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Faculties U

fairs, fair, held, vol and hist

FACULTIES. [U si% ERSITV.] FA I k, a meeting of buyers and sellers at a fixed time and place ; from the French foire, which is from the Latin feriae, a holiday. Fairs in ancient times were chiefly held on holidays.

In former times goods and commodi ties of every kind were chiefly sold at fairs, to which people resorted periodi cally. The display of merchandise, and the conflux of customers at these princi pal and almost only emporia of domestic commerce, was prodigious; and they were therefore often held on open and ex tensive plains. Warton, in his ' History of English Poetry,' has given us a curious account of that of St. Giles's hill or down, near Winchester. It was instituted and given as a kind of revenue to the bishop of Winchester by William the Conqueror, who, by his charter, permitted it to con tinue for three days. But in consequence of new royal grants, Henry III. pro longed its continuance to sixteen days. Its jurisdiction extended seven miles round, and comprehended even South ampton, then a capital trading-town ; and all merchants who sold wares within that circuit, unless at the fair, forfeited them to the bishop. As late as 1512, as we learn from the Northumberland Household-book, fairs still continued to be the principal marts for purchasing necessaries in large quantities, which are now supplied by the numerous trading towns.

Philip, king of France, complained to Edward II. A.D. 1314, that the merchants of England had desisted from frequenting the fairs in his dominions with their wool and other goods, to the great loss of his subjects; and entreated him to per suade, and, if necessary, to compel them to frequent the fairs of France as for merly, promising them all possible secu rity and encouragement. (Rymer, Feed.,

torn. iii. p. 482.) When a town or village had been con smned, by way of assisting to re-establish it, a fair, among other privileges, was sometimes granted. This was the case at Burley, in Rutlandshire, 49th Edward III. (Abbrev. Rot. Orig., vol. ii. p. 338.) The different abridgments of Stow and Graftou's Chronicles, published by themselves in Queen Elizabeth's time contain lists of the fairs of England ite cording to the months. There is also An authentic Account published by the kings authority of all the Fairs in Eng land and Wales, as they have been settled to be held since the alteration of the style ; noting likewise the Commodities which each of the said Fairs is remark able for furnishing,' by William Owen, 12mo , Lond., 1756.

No fair or market can be held except by a grant from the crown, or by prescrip tion, which is supposed to take its rise from some ancient grant, of which no record can be found.(2 Inst. 220.) (Dugdale's Hist. Warw., pp. 514, 515 ; Warton's Hist. Engl. Poet., vol. i. p. 279; Henry, Hist. Brit., 8vo. edit, vol. viii. p. 325; Brand's Popular Antiq. 4to. edit. vol. ii., p. 215.) The fairs of Frankfort-on-the-Mayn and Leipzig are the chief fairs in Europe : the former held at Easter and in the months of August and September; the latter at Easter, Michaelmas, and the New Year. The whole book-trade of Germany is centred in the Easter fair at Leipzig. Nishnei Novgorod in Russia, at the confluence of the Oka and Wolga, has a great annual fair in June, which is attended by about three hundred thousand strangers, many of whom come from re mote parts of Asia.