Chapter 4. The Fair at Great Mongeham - Decline of the fair

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Chapter 4. The Fair at Great Mongeham
A charter is granted
The fair flourishes
Decline of the fair
Evidence for a fair
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Decline of the Fair

But the heyday of the Great Mongeham fair was to pass. As the Middle Ages progressed so more and more goods would have been available from shops in nearby towns such as Sandwich and Dover. The growth of Deal in the seventeenth century meant that there was not so far to walk to the shops. In Richard Kilburne’s survey of Kent of 1659 he wrote ‘A Fair is kept here yearly upon St. Lukes day’, which suggests that the fair had already been reduced to one day. By 1800 the date had been changed to 29th October. A newspaper article in the Deal, Walmer and Sandwich Mercury of 3 November, 1865 recorded that “This fair was held on Monday last and will soon be numbered among the things that were. Time was when the Mongeham ‘annual’ attracted a considerable number of dealers in cattle, sheep and horses, but of late years it has continued to grow ‘small by degrees and beautifully less’. The show on Monday consisted of a few old nags – high in bone and low in flesh – and we are informed, only one cow.” By the late nineteenth century the fair was gone. All that was left in the village was an annual funfair which was held in the field opposite the Three Horseshoes, where the dairy now stands. That too is gone, and only survives in the memories of some of our older inhabitants.



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