Caerleon Remembered - The Common
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Twice a year, May 1st and September, fairs were held on the Common.

The May Fair

The May Fair was a pleasure fair with swings, roundabouts and the galloper horses.

It was the highlight of the year always crowded with people, many a romance started at the fair, sometimes ending in a happy marriage.

The College held their 'Rag' mid week of the fair in aid of the District Nursing Association, collecting money from people. Then in the evening enjoying the fun of the fair teasing the girls with a bag of confetti piled high bought from Gypsy Lee's stall. One could have a large bagful for two pennies.

People living on the common complained about the noise of the fairs, particularly the pleasure fair although it was only held once a year. They tried to get it moved, but the showmen belong to the Showmen's Guild, which is a very wealthy guild, and will fight for the showman's rights. So coupled with the fact that the fair is held on common land with ancient rights, they failed to get it removed.

Sadly times have changed, World War II put an end to the fun of the fair. Although it is still held in May, it is not the same. People's idea of fun has changed, and everything is so costly.

The Horse Fair

The Horse Fair was a big event, the horse trade booming before cars and tractors took over. It drew crowds from afar with lots of wheeling and dealing taking place with the "sharks".

Caerleon was said at that time to be the home of the Forty Thieves, because of the shady dealings, but of course there was a lot of genuine dealing too.

The real Romany Gypsies always came for the horse dealing. They camped on the Little Common near the Fish Shop. Their three caravans were shining and brightly coloured and very clean. The girls were a pleasure to see, in brightly coloured plaid skirts and jackets, high legged boots well polished, their long, jet black hair, shining like a crow hung in plaits down their backs. They obviously took much pride in themselves.

The horse fair finished about fifty years ago.

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Memories of Caerleon Past:

[ Brian Blythe ] [ Mary Isobel Davies ] [ Cosette Allsopp ] [ Lionel Turner ] [ Lyndon Watts ] [ Evacuee Mavis Robinson ]