Charter & History of Event
Up until around 30 years ago the Royal Charter continued as a pleasure fun fair in Winsford annually, but the showman at the time died and the Charter was no more.
Back in September 2011, I came up with a plan to try to resurrect this Charter and my husband Mark Smith contacted the British Museum who re-directed him to the British Library where many manuscripts have been stored. Unfortunately at that time, the British Library was unable to find the Charter and guessed that it had been lost over the years.
On a trip to London, Mark and I decided to try one last time by visiting the British Library and spoke directly to a researcher who contacted Mark a couple of weeks later suggesting that the Charter may be held by the National Archives.
Finally, after months of searching, the Charter was found within a document over 1,000 pages long and a copy arrived here in Winsford on Friday 24th August of the same year. The Charter is written in Middle English language so the Salt Fair team worked over a number of months to get this fully translated so that we were sure and accurate. We were aware that the Charter granted a weekly market and annual fair in the Borough of Over which, in 1280, and took place on Delamere Street as we know it today.
The Royal Charter states that on the 14th day of September (or the closest Wednesday to this date) there will be a ‘Feast of the Fair’ hosted by the Mayor which would commence the proceedings of the annual fair for the preceding 4 days. This was re-enacted by the first event of its type in Winsford September 2012 by the launch of the first Salt Fair an event that I created whilst Town Mayor at the time. On Wednesday 12th September I read out the Charter at the George and Dragon on Delamere Street (in the Borough of Over) where it would have been read in 1280.
Cllr Steve Smith
Chairman – Winsford Salt Fair