Corby Pole Fair

By Margaret Marshall

Corby was granted the right to hold two annual fairs and a market by Henry III in 1226.

 In 1568 Corby was granted a charter by Elizabeth I that exempted local landowners from tolls  dues  and gave all men the right to refuse to serve in the local militia.

 A popular legend is that the Queen was hunting in Rockingham Forest when she  either fell from her horse or became trapped in a bog whilst riding.

 Upon being rescued by villagers from Corby she granted the charter in gratitude for her rescue. Another popular explanation is that it was granted as a favour to her alleged lover Sir Christopher Hatton.

 

The Corby Pole Fair is an event that has taken place every 20 years since 1862 in celebration of the charter. The next pole fair is to be held in 2022.

 

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Free counters

Queen Elizabeth granted that the ‘men and tenants’ of Corby should be quit of the customary dues of ‘toll, pannage, murage, and passage’, and other exemptions enjoyed by ancient demesne manors.

Though largely symbolic, the charter was a significant element in Corby ’s developing sense of community, identity, and self-governance, and may have been issued to allay villagers’ concerns at the manor’s acquisition by a powerful courtier.

Likewise, it was probably no coincidence that Corby ’s tenants successfully petitioned Charles II to confirm the charter in 1670, when the manor passed from the Hatton’s to the equally powerful Brudenells



Photo:Corby,  19th May 1902. Corby Pole Fair. 3rd person from the left in stocks is Mr Walker, who originally managed  the Co op store. The young lad grinning between him and the fourth person is Pudgin Langley.
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Photo:Corby,1902, Corby Pole Fair
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Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Corby Pole Fair' page
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Photo:Corby, 1902 outside James Pain's house, High St, facing the Jamb. The banner reads, 'Success to the Fete. Charter granted by HM Queen Elizabeth in 1575, and confirmed by H M King Charles II in 1682' (the correct date was 1670). The figure in the bowler on the steps before his front door is the Corby benefactor James Pain, he was a main employer in the town with his brickmaking and ironstone companies. See the toll tickets in the mens hats.
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Photo:Corby, 1902, Corby Pole Fair at the Rockingham Road end of the Village. Banner shows, 'Welcome to our Fair' and on the reverse reads, 'Success to Our Local Industries'.
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Photo:Corby, 1922, Corby Pole Fair. In the middle is the Rev T G Clarke, who also wore his distinctive mortar board at the 1902 Pole Fair. The box attached to the stocks is for paying the toll.
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Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Corby Pole Fair' page
Photo:1922, Corby Pole Fair. Revd T G Clarke, being carried near Stanion Lane
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Photo:Corby,1922? Corby Pole Fair
This gallery was added by Margaret Marshall on 06/05/2011.
Comments about this page

Would be good to see any photos from the 80's Pole Fair.

By D
On 26/05/2011

I was part of the Corby Pole fair in 1982. I was part of the Woodnewton Juniors school choir and I remember learning the songs.. I felt so proud! I was only 10 at the time. I would love to see photos of that one too.

By Rebecca
On 05/05/2012

I was on a float run by the Scouts in the '82 pole fair, my little brother managed to get put in the stocks for a picture that appeared in the calender. At the ox roast my dad knew the fella running it and managed to get a free handfull of meat for him and my brother before it had officially opened. Later that evening we watched the fireworks and my little brother got some ash in his eye and we spent the last hour of the nite in the St. Johns ambulance tent. Fond memories.

By Ian Still
On 30/05/2012

Can anyone explain to me why the tradition started in the 1800s and not in Elizabethan times after the Charter was granted?

Thanks

By Norman Boyd
On 30/03/2017

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