New book chronicles ancient Petworth Fair

A PETWORTH historian has published a book containing reflections on the town’s ancient November fair.

Peter Jerrome has 120 copies of his new book St Edmund Smiles, which chronicles the fair since it’s near decline in 1986.

Mr Jerrome, who describes the fair as ‘possibly the oldest surviving street fair in the south of England’, said it may have gone back as far as the accession of Richard I in 1189, and probably before.

The annual fair, held in the town’s market square on St Edmund’s Day, is part of the tapestry of Petworth life.

Mr Jerrome said: “It’s a quintessential Petworth event.

“There are other things but nothing matches the fair.”

In 1986, the Petworth Society gave the fair a new lease of life after there was a danger it would disappear altogether.

Mr Jerrome will give a talk on the fair since its revival in 1986, at the Petworth Society meeting on Monday (December 10), held at the Leconfield Hall, from 6.30pm. Admission is £1.

Mr Jerrome will be selling copies of his book for £12 at the meeting, as well as at the Petworth Society book sale, at the Leconfield Hall, on Saturday (December 8).

Alternatively, call him on 01798 342562 to reserve a copy.