Historic horse fair comes to town

Some of the visitors to Brigg Horse Fair
Some of the visitors to Brigg Horse Fair

On the entry signs into town visitors read of Brigg the home of Brigg Fair and next week history continues.

Horses have been traded at Brigg for hundreds of years and with the granting of a Market Charter in 1204 an annual event around August 5 has been taking place, with festivities, markets and the trading of many types of livestock but mainly horses.

The next Brigg Horse Fair takes place on Monday, August 5, and in the run up to the event the gypsy community will come to Brigg to trade horses just as they always have.

Many of them will take up camp in Station Road and some will ride into Brigg with their horses.

The event was revived in the 1990s by ‘Freeman of Brigg’ Tom Glossop and his organising committee and alongside the horse fair a town centre fair attracted visitors to Brigg in their thousands.

Sadly since 2004 that event has not been held, but the horse fair has continued.

The town, local businesses and the authorities have often been divided on whether the travelling visitors brought positive or negative tourism.

It has, however, proved impossible to stop travellers coming and selling their wares. And why should the event not happen - it is after all a very integral part of the town’s heritage.

There have always been critics of the event but you cannot take away the fact that this August 5 feature is a very integral and welcome part of the town’s history.

It was in 1905 that Brigg Fair became the inspiration for the folk song by Joseph Taylor that Australian composer Percy Grainger used and adapted after hearing the song at the North Lincolnshire Music Festival.

The music was later used by Delius for his rhapsody ‘Brigg Fair’, first performed in 1908.

North Lincolnshire Council will manage the event next week ensuring safety.

The song has appeared in several different versions including one set down by Taylor and members of his family. These are the words used by Grainger:

“It was on the fifth of August-er’ the weather fine and fair,

Unto Brigg Fair I did repair, for love I was inclined.

I rose up with the lark in the morning, with my heart so full of glee.”