A roundabout at Stockport
town centre owned by Lodge
member Keith James
When the ancient Goose Fair, well over 700 years old, gets
underway at Nottingham in October, among the showmen
who will be entertaining the thousands of visitors will be
members of a newly consecrated Lodge, The Showmen’s
Showmen have been associated with fairs as far back as at
least Roman times, the word ‘fair’ deriving from the Latin
word ‘feria’ meaning ‘holiday’. As fairgrounds became
established, many were granted charter status by the
sovereign, and a number of these charter fairs exist today
with their showmen in attendance.
These include King’s Lynn, under a charter granted by
King John in 1204, which traditionally starts the travelling
showmen’s season on St Valentine’s Day – 14 February.
The association with the church still continues to this day,
for the opening ceremony at King’s Lynn begins with a
blessing from the Mayor’s Chaplain.
These early fairs were originally for the sale of livestock, but
quickly attracted the travelling showmen, and many fairs were
associated with Saints’ days and the early Christian church.
The granting of a charter by the sovereign was much
prized, as it laid down the dates, provided protection against
rival fairs and gave the right to collect dues and tolls. In return,
there was an obligation to hold the fair on the stated dates.
Web site created by Mark Griffin