This film is part of Free

Barnstaple Fair

Carnival Procession sees whole town celebrate

Amateur film 1950 5 mins Silent

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Barnstaple Fair may have the reputation of the oldest in the country with its origins believing to date from 930. Carnival Queens are chosen at village dances in and around the Barnstaple area for example Miss Atherington or Miss Chittlehampton before going on to compete for the overall title of Queen at the Carnival. The Fair is held in September after a civic ceremony where a white glove, signifying the hand of friendship, is suspended from the Town Hall and trading begins.

In 1950 trading in cattle, sheep and horses is followed by celebrations at the North Walk Showground now the site of the Civic Centre. The procession sees the town turn out in community celebration and travelling shows come to entertain the crowds. Under King Athelstan of the Anglo Saxons (924-939) and of the English (927-939) the town is granted a charter and thereby the right to hold markets and a fair.