Celebrating 700 years of Hurst’s St Lawrence Fair

From a cacophony of noise on a Medieval feast day to a Victorian procession of garlanded bicycles - St Lawrence Fair in Hurstpierpoint has taken on many guises over the years but is still going strong.

The sculpture is called 'Children of the Fair' by Sylvia Thornhill.
The sculpture is called 'Children of the Fair' by Sylvia Thornhill.

Just how strong can be seen from this year’s special anniversary - the 700th.

The countdown to July’s historic event has already begun, with a special ceremony planned for 11am this Saturday when a unique sculpture to mark the anniversary will be unveiled.

Sylvia Thornhill won a village sculpture competition with ‘Children of the Fair’ (pictured), which will be placed on the green off the High Street.

This year’s theme is the number ‘7’ and on fair day, July 6, the air will resonate with the joyous sound of church bells in 700 changes.

The peel is timed to start at 1pm as the procession of floats begins to weave its way from Marchants Road to South Avenue Recreation Ground.

During the afternoon, the Harris brothers’ brightly coloured funfair will provide a kaleidoscope of merriment as crowds mingle for hours of fun on the recreation ground.

Roger Linn recalls in a commemorative brochure to mark the 700th anniversary: “The Harris funfair has been coming to Hurstpierpoint for so long now that there is nobody left alive who can remember a St Lawrence day celebration without it.”

To read this feature in full and see other pictures, pick up a copy of this week’s Mid Sussex Times in newsagents today (Thursday)