The Wickham Horse fair – a long lasting tradition

Wickham is a large village and civil parish in Hampshire, England, about three miles north of Fareham. It is well known as it hosts the Wickham Horse fair. 

A horse fair is a (typically annual) fair where people buy and sell horses. In the United Kingdom there are many fairs which are traditionally attended by Romani people and travellers who converge at the fairs to buy and sell horses, meet with friends and relations and to celebrate their music, history and folklore. 

The Wickham Horse Fair is one of just two major horse-trading events in the country and can trace its history back to the 13th century. It is one of the oldest horse fairs in the country as well as one of the most major ones, alongside Appleby Fair in June. 

Traveller families are believed to have started to gather for the Wickham Horse Fair since 1269 which makes it almost 800 years, and it always takes place on May 20. 

Ever since, crowds have gathered annually in the quiet village to trade secrets, meet with friends and parade their stock for all to see. Over the years, since Roger de Syres first obtained a Royal Charter from King Henry III in 1269 for a weekly market in his manor, the fair has evolved to include bareback parades with ponies decorated with ribbon. 

Every year’s event includes gypsy horse-runs, funfair in The Square, as well as the age-old traditional parade of decorated shire horses and Shetland ponies. 

Written by: Eurospeak Team