Barsham Faire 1972

Barsham 72 - Woodcut


The first "Renaissance Pleasure Faire" was held in California in 1963.  By the late 1960s similar events had been held in many other states. One English visitor later moved to East Anglia  and when the idea of an event was first suggested he told his friends about a medieval fair he had attended while in the United States...

Barsham was initially planned as a fund raiser for the East Anglian Arts Trust but was so successful it became the main focus of their activities.

The medieval theme meant:
- No electric supply (for lighting or amplification)
- All stalls and structures hand built.
- All products made by stallholders
- No vehicles on site during the fair
- Fair-goers were encouraged to attend in medieval costume (loosely interpreted, the focus was on participation not historical re-enactment).

The first Barsham has been described as ‘little more than an imaginative village fete’ but it was a fete which evoked such pleasure and joy in those that were there that the following year ten times as many  people turned up.


Barsham 72 - Archer



Stalls at the Faire include the following:

Aldringham Craft Market    various crafts

K.C. Allen                              pottery

P.J. Bearman                          leatherwork

Band of Change                     leatherwork

Beccles Gallery                      prints

C.A. Boyd                               brass rubbings and flower collages

John Chipperfield                  pottery

Susan and Ian Copeman       candles

Nick Douglas                          pottery and enamel

The Ellis Family                      hobby horses, sweetmeats, enamels

Gazette Bookshop                  bookstall

R.W. Gilbert                            jewellery, candles

Alistair Hull                            knots

John and Mary Kiddell           organic foods

David Kemp                             jewellery

Larling Community Centre    bread and cheese

Francisca Nielson                    dolls, paintings

Kay Pate                                   repoussage, collage, toys

Kate Russell                             woodcuts, miniatures

Martin Roche                           pancakes

Sheila and Sandra                    herbalists

Lillian Scholes                          enamels, costume jewellery

Margaret Smith                        toys

Steve and Cherry                      soft toys

Jane Seppings                            dried flowers

Trudy and Mandy                     beadwork and smocks

Zena Tibbenham                       leather, crochet, jewellery, scarves, etc.

Gillian Thomson                        corn dollies and other crafts

(A number of other craftsmen have taken stalls too late to appear on this list)


Entertainers at the Faire include the following:


Bridewell Consort - recorders, cornets, crumhorns, gemshorn, nakers, kortholt, curtal, racket, lute and cittern.

The Kent Players (leader Margaret Christie) - voices, fiddle, guitar, recorder, oboe, shaum, viols, percussion, keyboard.

The Potters - fiddles, concertina,.organ lute.

The Abel Family of Kessingland (four members) - oboe, bassoon, voice, clarinet, violin, recorders.

The Mutford and Wangford Group - recorders etc.


Sarah Lee Barber                        Andrew Bell


Lowestoft Theatre Centre and others.


Peter Hatto (Southwold Town Crier)

 BA72 OT 01


I don’t remember the dates of the fairs I was at. The first (which may have been the first) I remember had the (then) radical idea of letting you in free if you dressed in medieval clothing. We dropped a trip and went back in time. I don’t remember seeing Bruce Lacey specifically at that fair – I just vaguely remember seeing him at ‘the’ fairs, doing his thing.

At this ‘first’ fair I remember being, late at night and through til dawn, in a big circle of vans/tents or similar with amongst others the global village trucking company. Gentle music and Wine in demi-johns passed round as was a huge jar of walnuts. A nice way to come down off a trip.

In the morning was the first time I saw anyone ‘trucking’ – there were these characters just walking back and forth , leaning as far back as possible and taking the longest steps they could, but in a very relaxed and rather impressive way. I asked them what they were doing and they said ‘Trucking’.

We went to all the other Albion fairs after that until they got a bit commercial. Last time I saw Bruce Lacey perform though was (if I remember correctly) in Earlham Park, Norwich. (or it might have been Tuttington?)That’s the only time I got some snaps of him, which I’m happy to share (provided they’re not used commercially)

I remember ‘Bagism’, with possibly Jill Lacey? Lovely lass whoever she was: we’d put our heads in a two ended bag and ‘be’ the other person. Quite blissful. Hypno Swan