- first half of twentieth century (Creation)
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The Horse Fair in Bampton used to be a very large event akin to the one in Appleby. Horses were tethered all down Bridge Street, along Church Street and outside the church around the triangle of grass between Churchgate House and what is now called Kilmore House. Horse by the church were considered suitable as pit ponies and the Welsh miners knew to go there straight away to find what they needed. Other horses were run up and down Bridge Street to show their sound legs. Tethering rings can still be seen in a few places such as Belgrave Cottages in Church Street. Hurdles were fastened across the outside of some places, such as the Horse Shoe, to stop the horses from smashing their heads through the windows. Horses with a white sticker on their rumps were sold. Selling the horse was the main thing for two days and then there was a fun fair that filled the Market Square and spilled over somewhat all around. World War Two and the coming of the motorcar finished off the horse fair but the fun fair still continues each August in the Market Square.
Horse fair and fun fair seen outside the west side of the Market Square. It would also have filled the Market Square. The Inn at the top left of the photograph is the Lamb, known by locals as The Tree because of the large Ash tree growing outside it. The Inn was completely demolished in 1960 to make way for building the Market Square Garage. The sign for the Talbot hotel shows the landlord to be W Norman. Almost every man wears a hat
Scene of the horse fair in Bridge Street outside the Horse Shoe Inn and Percy Hughes' butchers shop. It must have been taken before 1925 because the Horse Shoe was gutted by fire that year. Hurdles placed over the ground floor windows were to stop the horses from sticking their heads through the windows. Horses with a white spot on their rumps have been sold.
Scene of the horse fair in Bridge Street outside the Horse Shoe Inn and the butchers shop run by J Clark. It must have been taken well before 1925 because the Horse Shoe was gutted by fire that year and in 1925 it was owned by Percy Hughes who also had the butchers shop with his name over the door and on the east side of the building. Hurdles placed over the ground floor windows were to stop the horses from sticking their heads through the windows. Horses with a white spot on their rumps have been sold.
The Horse Fair in Bridge Street looking east. At one time, it was one of the larger horse fairs in the country. Boys with barrows collected the horse dung for sale. The Wheatsheaf became the post office in 1972 and a private house in 2010 when the post office moved to the middle room of the Town Hall. The three semi-circular windows in the first floor of what is now (2014) the HSBC bank and Patrick Strainge butchers have been altered at some point to look like their neighbouring upstairs windows.
The horse fair; horses tethered on Church Green. Horses sold here were for use down the pits and so the Welsh minors knew exactly in which part of Bampton to find them.
The horse fair was an annual event in Bampton and horses were tethered and shown for sale over much of Bampton. Horses shown by the church on the green were considered ideal pit ponies and the miners from South Wales knew to come to this part of Bampton to get their horses.
The annual horse fair in Bampton. These horses are in Church Street. Note that both men and women wore hats and ladies' clothes were generally down to their ankles.
Horse Fair, Church Green about 1900. Horses sold in this part of Bampton at the Horse Fair were considered suitable for use as pit ponies and the minors from South Wales knew to come to this part of town to buy pit ponies
Horse Fair on Church Green in the rain. Horses sold on the green were considered suitable to be pit ponies and the Welsh miners knew to come to this part of Bampton for the pit ponies. The Plain tree just right of centre is now a huge tree (2014)
The Horse Shoe and the Horse Fair before the Pub burnt down in 1925. Percy Hughes had his butcher's shop on the east side of the inn. After the fire, he moved to premises on the west side of The Lamb (facing Cheapside) which was in the Market Square where Thornberry flats now stand. Percy's son Les many years later bought the house now called Exeter House in Cheapside which was then a shop with a garage behind and their petrol pumps were in front of Cromwell House, the dwelling next door. Horses with a white spot on their rumps have been bought. Hurdles across the windows of the pub are to stop the horses from sticking their heads through the windows. Notice the beautiful car in front of the butchers but there's another one at the back of the butcher's shop.
Post card of Bampton Horse fair, outside the Church circa 1910.
Photograph of the Horse Fair looking west down Bridge Street. Percy Hughes was the licensee and he also had the butcher's shop next to the Horse Shoe inn. There was a devastating fire at the inn in 1925 and the building was gutted and rebuilt in its present position. Note the window protection of hurdles to stop the horses putting their heads through the glass. White discs on the horses' rumps show they have been sold. There is a large group of horses tethered outside the high wall that faces Church View. Note the car outside the butchers shop.
Photograph of The Grange from the centre of the road outside The New Inn. Notice the plentiful amount of horse manure in the road and the fact that people are walking and standing in the road shows there was very little traffic, albeit horse drawn.
Horse fair with these animals at the south end of Church View. Notice that the ladies also came out to see the horses making it a spectacle and event for all to enjoy.
Horse Fair - ponies tied up on Church Green were considered by the vendors to be suitable for pit ponies and the Welsh minors knew to come to this part of Bampton to buy their pit ponies. Here, the ladies and children are inside the church wall away from the horses but able to watch the proceedings. It was an event much enjoyed by all and the ladies and children have got their best hats on.
Hughes-Owens' notes on Bampton Horse Fair pre WWI
The Horse Fair pre WWI. Horses in Bridge St outside the Horse Shoe, before it was re-built after a bad fire in 1925. Windows were covered with hurdles to stop the horses sticking their heads through.
Horse fair before WWI. Horses are at the end of Church View by Bridge Street.
Horse Fair pre WWI outside the Wheat Sheaf inn. Boys are collecting horse manure for vegetable gardens. Note the windows are quite different in what is now the HSBC bank and the butchers. The Wheat Sheaf became the Post Office about 1971 and became a private house in 2010 when the post office moved to the Town Hall and it became a private house.
A lady's account of attending the horse fair before she was married.
Running a horse past Sherborne House to show it's soundness. Many people looked forward to the Horse Fair because they met friends from neighbouring villages who walked over, plus, the men who brought the horses travelled the country and they brought something of the wider outside into Bampton.
Horse Fair outside the Talbot. Several carts outside Thompson's the high class grocers. Note everyone, young and old, is wearing a hat of some sort
Horses taken for sale outside the church were considered to ideal as pit ponies. Men with white flags kept the horses in order
Horses for sale at the Horse Fair outside Church Gate House. Ponies for the pits were sold here
Hughes Owens' thoughts and notes on the Horse Fair. David & Rhys Morgan were two brothers from South Wales who used to buy ponies each year.
Hughes Owens’ thoughts and notes on the Horse Fair.
Horse fair. Horses on Church Green. Men with white flags kept the horses under control. A strip of white rag was tied on the tail of a horse when it was sold. In later years, a white sticker was stuck to their rumps. Note the temporary railing in front of Church Gate house. Ladies and children stayed safe in the churchyard while they watched proceedings
Hughes-Owens' thoughts and notes on the Horse Fair.
Horse Fair on Church Green. The trees were planted about 1910 so this picture must be about 1930. The yew trees that were along the south wall of the church were yet to be planted; they were cut down in 1982.
Horse Fair on Church Green. Many men, few horses to be seen in this picture
Hughes-Owens' thoughts and notes on the Horse Fair horses on Church Green. These horses were for sale for work in the Welsh coal mines as pit ponies
Horses in Bridge Street outside the Horse Shoe at the Horse Fair. Those with a white sticker on their rump had been sold. Hurdles at the pub windows stopped the horses sticking their heads through. Note Percy Hughes butcher's shop and ladies outside, one policeman and one young boy spellbound by the sight of the car.
A fair was held in the Market Square at the same time as the Horse Fair. The square is filled with stalls which continue on down High Street. The sign 'Robinson Cheap Butcher' can be seen in the square
Hughes-Owens' thoughts and notes on the Fair.
Carousel on the south side of the Town Hall, coconut shy and a horse from the horse fair.
The fair stalls on the north side of the town hall
Stalls of the fair seen from the west side of the market square
1922 Wonderful picture of people around a horse at the Horse Fair outside the Talbot - W Norman the licensee - and stalls of the fair outside the west side of the town hall. The Lamb in can be seen where Thornberry Flats are now built
1922 Close line-up of horses outside Thompson's the grocery shop at the Horse Fair
1922 Ground floor view of horses outside the Horse Shoe at the Horse Fair. Note the stout posts at the edge of the path for tethering the ponies just outside Albion Place
One of the Friendly Societies leaving church after a service with the procession being lead out by the Bampton Fire Men
Quite a peaceful scene with the horses outside the Wheatsheaf in at Horse Fair time. Note the well-constructed wooden wheelbarrow someone is using to collect the horse dung which was used for fertiliser. A sign at the Elephant and Castle advertises good stabling. There is a gutter channel on the left rather than the pavement and roadside gutter of today
This is the back of the postcard of the horse fair in 2014.1447. It is from Emmie Sollis in 1924 to a Miss J M Pearce in Brighton. Emmie and her husband eventually ran the Swan Inn in Buckland Road.
Witney Gazette May 14th 2014. A photograph of the horse fair shown in the Memory Lane corner of the newspaper. It shows the horse fair outside the Horse Shoe public house in August 1904.
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- Bampton Community Archive (Creator)