ALBION FAIRS – A SUFFOLK HISTORY
After the original run of Barsham ‘medieval’ Faires by the East Anglian Arts Trust in the early 1970s, hardly a corner of south or east Suffolk, from Blundeston and East Bergholt to Herringfleet Heights and Heveningham, was left untouched by their travelling fair legacy, the Albion Fairs franchise. From 1976 into the 1980s, the fairs came in many guises, Faerie, Green, Moon, Sun or Fire, Mistletoe or Tree, often associating themselves with significant ancient sites such as Oaksmere, Bramfield’s oak and Mettingham Castle near Bungay.
The last Barsham Faire was held in 1976 when it was decided it had outgrown its site. To savour the true flavour of the fair (or reminisce) you can watch footage by Minstrel Films at the East Anglian Film Archive website (www.eafa.org.uk) or read the Waveney Clarion, the fairs scene’s original monthly mag, which perhaps inspired FolkEast’s Eastfolk Chronicle (www. waveneyclarion.co.uk). Oh, and don’t miss the Fairs Archive (www.fairsarchive. org), for all the history, thrills, spills, photographic memories and merchandise surrounding the East Anglian Fairs of 1972-1986.