Build another Barsham 8

Build Another Barsham

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MasksTo provide an opportunity for East Anglian Craftsmen to meet and sell their wares was one of the motives for setting up Barsham Faire. At Roos Hall there were about 20 stalls; by the second year the number had grown to 90 and by 1975 there were 250.

Numbers escalated partly because the word spread amongst those who make their living as craftsmen, and partly because visitors to the Faire wanted to feel involved, booked stalls for the following year and thought up things such as simple toys or jewelry to make and sell. Thus, as well as creating a market place for the professional craftsmen, Barsham Faire inspired others to try their hand at knitting, weaving, candlemaking, lapidary etc.

To attract craftsmen to a new event application forms for stalls, and explanatory literature should be printed and circulated at least six months in advance. Take them around craft shops, art schools, evening institutes, colleges and craft associations. For the first year you are starting from scratch so need to employ whatever devices you can to publicise the craft market. Keep a register of applications so that the following year you can send forms through the post. Newspapers, parish magazines and newsletters will accept articles aimed at finding interested craftsmen, and if necessary you can advertise.

Send information about your craft market to the following magazines explaining whether you want applications from a particular region or if you are prepared to take all comers:

  • Gems, 84 High Street, Broadstairs, Kent Gemcraft, P.O. Box 35, Bridge Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.


  • The Ecologist, 73 Molesworth Street, Wadebridge, Cornwall.


  • Seed, 269 Portobello Road, London W11.


  • Home and Country, 11a Kings Road, London SW3.


  • Embroidery, 73 Wimpole Street, London W1M 8AX.


  • The Woodworker, P.O. Box 35, 13 Bridge Street, Hemel Hempstead, Herts.


  • Games and Toys, 30-33 Knightrider Street, St. Pauls' Churchyard, London EC4 The Artist, 7, Carnaby Street, London W1V 1DG.


  • The Countryman, Sheep Street, Burford, Oxford.


The conditions for taking a stall and the monetary terms should be clearly stated on your literature. The following is a copy of the notice to stall holders which we sent out in '75.


Throughout the rest of the year Rectory Paddock, Barsham, is used for grazing for Don Mean's cows. Cows can't eat tin cans, bottle tops etc. nor does grass grow on burnt land; so we have to ask for your help in preserving this field and our rights to use it.

At the same time we want to preserve Barsham Faire as a special gathering that is just not another commercial Bank Holiday event. There is a danger that the Faire could develop this way and so, again, we have had to write down some things that we feel are important. Without this clarification, we have no defense against those few who come to exploit the Faire, not to join with it. Since these are matters that we feel essential to the success and survival of the Faire, we regret that non-compliance will result in loss of stall site, without compensation.

  1. Construction of Stalls. All stalls must be built on the site by stallholders, or prepared away from it, of materials and in a style suitable to a medieval faire. For possible assistance, we enclose suggested designs. We do NOT want stalls of polythene, or commercially-made tents etc.


  2. Camping for Stallholders. If stallholders camp on the site, their camps must be immediately adjacent to their stalls and built in a similar style. ONE shelter, only, is permitted per stall and we shall not allow any modern camping tents on the site. A nearby field will be provided for free camping and car-parking for stallholders where modern equipment may be used.



  3. Size of Stall Sites. The stall site and shelter combined may not exceed 150 square feet in area. Larger sites can only be permitted by prior agreement, and for higher fee.


  4. Number of Persons per Stall. Stallholders will be allowed free passes to the Faire, and camping rights on the site for a maximum of FOUR persons per stall. All additional stall helpers must purchase passes to the Faire at the rate of 50p for the three days, and may not camp on the site. Alternative camping is available nearby (as noted above).


  5. Goods Sold. All stallholders must have made the goods they sell, unless written agreement has been given by the organisers. We shall not accept bookings for commercially mass-produced articles, and stallholders who book stalls under misleading designations will forfeit their sites.


  6. Signs. All stallholders must display a sign showing the name of their stall or stallholder. This must agree with the name on your booking form.


  7. Fires. Firesites will be provided by the organisers and ONLY these may be used. Extra firesites will NOT be permitted.


  8. Litter. Stallholders are asked to keep the areas around their stalls clean and tidy, and will be held responsible for this. Litter bins or sacks should be provided by stallholders.


  9. Costume. All stallholders and their assistants must appear in medieval costume throughout the Faire. Design suggestions are enclosed.


  10. Parking. No cars etc. are permitted on the site during the hours between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm throughout the Faire. Parking off the site is available.


  11. Allocation of Sites. As before, allocation of sites will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that you may NOT pitch your stall without confirmation of its position from the Site Manager, or his assistants. You are responsible for marking off site boundaries, once agreed, and identifying your site with a secure sign. We particularly note that those who arrive in darkness MUST check with the Site Manager in daylight hours before commencing work on stall construction.


  12. Fees and Charges. The fee for a stall site is £5 to cover the three days of the Faire. The fee for piccage only (for those who wish to sell goods from a blanket or tray, and not build a stall) is £2. Both stallholders and piccagers must fill in a daily return and pay 10% OF THEIR TOTAL TAKE to the organisers at the committee tent.


All profits from Barsham Faire go to the East Anglian Arts Trust Ltd. for the promotion of arts and related activities in the region. We rely on your honesty in paying 10% of your take both to finance Barsham Faire itself (an increasingly expensive undertaking – over f6,500 last year) and to help keep going our year-long programme of activities.


The committee appoints a Craft Secretary who deals with correspondence during the months before the Faire and organises the collecting of daily percentages during the event. There is also a Site Manager with special responsibility for laying out the craft market, a task which needs to be carefully planned with the help of a 24in/mile ordnance survey map and a sound knowledge of the site. Areas to be covered with stalls are marked out with string and stakes. The best possible use is made of natural features on the site and in the flat areas without hillocks or trees stalls are laid out like a bazaar with pathways between. It is necessary to have a particular design in mind to fit in with the overall plan of the Faire.


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