Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Goose Fair

The annual Goose Fair takes place today, 8th Oct, in the 
stannery town of Tavistock , which is on the western edge 
of Dartmoor. It is one of the best known fairs in the west
 country and has its origins in the Michelmas fairs that 
started in the early 12th century. In 1105 Henry I authorised
 the monks of Tavistock Abbey to hold a weekly market on
 Fridays, later he issued a writ confirming the market grant 
and adding a three day fair which was to be held on St
 Rumon’s feast day which was from the 29th to the 31st 
August. It was then moved to Michelmas Day 29th 
September and with the introduction of the new calender 
 in 1752, and losing 11 days, it was moved again to 
October 10th. The fair is now held on the second Wednesday
 in October.
It was thought that many tenants of the Abbey would pay 
their rents in ‘geese,’ these would be then driven into the 
market and sold.

Tavistock Goose Fair has been a local tradition for over 800 years. As well as a livestock auction there are over 270 stalls and a fair.

Known locally as Goosey or Goosie, this name probably
 came from the practice of buying geese at Michelmas to
 fatten for Christmas as at that time the goose was the more 
popular choice for the festive meal. The turkey had yet to
 arrive from America.

"Christmas is a coming and the goose is getting fat..."

The traditional auction of poultry is still held at the Tavistock
 Livestock Centre where they also hold an open day where 
you can see the cattle, sheep and Dartmoor ponies. 
Market traders also come from all over the country to sell 
their wares and provide entertainment, these stalls are set up 
in the centre of the town.

Written in 1912 by C. J. Trythall as a token of his love for Devon 
and was originally composed for vocals and piano.
Goosey Fair
Tis just a month come Friday next, Bill Champerdown and me, 
Us traipsed across old Darty Moor the Goosey Fair to see, 
Us made ourselves quite fiddy, us greased and oiled our hair, 
Then off us goes in our Sunday clothes behind old Bill's grey mare. 
Us smelled thic sage and onion 'alf a mile from Whitchurch Down, 
And didn't us 'ave a blow out when us come into the town, 
And there us met Ned Hannoford, Jan Steer and Nicky Square, 
And it seemed to we all Devon must be to Tavistock Goosey Fair,
And its oh, and where be a-going, 
And what be a-doing of there, 
Heave down your prong and stamp along, 
To Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Us went to see the 'osses and the 'effers and the yaws, 
Us went on all them roundabouts and into all the shows, 
And then it started raining and blowing in our face, 
So off us goes down to the Rose to 'ave a dish of tay. 
And then us had a sing song and the folks kept dropping in, 
And what with one an' t'other, well, us had a drop of gin, 
And what with one an' t'other, us didn't seem to care, 
Whether us was to Bellever Tor or Tavistock Goosey Fair.
And its oh, and where be a-going, 
 And what be a-doing of there, 
Heave down your prong and stamp along, 
To Tavistock Goosey Fair.
Sing along to Tavistock Goosey Fair...

 Bob Cann singing ' Goosey Fair'around 1973

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