Brigg Horse Fair 2018 will be held on Saturday, August 4 with members of the gypsy/traveller community expected to begin buying and selling steeds from 9.30am and continue trading well into the afternoon.
In recent years the horse fair has featured a range of stalls, trailers and vans selling various horse-related items, including brasses, while refreshments have also been available within the site.
Please note that although the traditional date of the fair is August 5, that falls on a Sunday this year, resulting in the event being brought forward one day.
The free-to-attend fair takes place on land near Station Road - postcode DN20 8XH - and always attracts plenty of spectators from a wide area.
Historic Brigg Horse Fair is one of a dwindling number still held across the UK.
The first travellers arrived in their caravans some days ago, parking up ahead of the event. More have arrived since.
If you go along, please watch out for approaching horses being paraded for the benefit of potential purchasers.
No spectator parking will be available on Station Road during the horse fair.
Car-driving visitors are advised to use the town's main car park, off the A18 on Old Courts Road, at DN20 8JD.
Brigg Horse Fair does not usually appear in listing guides, not being an "official" event.
It is organised by gypsy/traveller community members who meet up in Brigg each summer as generations of their families did before them, going back many decades.
Some years ago when the Brigg Amateur Social Historians (BASH) group organised an exhibition of black and white Brigg Horse Fair prints of the past at the White Horse pub, some adult travellers - in town for the horse fair - spotted themselves as children and picked out friends and relatives in the pictures on display.
View a selection of pictures from Brigg Horse Fair 2017 here...
Click here to view pictures taken at Brigg Horse Fair 2016...
The history of Brigg Horse Fair
Brigg was granted a royal charter for a fair and market in 1205.
It was then a very small Lincolnshire settlement adjoining the still tidal River Ancholme, without a bridge but with a ford people could use to cross from bank to bank, accompanied by any animals they had to sell or had just acquired.
Some horses could have been traded from time to time, but Brigg Horse Fair as we now know it dates back to Queen Victoria's reign.
Sheep were also bought and sold for some decades.
For many years until the mid-1960s the thriving horse fair - in early August - was held in the town centre on, and adjoining, the main Doncaster-Grimsby road, close to the 18th century White Horse pub (today owned by the renowned Wetherspoon company).
Reflecting on that era of the horse fair's history in his renowned reference book Brigg, author Edward Dodd said the gypsies and their horses "took over the centre of the town, including the busy A18 trunk road. Motor traffic had to take second place. When 'No Waiting' signs arrived they were welcomed by the gypsies as convenient tethering points!"
|Brigg Horse Fair pictures from the early 1970s. KEN FISHER COLLECTION.|
The Stockmarket off Cary Lane, opened by Brigg Urban District Council in the 1960s, provided a more suitable location than Wrawby Street, being close to the A18 but allowing plenty of space for trading and spectating.
However, the stockmarket's eventual closure resulted in a gradual decline for the August 5 spectacle, and one year in the early 1990s saw only a few horses taken along.
Fortunately, the Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph sent a reporter along and the paper's illustrated report about the depleted attendance helped to highlight the plight of the horse fair. Things seemed to improve from that low point.
The acquisition of the former stockmarket site for a new Tesco store in the late 1990s resulted in the horse fair being relocated to Atherton Way (briefly) and then its current home near the railway station.
Brigg Fair is known to thousands of music-lovers as the title of a beautiful piece of music from composer Frederick Delius which appeared in 1907.
It is still popular at orchestral concerts, a particularly fine performance of this English Rhapsody being given in Berlin in 2007 under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle. Link provided here if you want to enjoy it...
The traditional folk song Brigg Fair - in choral form - also remains popular with performers and music-lovers.
At Brigg Music Festival in 1905 the organisers added a new class - folk songs.
Joseph Taylor, from Saxby-All-Saints, took first prize for his performance of Brigg Fair - "a lovely, haunting melody."
Other local tunes also came to light through this class.
A famous composer with an interest in traditional tunes, Percy Grainger was so inspired that he undertook a cycling tour of Lincolnshire, asking farmworkers he met on his rounds of rural roads whether they knew any local folk songs, which were then jotted down as the sons of the soil gave quick open air renditions.
Percy returned to Brigg Music Festival for the following year's grand concert, providing settings of some "enchanting" folk songs he had gathered.
Internationally renowned singer Gervase Elwes, of the Manor House, Brigg, performed Brigg Fair, accompanied by choristers, the opening line being: "It was on the fifth of August, the weather fine and fair."
Grainger and Delius were friends, and the latter went on to produce his haunting orchestral score.
Edward Dodd commented in his book: "Strange that this survival of an ancient fair should have produced the Brigg Fair from which the blind composer, Delius, composed his classic rhapsody."
He did not become blind until many years after completing Brigg Fair.
Brigg Fair has been sung in public on many occasions by Tom Glossop, the town's retired youth leader and former long-serving town councillor, who has attended many horse fairs in recent decades.
For some years Tom, pictured above, was a key member of a community group that provided a showpiece event in the town centre, including children's rides and amusements, to accompany the horse fair.
Tom Glossop is the only Freeman of Brigg - an honour bestowed in recognition of his services to the community.
But what does the future hold?
Some months ago, North Lincolnshire Council granted planning permission for new housing to be erected on part of the site used by Brigg Horse Fair, although building work has yet to start. Will this development have been completed by August 5, 2019 - the date of the next horse fair?
Following the granting of its charter in 1205, Brigg continues to hold weekly markets, with stalls erected in the now pedestrianised town centre every Thursday and Saturday.
An award-winning Saturday farmers' market is held once a month at the same location, shoppers being able to buy a range of produce and goods, with tasty refreshments always available.
The markets are arranged by North Lincolnshire Council, which has offices in Brigg.
|Brigg Horse Fair 2017|