Old Bolingbroke Candle and Pin Auction

Where: Horncastle, Lincolnshire at the Black Swan on South Street
When: Last Thursday in March
Time: 2.30 pm



The candle and pin auction at Old Bolingbroke is one of a handful of survivors of an ancient method of selling which involves the auctioneer taking bids whilst a candle wth a pin stuck though it burns; when the flame reaches the pin, it falls out and whoever placed the last bid wins. In this case the property up for rent is a six acre grass field called Poor Folks Close ; the auction is currently held at the Black Swan at nearby Horncastle and run by Robert Bell & Co, the local auction house. It appears as Lot 1 in their annual sale of Summer Keeping; this is held traditionally on the last Thursday in March so that the grazier can turn cattle onto the pasture when the grass starts growing in April, and the tenure lasts until the end of October. As it’s part of a sale dealing with agricultural lettings, expect a farming crowd. The origins of the sale appear to be lost in the mists of time, but the current revival has been going since 1937 with only a brief break or two.

Helpful Hints

Thursday is Market Day in Horncastle and  Robert Bell & Co have run the auction since 2009 – earlier printed sources may well give different details for the sale as it has changed slightly over time and experienced more than one revival.

In 2018 it will be on Thursday March 29th.

Click here for the sale website: http://www.robert-bell.org/

Photo by SDR3000 photography.

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