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Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 10 months ago

Blackwater Fair

It would certainly be good to obtain documentary evidence for Blackwater Fair before the 18th century. VCH states "Blackwater is a large village on the old Western coaching road, at the point of the junction of Hampshire, Surrey, and Berkshire, with a station on the Reading and Reigate branch of the South Eastern Railway. An annual fair of cattle and sheep is held on Blackwater Green in November. Hartfordbridge flats, a vast extent of heath country, on which black game once existed (what‘s black game for goodness sake?), reaches from Yateley to Blackwater."


John Richardson in The Local Historian‘s Encyclopedia 1974 has a section entitled Markets & Fairs 1792 and 1888: In 1889 the Government published two volumes, entitled Markets and Tolls which examined the history and the existing position of fairs and markets. This Report showed those fairs and markets noted in 1792 in Owen‘s New Book of Fairs and gave its own research deatils for 1888. Blackwater occurs in each list as a fair.


Richardson introduces his previous section Markets & Fairs - Charters "In 1889 the Government published a list of market and fair charters as part of a report on the existing state of market tolls and rights. The list had been prepared from an MSS volume in the Public Recrd Office styled Palmer‘s Index No. 93 and is believed to contain a complete list of all Letters Patent preserved in the PRO relating to Markets and Fairs in England from the reign of King John to Edward IV"


It would be dissapointing if Blackwater Fair is missing from this list of charters. It is not listed under Hampshire. Richardson points out that his county list have been compiled only where the county is given in Palmer‘s Index. Another long list is provided of fairs for which no county was given.


In the Charter of 976 (King Edgar's gift of Crondal to the old Monastery at Winchester) the River Blackwater appears to have been called Dudda‘s Brook and Blackwater village appears to have been called Bryda's Ford. (Baigent, The Crondal Records 1890 and Stilwell, History of Yateley). Richardson's Index of fair charters provides two candidates which might be Blackwater:

Bretford, Market, 11Hen3 and

Dodebroke, Market and Fair, 41Hen3.

My money would be on the latter.


The are long memories in Yateley of the cattle being driven to Blackwater along the Welsh Drive. This ancient drove road crosses Eversley and Yateley Commons,an still be walked for most of its length along the original route. However I do not know its route west of Heckfield, or whence it originated.


There was a long article devoted to the Blackwater Fair in the Camberley News on January 4th, 1929. June Sparey typed this transcription.


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