Rothwell Rowell Trinity Fair

Where: Rothwell, Northamptonshire starting at Holy Trinity Church on Squires Hill
When: Trinity Monday
Time: 6am



Street fighting

Rothwell is normally a quiet market town – except for Proclamation Day which marks the start of the Rowell Trinity Fair at Rothwell in Northamptonshire and begins with a pub-crawl with a difference. It’s held on the first Monday following Trinity Sunday each year so it moves date around the end of May to the end of June depending on when Easter fell that year. The fair is held to celebrate the granting of  a charter to Rothwell by King John, allowing the residents to hold a weekly market – so it’s been going for 800 years or so, though the charter read during the Proclamation dates from the time of King James I. It starts early – when the clock strikes 6 am at the west porch of  Holy Trinity Church. Accompanied by a band, the bailiff  on horseback (or sometimes in a horse-drawn cart) and his halberdiers and officials make their way to the church, whereupon the bailiff reads the charter to the assembled crowd. The National Anthem is played and the party are served the traditional Rowell Fair Rum and Milk to warm them up for their journey around the  town and its pubs. After the first couple of stops (for refreshment!) mayhem breaks out – the crowd attempt to wrest control of the halberds from the halberdiers. Once the whistle is blown, order is restored and the group move on to the next stop – the last stopping place is the Rowell Charter Inn and the whole things ends after an hour or so (in plenty of time for breakfast!).

Helpful Hints

Trinity Sunday is the eighth Sunday after Easter, and Trinity Monday is the day following Trinity Sunday. Proclamation Day is always on Trinity Monday. A Blessing of the Fair takes place on Trinity Sunday afternoon in amongst the rides, after a Civic Service at the Church (following which the Bone Crypt will usually be open to visitors).

In 2018 it will be on Monday 28th May.

The event is also known as Rowell Fair (from local pronunciation) and it’s now a fun-fair rather than a livestock market but it still lasts for the traditional five days. While at Rothwell, look out for the unusual Market House built by local recusant Sir Thomas Tresham (who built the even more bizarre Rushton Triangular Lodge up the road), and at Holy Trinity there is a Bone Crypt, one of only 2 in the UK. Rowell Fair Tarts should be on sale in town – small curd tarts which have been associated with the fair for many years.

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