400 years of Chilmark Fayre

400 years of Chilmark Fayre

Published by Mike Draper at 7:00pm 19th July 2019.

Winding the clock back to the 17th century with a huge celebration that's being staged on the original site of the first ever fair.

On Saturday (20 July 2019) it's been four centuries since the first recorded fair in the village of Chilmark


  • When: Saturday 20th July
  • Where: Join the celebration on Chilmark's historic Fairmead field
  • Times: The Fair is open 12noon - 4.30pm

The whole village is be stepping back in time to celebrate four hundred years of the traditional fair, and descendants of some of the 17th century Chilmark families, the Mayhews and the Maceys, are expected to travel from all round the UK to join in the festivities.

Many villagers are preparing to dress up in period costume for the event - with an Historical Fancy Dress competition for children - and the stalls and activities will reflect the produce and interests of 17th century rural England.


  • It was originally and primarily a sheep cheese and fair in the 17th century
  • The original event may well have been attended by Thomas Mayhew, who went on to buy and establish Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts
  • Representatives of the Macey family were probably there too, in the days before some of its members set sail for the New World and subsequently set up Macy's department store in New York
  • Historically, the fair was always held on 20 July to celebrate the feast day of St Margaret of Antioch, the patron saint of Chilmark Church, which is on land adjoining the Fairmead

To mark the occasion, the church will be hosting numerous events including:

  • A stained glass window workshop
  • A performance of 17th century music
  • A talk by historian David Childs
  • A 17th century-style Flower Festival
  • An exhibition of local archaeological finds
  • And a chance to try Bell Ringing

The 400th Anniversary Fayre will get underway on the Fairmead (opposite The Black Dog) at 12 noon on Saturday, with a BBQ and bar serving real ale and local cider, together with a Pimms & Prosecco bar and a Tea Tent, running all afternoon. There will also be a Dog Show, Children's Races, a Tug of War, the Horticultural Show tent, Face Painting, and numerous stalls including the Truckle Truck Cheese van and a stall selling commemorative items and crafts made specially to mark the event.

The Fayre organizers are delighted to have received grants from both South West Wilts Area Board and Chilmark Parish Council to support the special 400th anniversary and its historical context.

400 years on from the original recorded event, this will be a village show for visitors from near and far who wish to enjoy a family day out celebrated in 17th century style.

Any proceeds from the event will be split between local charities.


Read more from Chilmark Fayre on their Facebook page

And take a look at the Chilmark Fayre on Instagram

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