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John Meads 2013
Horn Fair Disturbances

The Cross where the Horn Fair disturbance took place
The Cross, the open area where the High Street, Church
Street and Meeting Lane converge and the original site of the
village cross and whipping post, both long gone when this
postcard was produced in the early 1900s

From the Leicester Mercury 15 Nov 1856

John Ashley, James Mee, Henry Coles, Jesse Daniels and Thomas Sudborough, youths of Burton Latimer, were charged by Inspector Keep with making a fire near the village cross, within 8 feet of the highway, contrary to the Act of Parliament. P.C. Knight said, on October 21 there was a horn fair at Burton, and defendants were carrying three effigies around the village with lighted torches. Other lads followed, beating tin kettles and blowing horns. Defendants lit the effigies with the torches, and burnt them within six feet of the road. Fined 1s. each, and 9s. each costs.

In the 1820s Daniel Defoe wrote of Horn Fairs: "The mob indeed at that time take all kinds of liberties, and the women are especially impudent for that day; as if it was a day that justifyd the giving themselves a loose to all manner of indecency and immodesty, without any reproach, or without suffering the censure which such behaviour would deserve at another time”.

And almost fifty years later ........................

From the Northampton Mercury 29 July 1904

Obstruction – George Smith, baker, Burton Latimer, was ummoned for obstructing the public highway at that place, on July 12.- Mr. E. Barlow defended. – P.C. Beal stated that the defendant was the ringleader of an organised “horn fair” gang at Burton Latimer. – Mr. Barlow spoke in mitigation of the offence. – Defendant was fined 2s. 6d and 7s 6d. costs

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