242 HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
for in a Chancery Close Roll of 1285, the 13th year of the reign of Edward I., appears the following entry, also in abbreviated Latin:—
Whereas the King wills that his market, which the King's most dear mother, Eleanor, Queen of England, has in dower, to be held in the town of Grenestede on Sunday, shall henceforth be held on Saturday, the Sheriff of Sussex is commanded that he do publicly cause that market henceforth to be held on Saturday, to be proclaimed in every market town of the county aforesaid.
Witness as above.
Witness the King at Neubiry on the 9th day of Jan.
The dates were frequently changed. The "Travellers' Almanack" for 1697 notes that two fairs are held at East Grinstead, viz., on the 16th of April and 25th of September, but in 1766, according to the "Youths' Faithful Monitor" for that year, the dates were the 13th of July and the 11th of December. Both books mention that Thursday was then, as now, the market day. According to the diary of Thomas Marchant in 1716 a fair took place at East Grinstead on the 30th of November.
The 13th of July fair has not been held since 1816. In this year the spring and summer fairs were trifling events, but the winter fair was one of great importance. In 1826 a sum of £2. 16s. 6d. was collected for the payment of special constables and watchmen during the fair. The dates of the two fairs now are April 21st and December 11th.
In years gone by the fair lasted far beyond the authorised day. In 1848 it began on Monday, December 11th, and a local record of Thursday, the 14th, says: " The fair not done yet; from the testimony of all there appears to have been more dissipation this year than at any preceding fair." It was not until December, 1875, that the authorities succeeded in limiting it to the one day allowed by the charter.
The first Fat Stock Show ever held in East Grinstead took place on December 14th, 1876. After being allowed to lapse for some years the stock market was re-established on November 13th, 1884, and has since flourished exceedingly.