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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/308
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 164--1854
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 3 production units.
Name of creator(s): Bartholomew Fair | market and entertainments at Smithfield


Administrative/Biographical history:

The fair was founded at Smithfield by Rahere, founder of the Priory and Hospice dedicated to St Bartholomew. Following a royal charter of 1133 the Priory received the tolls of the cloth fair, held annually for three days from the eve of St Bartholomew's Day. The Corporation of London held a cattle fair at the same time and constantly disputed the rights to tolls. In 1445 the City became joint Lords of the Fair, taking full control from 1604. In the seventeenth century the fair became more important as a centre of general entertainment than a cloth fair, and there were numerous booths offering different attractions. The City authorities, however, increasingly saw the fair as encouraging public disorder, and the fair was suppressed in 1855. It was replaced in 1866 by Smithfield Market.

A Court of Piepowders was organised by the local government of an area specifically to handle cases arising from events at a fair; such as disputes between merchants, thefts, and acts of violence.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records relating to Bartholomew Fair, inclduing pie powder court book, 1790-1854; historical notes, press cuttings and other notes, ca. 1641-ca. 1848; and accounts of receipts and expenditure for Bartholomew Fair, 1671. They were catalogued at various dates by members of Guildhall Library staff.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Records arranged by MS number, assigned during cataloguing at the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section.

Conditions governing access:

Restricted access: please see staff.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in the Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section, which merged with the London Metropolitan Archives in 2009.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
August to October 2010.

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