Pack Monday Fair

Pack Monday Fair

Monday following October 10
The Pack Monday Fair, which used to be called St. Michael's Fair because it is held on the Monday following Old Michaelmas Day, is held in Sherborne, England. It begins shortly after midnight on Sunday, when a band of young people lock arms and march through the streets of Sherborne blowing bugles, horns, and whistles, and banging metal pots, tea-trays, and garbage can lids together. Locals call this noise-making brigade "Teddy Roe's Band," a tradition that has persisted for several centuries even though town authorities have tried to stamp it out.
The people of Sherborne say that a man named Teddy Roe once served as the chief mason involved in the reconstruction of the Sherborne Abbey Church. A fire that took place in the late 15th century destroyed much of the church. The workers who rebuilt the church completed the fan-vaulting in 1490. Legend has it that when the workers finished they "packed" the instruments of their trade and paraded in triumph through the main avenues of town, led by Teddy Roe. Another explanation asserts that Teddy Roe had no connection with the abbey, but that he came to Sherborne later and revived the ancient tradition of the Pack Monday Fair, which had lapsed. Yet another theory is that banging on pots and pans originated in the pagan custom of making loud noises to frighten away evil spirits.
CONTACTS:
Sherborne Tourist Information Centre
3 Tilton Ct., Digby Rd.
Sherborne, Dorset DT9 3NL United Kingdom
44-19-3581-5341; fax: 44-19-3581-7210
www.sherbornetown.com
SOURCES:
EngCustUse-1941, p. 94
YrbookEngFest-1954, p. 147
YrFest-1972, p. 171