PDA

View Full Version : Information on Historical Horse Fairs?



Ambri
05-26-2010, 03:39 AM
So, it seems I've looked high and low for information on horse fairs, specifically in England, circa the early 1800's. I've found references to a few titles, such as "Appleby Horse Fair," but these are listed as unavailable/ out of print at Amazon, and even the research libraries at the state colleges seem to be lacking in this subject.

Does anyone possess any knowledge about historical horse fairs, or links, or know of titles that may still be in print? I'm specifically looking for sensory details, i.e. what these events looked like, what other things might be bought and sold, how the horses and other livestock were organized, contained, etc., and how one actually went about purchasing a horse at one of these fairs. I'd especially be interested in the Gypsy/ Rom horse fairs that took place in the towns of Appleby and Priddy, UK.

Thanks

shaldna
05-26-2010, 12:04 PM
Horse fairs are still big business, and haven't really changed much. Some of the big fairs are pretty intimidating.

Don't get fairs confused with auctions or sales though. Sales and acutions are pretty organised compared to fairs.

On arriving at a fair you can expect more or less total chaos. there will be people everywhere. Horses being trotted up, ridden around, tied to anything stationary. Foals running loose. People poking and prodding, shouting, arguing. Horses being examinined. Bargining done.

Sometimes there will be auctions at them too, with horses in a sale ring. but mostly it's one to one.

And the smell.

Oh god the smell.


And appleby still runs. We go occassionally. check out it's website www.applebyfair.org

pdr
05-26-2010, 02:31 PM
That's Appleby Fair.

I remember it. Back in the 1950s. So many old worn out horses in the back row, and particularly the young foals, motherless, in a group but still fuzzy tailed.

Vardos parked to one side, one vardo with a fortune teller. Gypsies in full costume, and everywhere horses being trotted out.

It was a good place to learn about rogues and their tricks, not an honest horse-coper in sight.

The language was Romany or foul four letter word English.

shaldna
05-26-2010, 03:37 PM
it's still pretty knackery to be honest. but it always will be. worth a visit though. hasn';t changed.

It's on a couple of weeks

Ambri
05-26-2010, 07:31 PM
Ah. Thank you for the descriptions. I'd seen references to the Appleby fair still going on, even these days, but unfortunately finances (and my day job) prevent me from going in person. Possibly I'll look up the website and see if I can find some pics.

So . . . are horses the ONLY thing bought and sold at a horse fair? Somehow, I'd assumed that other livestock, and other "country fair" produce, such as veggies and cheeses, etc., might also be offered at a horse fair. If that's wrong, please let me know. It also sounds as if a horse fair is considered somewhat "shady" or "dodgy"?

Also, what's a "horse coper"?

Thanks!

shaldna
05-26-2010, 07:46 PM
Ah. Thank you for the descriptions. I'd seen references to the Appleby fair still going on, even these days, but unfortunately finances (and my day job) prevent me from going in person. Possibly I'll look up the website and see if I can find some pics.

So . . . are horses the ONLY thing bought and sold at a horse fair? Somehow, I'd assumed that other livestock, and other "country fair" produce, such as veggies and cheeses, etc., might also be offered at a horse fair. If that's wrong, please let me know. It also sounds as if a horse fair is considered somewhat "shady" or "dodgy"?

Also, what's a "horse coper"?

Thanks!


Horse and donkeys, tack and traps. That's all. It's not a country or livestock fair. Sometimes you'll get someone with a trailer full of horses and a box of jackrussell puppies though. But it's not a market.

And burger stands. Lots of burger stands.

A fair is only as dodgy as you let it be. These days they are pretty well run. the RSPCA is always present, there are passport and welfare checks and there's an active police presence too.

For most people it#s just a good day out./

pdr
05-27-2010, 03:08 AM
horse coper? A horse dealer.

A horse fair was just that historically and Appleby never had other livestock.

Historically a market was specific to sheep or cattle or livestock or poultry or pigs so you had Westerdale Sheep market and Ripon Livestock market or Bedale market where that meant only farmers' wives selling their produce.

A horse fair was a fair for horses and some, like Appleby, had lots of gypsy things attached.

Appleby used to be known (still is?) as a dangerous place, rape and child abductions etc. ('My mother said, I never should play with the gypsies...' sort of stuff) and wicked dealings. Certainly if you could not count a horse's teeth nor see if they'd been filed, nor know the feel of a dyed coat nor understand what 'gingering' meant you'd rue the day you bought a horse there.

But a foal was a fairly safe buy, and there always used to be a sort of respectable row of horses for sale sold by local people who kept well apart from the gypsies.

firedrake
05-27-2010, 03:12 AM
I used to live about five miles west of Appleby and the locals were always a little nervous around horse fair time because of the rise, locally, in break-ins, etc. I always avoided Appleby like the plague during the fair.

Another thing about Appleby, they have trotting races on remote back roads, with betting, etc.

I would never buy a horse from there because the gypsies keep all the good horses for themselves. :D

waylander
05-27-2010, 01:03 PM
Reasons why horse fairs are considered dodgy
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8685168.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wear/8068316.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cumbria/6744067.stm

shaldna
05-27-2010, 01:11 PM
It's strange the differences in attitudes to gypsy horses depending on where you are. Here in Ireland a Gypsy horse is worth it's weight in gold. They tend to be quiet and well trained, well mannered and well looked after.

And expensive. lol.

firedrake
05-27-2010, 06:07 PM
It's strange the differences in attitudes to gypsy horses depending on where you are. Here in Ireland a Gypsy horse is worth it's weight in gold. They tend to be quiet and well trained, well mannered and well looked after.

And expensive. lol.

I went with a friend of mine to an auction at Southall. The horses that fetched the highest bids were gypsy horses.

Ariella
05-28-2010, 02:00 AM
So, it seems I've looked high and low for information on horse fairs, specifically in England, circa the early 1800's. I've found references to a few titles, such as "Appleby Horse Fair," but these are listed as unavailable/ out of print at Amazon, and even the research libraries at the state colleges seem to be lacking in this subject.

Does anyone possess any knowledge about historical horse fairs, or links, or know of titles that may still be in print? I'm specifically looking for sensory details, i.e. what these events looked like, what other things might be bought and sold, how the horses and other livestock were organized, contained, etc., and how one actually went about purchasing a horse at one of these fairs. I'd especially be interested in the Gypsy/ Rom horse fairs that took place in the towns of Appleby and Priddy, UK.

Thanks

Towards the end of this page (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=45106), there's a good description of the nineteenth-century livestock market in Smithfield, London, with lots of sensory detail. It was more of a regular urban market than a fair, though.

shaldna
05-28-2010, 01:04 PM
I went with a friend of mine to an auction at Southall. The horses that fetched the highest bids were gypsy horses.


That's mostly because they are quiet. Those horses have seen everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. they are practically unshakeable, and great for kids and novices.

Those sort of horses are always going to be expensive.

MissMacchiato
05-28-2010, 01:08 PM
I have to say, I don't have any advice but this thread was fascinating. Thanks for the read, guys!

waylander
05-31-2010, 12:42 AM
Appleby Fair begins next week
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cumbria/10194126.stm

waylander
06-14-2010, 08:18 PM
More info on Appleby Fair
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8728149.stm

shaldna
06-14-2010, 11:03 PM
haha. iw as just6 going to post a reminder about that.