« ПредишнаНапред »
Grant. From this brook the fair has derived its name, the provincial mode of pronouncing the word, stir, or stur, having in all probability led to a corresponding corruption in the mode of writing. The other half of the compound originates in Bech or Beck, and not in brigge or bridge, as it is more frequently written, in the efforts of modern wiseacres to be more learned than the vulgar.* Hence it would seem that the more correct way of writing the name is Stourbech, as indeed we occasionally find it in old notices of the fair or the place itself. Such a word might easily degenerate amongst careless speakers into Sturbich, Sturbech, or Stirbich.
The origin of this fair has been much disputed; but after all that has been said and written on the subject, nothing has been brought forward that is at all satisfac
Medallic History of M. A. V. Carausius. Book i. p. 210. 4to. London. 1757.
We find the same word with a kindred, but not exactly a like, explanation in THE DOOME, by Stephen Batman, published in 1581. "The fishers took a disfigured dyvell in a certain stoure (which is a mighty gathering together of waters from some narrow lake of the sea) a horryble monster with a goate's heade, and eies shynyng like fyre, whereupon they were all afrayde and ranne awaye; and that ghoste plunged himselfe under the ise, and running uppe and downe in the stoure made a terrible noyse and sound."
* Hone is particularly hard upon those, who are so ignorant as to call it Sturbitch, having, as is no uncommon case with him, found a mare's nest. At the same time I ought to mention that Francis Blomefield has favoured us with a very different etymology of the word from that given in the text, and he is a writer, whose opinion ought not to be lightly treated. 'Sturbrige," he says, "where the famous Mart or Fair (commonly called Sturbrige Fair) is kept, does not take its name from the bridge over the river of that name, but from the toll or custom that was paid at it for all steers and young cattle that passed here." Collectanea Cantabrigiensia, p. 171, 4to. Norwich. 1750. I must confess that this appears to me to be exceedingly problematical.
tory. Dr. Stukely maintains that "the inauguration. day of Carausiust was the occasion of this famous Stour bech Fair then held; and which brought the corn from all Cambridgeshire to the corn-boats lying in the river at Chesterton; and a fortnight's time was allowed for that work, which is the continuance of the fair; then the fleet set forwards northward, in the Carsdike. only the origin of Stourbech Fair; but we may trace the progress of the corn-boats the whole length of the Fossa by the same observation of Fairs."
This was not
Fuller, the Church historian, on the other hand tells a story how a clothier, having by accident wetted his cloth in the Stour, exposed it on the spot for sale as a damaged article. Finding his market prove a good one, he returned next year with some other of his townsmen, and so on year after year, till at last "hither came a confluence of buyers, sellers, and lookers on, which are the three prin
* Medallic History, vol. i. p. 208.
+ Carausius was a native of Britain. Having defeated the fleet of Maximian in our Southern channel under the Isle of Wight, the latter conceded to him the sovereignty of Britain, where he reigned in as full and absolute a manner as Maximian and Diocletian on the continent.
The Carsdike, or Fossa as it was called in olden times, was an artificial canal formed by the Romans at an early period of their settlement in the island, and even then extended from Peterborough through the whole length of the fenny part of Lincolnshire, till it fell into the Trent at Torksey. From this point it proceeded by natural rivers to York, and thence as far as Alborough by Boroughbridge, the object being to convey corn from the warm and fertile South to the Northern parts of the island, and thus supply provisions to the soldiery stationed along the whole line of defence against the Picts and Scots. But even this prodigious extent of canal-prodigious for the time in which it was made-did not satisfy the active and enterprizing spirit of Carausius; he carried it yet farther in another direction, extending it along the edge of the high country next to the fens of Huntingdon and Cambridgeshire, and joining to the river Cam, from which after a time it starts towards the north.
ciples of a fair. In memorial whereof Kendale men challenge some privilege in that place, annually chusing one of the town to be chief, before whom an antick sword was carried with some mirthful ceremonies disused of late.' Coles pronounces of this story that it is the most silly of all the silly attempts that have been made to trace the origin of the fair;t without stopping to decide which among the silly is the silliest we may at once reject it without the least necessity for consideration.
The theory of Dr. Stukely is no doubt ingenious, in spite of his evident wish to fix all unclaimed honours on the head of his hero, Carausius; and there is one fact, which, though it may at first sight seem to militate against this notion, will, if more attentively considered, at least show the very great probability of the fair having existed from the earlier periods of our history. In the Certificatorium returned upon inquest to King Edward the First, we find distinct and unequivocal proofs that in the time of that monarch it was universally believed upon substantial evidence to have been granted by John to maintain the hospital for lepers, established there and dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene. ‡ Now, I think we may reasonably infer from this circumstance, that the fair had been growing up in silence for many years. The magnitude, which it had reached, and perhaps also the abuses inseparable from so numerous an assembly, would naturally
* Fuller's History of the University of Cambridge, p. 66. Folio, London. 1655.
See Coles' MSS., vol. 42, in British Museum.
+ “Item jur' dicunt ad dictum hospitium pertinere quandam feriam ad festum exaltationis Stæ Crucis, quæ durat in Vigilia Stæ Crucis, ceu die Stæ Crucis sequente, infra clausum, cùm (quod) pertinet ad dictum hospitale, quam quidem feriam Dñs Joħes, rex predecessor dii regis qui nunc est, leprosis in dicto hospitali commorantib' ad eor' sustentationem dedit et concessit." No. I.-Appendix to the History of Sturbridge Fair, in the BIBLIOTHECA TOPOGRAPHICA BRITANNICA, vol. v.
lead those who frequented it to apply for a charter. At all events this seems to me much more probable than that an immense chartered market should at once have started into existence in a dark and barbarous period. Such sudden creations can only take place in an age of peace and high civilization. Of course this proves nothing more in favour of Dr. Stukely's theory than the long preexistence of the fair.
Stourbetch Fair was at one time not only the greatest fair in England, but even in Europe, if we may trust the generally received opinion. Neither the great marts of Leipsic, nor of Frankfort on the Main, nor of Nuremberg, were at all to be compared with it at the time of which I am writing--namely, in the seventeenth century. It is thus described by a writer in the Cambridge Chronicle for September, 1764, and as this is by far the fullest and most graphic account with which I am acquainted, I can not do better than give it in his own words.
"It is impossible to describe all the parts and circumstances of this fair exactly. The shops are placed in rows like streets, whereof one is called Garlick Row,* and here, as in several other streets, are all sorts of traders, who sell by retale, and come chiefly from London. Here may be seen goldsmiths, toymen, braziers, turners, milliners, haberdashers, hatters, mercers, drapers, pewterers, china-warehouses, and in a word all trades that can be found in London; with coffee-houses, taverns, and
* Dr. Stukely says,-I know not how truly,-that the word, row, is from the Welsh rhodio, to walk, and hence we have the rows in the city of Chester. If this be the case, and he was a good scholar though somewhat fanciful, we find the word still lingering in Paternoster Row, and a few other places, though it is generally limited to a line of buildings. See, however, the MEDALLIC HISTORY, book i., p. 207.
eating-house in great numbers; and all kept in tents and booths. This great street reaches from the road which goes from Cambridge to Newmarket, turning short out of it to the right towards the river and holds in a line, nearly half a mile, quite down to the river side.
"In another street, parallel with the road, are the like rows of booths, but somewhat larger, and more intermingled with wholesale dealers; and one side, passing out of this last street to the left hand, is a great square, framed of the largest booths called the Duddery.* The area of this square is from eighty to one hundred yards, where the dealers have room before each booth to take down and open their packs, and to bring in waggons to load and unload.
"This place being peculiar to the wholesale dealers in the woollen manufacture, the booths or tents are of a vast extent, have different apartments, and the quantities of goods they bring are so great, that the insides of them look like so many Blackwell Halls,† and are vast warehouses piled with goods to the tops.
*Duddery,- -or Doddery, as it is sometimes, but less correctly, written, —has much puzzled the etymologists according to Dr. Stukely, who however explains it as coming from Dodrefn, "household stuff, furniture." I know not how this may be; but the meaning is obvious enough; a duddery is a place where duds, i.e., cloth or stuffs, are sold, and the word is still in use throughout many of our provinces, but still more frequently in a contemptuous sense for rags.
This is an allusion to the cloth-market formerly held at Blackwell or Blakewell Hall, in the parish of St. Michael's, Bassishaw, now called Basinghall, in the city of London. It stood at the south end of Basinghall-street, on the west side. The market has for many years ceased to exist, and the place I believe is used for a warehouse, but it is of very ancient date, having originated in the year 1397, when the city of London purchased the ground of Richard the Second for that purpose. The sum given was fifty pounds. Prior to that time, in the reign of Edward the Third, the house had descended