heifers and calves to £24 2s 6d; calves to £5 1s each.

Auction - September 1943
Messrs Seldon and Cory had heavy supplies, including 750 sheep, 26 cows and calves, 20 calves, 149 cattle, 8 horses and colts, 2 loads of pigs, etc. There was a very large attendance and good prices were realised. Quotations: Lamb from 53s to 75s each; Wethers to 88s each; Closewool breeders to 88s each; calves to £4 each; steers from £40 to £65 per pair; heifers from £36 to £62; cow heifers to £30; cows to £22.

Auction - September 1949
The monthly auction was held on Monday when Messrs Seldon and Cory had a good entry of stock comprising 448 sheep, 12 cows and calves, 12 calves, 86 cattle etc.

There was a good selling trade from all stock. Quotations: Lambs from £5 5s to £6 12s each; cows and calves to £66 10s; heifers and calves to £50; calves to £8 each; steers to £115 per pair; heifers to £100 10s per pair; and cows to £90 per pair.

Auction - September 1953
There was a good attendance, and, in spite of inclement weather, a good demand for all stock. Messrs Seldon and Cory had on offer: 472 sheep, 4 cows and calves, 7 calves, 78 cattle and 5 loads of pigs.
Quotations: Lambs to £8 15s each; Closewool breeders to £9 8s 6d; cows and calves to £83 10s; calves to £6; steers to £140 per pair; heifers to £130 per pair; young cows to £ 61 each.

Auction - July 1968
Seldon and Cory had on offer 124 lambs, 102 cattle and 5 calves. Quotations: Shorn lambs to £6 5s each; wool lambs to £6 14s each; wool ewe lambs to £6 17s 6d each; calves to £18 each; yearlings to £100 per pair; cows to £50 10s each; heifers to £88 each; steers to £87 each.


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