No I don’t want a badge. This is something that happens frequently at work. We get a phone call from a researcher on some TV show or another who needs information/photos etc and we do our best to provide them.
The first record we have for a market is in the Lordship Accounts for 1256 and 1257 [financial years went over 2 years in the 13th century just like they do now] where it was stated how much a man had to pay to sell in the market square and how many fairs could be held in the course of a year. There were markets before then, probably ever since the town, priory and castle have existed, but we have no ‘on paper’ evidence for that.
In 1638 Charles I awarded a charter to the town allowing markets to be held every Tuesday and Friday [we are still doing this now].
Grain and produce was sold in the market house, but livestock was driven into the streets of the town and held in temporary pens. Cattle were sold in Rother Street [rother refers to a local breed of horned cattle], sheep in Castle Street, mares and gelding were sold in Lion street and they sold stallions separately up by the Castle.
In the 1850s the town boomed due to the railways and it was decided that having the streets clogged with beasts 2 days a week was a bad idea. In 1863 a dedicated livestock market was built on the old cricket field and it has run with barely a break, apart from foot and mouth, from 1863 to the present.
It has been decided that, yet again, the market traffic is inconvenient. The market is to be resited to a place about 6 miles away, the site is to be sold and a supermarket put on there instead. So 756 years of livestock markets at least – probably more like 920 years if you take the foundation of the Priory into account – and who knows what’ll happen to the town once the markets close? Usually they go into decline and become quiet little ghost towns filled with memories and the sound of people driving to buy a pint of milk because all the shops have shut. I think I’ll join them on the barricades.
I’m being purposely vague about the where and what because, as a council employee, I’m not supposed to have an opinion or at least am not supposed to express it. *eyeroll*