Wellington Midsummer Fayre
This year’s Fayre took place on Saturday 9th June 2018 – the next one is 8th June 2019!
The Midsummer Fayre takes place annually on the second Saturday in June, 10am – 3pm around Wellington’s Market Square, All Saints Church and Market Hall. Organised by Wellington H2A, it is funded with support from Wellington Market Company and Wellington Town Council – a great example of volunteer effort, the public purse and private sponsorship all working together to make something good happen.
With around 40 stalls set up outside the parish church, this annual event is inspired by the ancient June fayres that were being held in Wellington as far back as the 13th century, and the town’s annual ‘Jubilee’ celebrations of the 1770s.
THE 2018 PROGRAMME
Below are some pictures from previous years.
June fayres were taking place in Wellington at least as far back as the 13th century, when the town’s Market Charter of 1244 sanctioned a fayre to take place on the Vigil, Feast and Morrow of St Barnabas (10th-12th June). An important commercial event in Wellington’s calendar, it is likely that street entertainers would have been there to make the most of the large crowds and long hours of daylight – just as they are today.
Five hundred years later in the 1770s, the June fayres were still taking place, but the town’s most colourful annual celebration seems to have been the Wellington Jubilee. This was staged slightly earlier in the year at Whitsun, and was advertised in the newly established Shrewsbury Chronicle newspaper from 1773 – 78. Described then as an ‘ancient festival’, it perhaps dated back much further. It comprised ‘a breakfast of tea, coffee and chocolate’ on The Green (the area just north of the parish church), followed by a costumed procession through town and, at night, a ‘Ball and Assembly’.
It is from these past fayres and Jubilees that today’s re-vived Midsummer Fayre takes its inspiration, stirring together six centuries of festivities and folk culture from the 13th to the 19th centuries, when Wellington’s June fayres disappeared.