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1. How far does your visit to the supporting sources help you decide how typical Midsummer Common Fair is of the way that surviving Charter Fairs have developed and changed over time?

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Introduction

1. How far does your visit to the supporting sources help you decide how typical Midsummer Common Fair is of the way that surviving Charter Fairs have developed and changed over time? Originally, a Fair was traditionally either a religious festival or some other form of holiday, but by the 11th century, "a fair was a temporary market". Source 1 is likely to be a reliable source because it is written in the GCSE Booklet description of Charter Fairs. They took place once a year. Generally, they tended to be large events, attracting people from miles around, which usually lasted a number of days. For many people, these Charter Fairs were a great opportunity to supply people with goods and services and to stock up a years supply with certain goods that would, otherwise, not normally be easily locally available. Often, the Charter Fairs occurred on public holidays; therefore, many people were free to attend. In the past, the main purpose of a fair was to allow tradesmen and customers to meet and do business; however this is no longer the case. Over the past two centuries this has become less important, because "buying and selling at fairs had almost stopped completely by the late 1800s. This was a result of better transport links and the introduction of more local shops...." ...read more.

Middle

"The abominations which are practiced... too notorious to need repetition..." Source 6, could be unreliable as it is a letter to a newspaper, and so may be more opinionated than factual. However, this may not be an entirely accurate source as it is very opinionated, "too notorious to need repetition". This could be a letter describing what a person witnessed so therefore may not be very reliable. This quote is taken from the Cambridge Chronicle in 1796 and discusses some of the problems occurring at Midsummer Fair. Another Fair that has been running every year for centuries is Nottingham Goose Fair. Like Midsummer Fair, Nottingham Goose Fair is also a typical Charter Fair and was granted its Charter by King Edward I in 1284. "It began on the Feast of St. Edmund and lasted 12 days." The fair was opened by the Lord Mayor, as was Midsummer Fair. As late as 1813, Nottingham Goose Fair was still primarily for the exchange of produce and livestock. However, like all Charter Fairs nowadays, it has developed into an entertainment fair. Nevertheless, before Nottingham Goose Fair became a funfair, it, as well as all other typical Charter Fairs suffered a decline. The price of cheese was raised by a third in 1764, which caused "cheese riots" and resulted in the flattening of the Mayor. ...read more.

Conclusion

These include accurate accounts of the decline of Midsummer Fair, like the levels of violence, and exactly when it was or when the change to the fair was. Moreover, it was difficult to support the speciality Midsummer Fair had in selling horse and cattle and china, especially on the site itself. This is a photograph of the Beche Road signpost which is reliable source as it was taken by me. In conclusion the sites we visited were helpful in deciding whether or not Midsummer Fair is typical of surviving Charter Fairs and I have concluded that it is. By seeing the site and the sources such as the newspaper articles and photos of Midsummer fair today, I was able to understand the importance. Characteristics were proved names of local streets such as Beche Road and Abbey House provide proof of the Charter granted to Midsummer Far. Most of the sources are good strong evidence and generally reliable. Therefore, they helped me reach my conclusion that Midsummer Common Fair is a typical surviving Charter Fair. Other factors that helped me reach my conclusion are the comparisons I made to Midsummer Fair and Nottingham Goose Fair such as they both became funfairs and stopped being trade fairs. Also, they both suffered a decline in the 1800s and 1900s which is when they decided that in order to keep business and keep the fairs running they must change the whole fair and activities their to suit the new interests of the customers. ...read more.

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