Cheam Charter Fair breaks with tradition
The 753rd Cheam Charter Fair went ahead this weekend amid claims a tradition dating back to the time of Henry VIII had been broken.
On Saturday, May 19, record numbers turned out to celebrate the fair, which dates back to 1259, when Henry III granted Cheam a charter making it a town.
Well over 1,000 people turned out to celebrate the history of the village and to support local charities and businesses.
But a traditionalist group of ladies from the Parochial Rooms in the village claim the fair has always been held on May 15, and if it is not, the charter is breached and the fair is no longer.
They set up stalls and sold their wares on Tuesday to keep the tradition going.
Susan Bourne, one of the traditionalists, said: “Despite the unseasonal weather the ladies arrived with their tables and wares and set up on Tuesday.
"Many local people also arrived to thank them for saving the Charter Fair for another year.”
Cheam Councillor Mary Burstow said she is not taking the history of the village for granted and that the traditionalists have nothing to fear for the future of the “original fair”.
She said: “Park Road just buzzed with people on Saturday. There were families, young people, everyone turned out. "To hear one old lady tell me it was the best Charter Fair she had been to in over 40 years, made it all worthwhile.
“There were new businesses, charities and the traditional stall holders and it was a huge success. We want to build on it for next year, and we want to get everyone’s views on how to do it. We want to make it a week-long celebration, incorporating the fair on the 15th.”