20th June – St Edmund’s Fair – A Fair of Custard

June 20, 2017

Great Get Together
Recently I mentioned a walk that visited some places associated with St Edmund of Abingdon. We learned that St. Edmund’s Chapel and St. Edmund’s Fair perpetuated his memory for some time in Abingdon. St Edmund’s Chapel was near St Edmund’s Lane, and St Edmund’s Fair was on the day when St. Edmund was ‘translated’ to become a saint (9th June). As the calendar was changed to come into line with the rest of Europe in 1750 and 11 days added, then we assumed that St Edmund’s Fair would now be on the 20th June one day before the summer solstice.
Great Get Together
Tuesday 9 June 1668 was the day that Samuel Pepys visited Abingdon, on the way from Oxford, and wrote in his diary “At night come to Abingdon, where had been a fair of custard; and met many people and scholars going home; and there did get some pretty good musick, and sang and danced till supper: 5s.”

We also learned that the school fair at St Edmund School takes place on the Saturday nearest 20th June.

Filed under: Events

10 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Davidofluton  |  June 20, 2017 at 1:18 am

    A custard fair? I think that is something the town could support.

  • 2. ppjs  |  June 20, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Too right – lots of egg and sugar, some vanilla and milk. totally cholesterol free, of course!

    There ought to be shop (by Throwing Buns) called Ye OIde Custard Fayre.

  • 3. R.  |  June 20, 2017 at 8:25 am

    And how about, as a change from throwing buns, we could have a throwing custard event?

  • 4. davidofLuton  |  June 20, 2017 at 9:03 am

    there is no way the Conservatives on the Town Council would go for it. Custard is too close to Liberal Democrat colours.

  • 5. Peter Del  |  June 20, 2017 at 10:37 am

    The great diarist also put 2s6d in the padlocked poor box. It is still in situ in the meeting room of the old alms houses in St. Helen’s Wharf!

  • 6. ppjs  |  June 20, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Peter, the half-crown or the poor box? Hoping it is the latter.

  • 7. Iain  |  June 20, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Poor box is definitely still there paul – gets opened once a year and support Christs Hospital in upkeep of Alms Houses and their relief in need fund

  • 8. Reductio ad absurdum  |  June 21, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    I believe the ‘custards ‘ in question are actually a type of pie, a classic English corrupted pronunciation of the French croustade.
    Maybe Abingdon should resurrect a pie fair? Maybe moved to the colder months? I can see a variety of pie stalls, sweet and savoury being quite a draw especially if it was dressed up with 17th century costumes to reflect Pepys visit.
    A while back I emailed the CEO of the restaurant chain Pieminister suggesting they should have a presence here because of the Samuel Pepys connection. Sadly they weren’t interested.

  • 9. Hester  |  June 21, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    An idea for a future Heritage Weekend, Backstreeter?

  • 10. Iain  |  June 22, 2017 at 7:43 am

    Go for it Reductio – a really nice idea. Shout if you need any support. There are various grants available to get this sort of initiative going and very happy to point in the right direction if it helps.

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