The summer is now underway and with it so are the wonderful English Summer Fairs and fetes and we love them. So far we have managed to visit four of them and missed others through other events being held. Versatile, fun, bringing back a degree of innocent life from days long ago and of course, all dependent on the vagaries of the good old British weather. They are usually held in the beautiful grounds of the village Manor House or the Old Rectory as well as parks and ordinary gardens.
The fetes supply a mix of the old favourites and the new; from the staple cake stall made by the Mother’s Union to the Nursery section of the local school, the raffle to raise funds for the local church, the village school or even a specific person requiring help in their disablement or illness. Vintage vehicles are becoming a popular view, especially for the Grandads being dragged past the beer tents; flower stalls, guess the weight of the lamb, the inevitable tombola, adults or childs, with a chance to win a decent bottle of wine or even a small bottle of lemonade or nothing at all when it comes it!
The cream teas are particularly yummy and for the first time this year we witnessed a sheepdog trial featuring geese instead of sheep – interesting to say the least – and they didn’t even hiss. At Droxford Country Fair, “All the Victorian Fun Of The Fair”, they exhibited the very recently opened crypt in the local grade I early Norman church, about 1150 AD, displaying three leadlined coffins. These were discovered when the weight of the organ started to go through the floor and exposed the crypt beneath. The coffins were originally probably wood covered but over the period of time the water-table eroded these revealing the lead-lined coffins, with one having the initials of its incumbent raised on it.
Two of the coffins contain the remains of two sisters, the third is that of their friend, Mary Ange who decreed in her will that she be buried in the sheet she died upon and she was interred in 1785. At the time there was a rule all deceased were to be wrapped in woollen and a fine was levied for being buried in linen as Mary was.
So, you see there is no end to the discoveries you may find or enjoy at the lovely Summer Fairs, the enthusiastic, energetic, imaginative, productive teams produce. Do go and support one if there is one due to be held near you. You may find you really enjoy it!