History comes to life in Exeter on Friday, June 25, with the centuries-old tradition of Lammas Fair.
The colourful ceremony of the Proclamation of the Fair dates back more than 900 years and Exeter is one of the few cities to maintain the tradition.
The word Lammas derives from the Anglo-Saxon Hlafmaesse or Loaf Mass. Lammas Day, the festival of St Peter and vincula, was when the first fruits of the harvest were offered to the Church in the form of a loaf.
The franchise of a fair was a very valuable possession, giving exclusive right to tolls on all articles sold. The fair generally lasted for three days.
The Lammas Fair White Glove was displayed during the Fair and was a sign of Royal protection of the peace. The large leather, stuffed glove was attached to a long pole and was decorated with ribbons and a garland of flowers. Prior to the hoisting of the Glove, a Proclamation was made to declare the Fair open. The Proclamation was issued at the time of Edward III in 1330.
To add to the occasion and also to link in with the city’s Living History Weekend, part of its Summer Festival, Re-enactors wearing costumes from Roman, Medieval, Viking, Georgian and Napoleonic costumes will also join the parade.
The procession will travel from the Southernhay to the Guildhall where the Lord Mayor will read the Proclamation, and hoist the Lammas Fair Glove over the Guildhall portico, where it will remain for three days.
The pageant starts with a procession led by the Lord Mayor of Exeter, Cllr Marcel Choules walking through the city centre, alongside the Recorder of Exeter, His Honour Judge Graham Cottle, and Chief Executive, Mr Philip Bostock, followed by the Lammas Fair Pole and Glove, decorated with a traditional garland, carried by a Mace Sergeant. Behind them will be more than pupils from Bowhill Primary School, Exeter Cathedral Pre-Prep School, St Nicholas Catholic Primary School, St Sidwell’s Church of England Primary School and Southbrook College.
The procession begins at 10am.
(from a press release)