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Tewkesbury Mop Fair

Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, United Kingdom

Tewkesbury Mop Fair has its roots in the Medieval hiring fairs that took place throughout England on or around Michaelmas Day. These days it is less about finding servants for the year and more about having a good time, with rides taking over the majority of the town for a two day festival.

First Held12th Century
Season9 & 10 October (unless these fall on a Sunday)
Websitewww.tewkesburyfairsociety.co.uk
NearbyWest Midland Safari Park (27 miles)
Drayton Manor (46 miles)
Grand Pier Weston-super-Mare (57 miles)
Gulliver's Land (61 miles)
Wicksteed Park (67 miles)
Crowds at the Mop Fair

Crowds at the Mop Fair

Nestled on the streets between the old Tudor buildings in the centre of Tewkesbury, the town's Mop Fair can trace its history back to at least 1199. Originally an event to allow the working classes to find work for the coming year, the modern day fair has less to do with employment and more to do with thrills on the rides and fun on the games stalls.

Traditionally, labourers, servants, craftsmen and farmhands would be employed from October to October each year. Dressed in their Sunday best and carrying an item to signify their trade, they would come to the fair seeking to be hired for the coming year. A person without any particular skill would signify this by carrying a mop head - hence the name "mop fair". Once they had agreed terms, their new employer would give them a small amount of money to fasten their contract - the "fasten-penny".

Stalls at the fair offering various games, food and drink would be available for the newly employed worker to relieve themselves of their coin. By the mid 1800s, Tewkesbury's mop fair was also featuring roundabouts, dancing girls and shooting galleries.

Today's fair is presented by local showman James Danter from Gloucester, and features a large number of thrill rides together with the more traditional games stalls and fair food - but a distinct lack of dancing girls shows!

Photo Gallery

Videos

Tewkesbury Mop Fair 2011 video

Tewkesbury Mop Fair 2011