Fair


Fair
Market held at regular intervals, usually once to twice a year. Fairs tended to offer a wider range of goods than normal markets. They were generally licensed by either the King, a local lord, or a chartered town, hence the "Charter Fairs" still held in Britain. In later centuries, especially after the 1351 "Statute of Labourers" was brought in to combat the severe labour shortages following the "Black Death;" Hiring, Mop or Statute Fairs became the common way of hiring workers and labourers for the next year. Often, a second fair would be held about a month later, to permit the re-hiring of workers unsuited to their original jobs.
Often, workers and labourers would carry a symbol of their trade. Sucking a straw is said to have been the signal used by agricultural labourers who were looking for work.
Bridgwater's 1200 charter allowed an annual fair lasting eight days from the day of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist (June 24th), with toll, paage, pontage, passage, lastage, stallage and with all other liberties and free customs pertaining to a free borough and to a market and fair.
Important markets for the sale of goods, generally temporary gatherings of merchants, farmers and artificers, the most powerful of which were held in the boroughs.

Medieval glossary. 2014.

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