Welcome to Rowell Fair's website

Furborough's transport and living wagon parked in School Lane 1966Shaw's transport in Well LaneWillie Thurston's Waltzer being positioned on the Market Hill


Keeping our traditions alive

 The post-war years were a difficult time for the Ancient Charter Fair. Interest in the Proclamation had declined steadily and it was becoming increasingly difficult to raise anything resembling a brass band.

Bailiff to the Lord of the Manor, Norman Hall, was the third generation of his family to hold the office, upon the death of his father in 1961. It was later in 1968 when he decided something drastic needed to be done to save the tradition of the Proclamation from dying out. It was against this background that Norman appealed to his small group of regulars, the halbardiers, grooms and bandsmen, to help fight the apathy and to ensure that the Charter Fair survived for future generations.

To this end a public meeting of all interested parties was called for Thursday, February 29th 1968

The minute book records the meeting started with a slide show of recent fairs and proclamations, and having got the interest of the audience, the acting chairman reported what had been discussed. He went on to give the aims of the proposed society which were "the revival of interest in the Charter Fair and to assist the Bailiff at the Proclamation".

All present were enthusiastic in their support of the proposals, a committee was elected and the Rowell Fair Society was born.

Support for the society grew and through the hard work and efforts of the society, the popularity of the Proclamation and the fair recovered.

Since the early days of the society, it has held regular meetings on a wide range of subjects, had trips away to places such as York, the Severn Valley Railway and Fred Dibnah's home in Bolton. Models shows and classic vehicle parades have been a feature of Fair Sunday for many years. Bands have been provided along with jugglers, fire-eaters and clowns at many of the fairs, as an added attraction. Special guest speaker nights have been held with the likes of Dickie Bird, Sir Stanley Matthews, Tom Owen and the late, great Fred Dibnah.

The society still holds regular activities, and this years fair will see many events being put on by the society on Rowell Fair Sunday and Monday.

The Committee

President                     Paul Johnson

Chairman                    Alan Mills

Vice Chairman             Robert Denton BEM

Secretary                    Ian Pratt

Treasurer                    Robert Denton BEM

Auditor                       Clive Cross

Committee                  Alan & Margaret Marlow (membership),Frank York, Steve Wells, Sue Johnson, Roger Wilson, Karl Sumpter, Pete Bell & Richard Ley 

Archives,Website &      Frank York

newsletter editor    



The King James Charter 

of 1614 granted to William Cockayne, the Lord of the Manor.

Whereas heretofore, his late Majesty King James the first and his progenitors, Lords of the Manor of Rowell had, and used to have, One fair in the year, to be holden within the said Manor, which said fair is now by good and lawfull means come to Zandra Maunsell Powell.

She, the said Zandra Maunsell Powell, doth by these presents notify and declare, that the said fair shall begin this Monday after the feast of the Holy Trinity, and so to continue for the space of five days next, after the holding and keeping of it, and no longer, during which time it shall be lawful for all Her Majesties Subjects to come , to go, to buy and to sell all manner of cattle, merchandise and other stuff being saleable ware and allowed to be bought and sold by the laws of this Kingdom. No toll for cattle, stakes for horses, sheep-pens, shows and stalls are charged for as heretofore. And she further chargeth and commandeth all manner of persons within the liberties of the said fair to keep the Queen's peace in all things upon such penalties as the laws and statutes of this Kingdom are provided.

God save the Queen and the

Lord of the Manor.


The King John Charter

John , by the Grace of God King, be it known that we have granted, and by this our present charter do confirm to our beloved and faithful Richard, Earl of Clare and his heirs that they may have their market of Rowell on Monday, with all the liberties and free customs to that market belonging, as it was formally [held] on Sunday, so that nevertheless it not be to the hurt of neighbouring markets. Besides which we grant and by this our charter we have confirmed to the same Earl Richard and his heirs, that they may have yearly a fair at Rowell at the Feast of the Holy Trinity for and during five days, that is to say on the eve of the Holy Trinity and on that day and on the three following days, so nevertheless that such fair be not to the hurt of neighbouring fairs. Wherefore we will and firmly declare that the aforesaid Earl Richard and his heirs may have and hold the aforesaid market and the aforesaid fair of us and our heirs in perpetuity well and in peace, freely and quetly rightly, fully and with honour, with all the liberties and free customs aforesaid.

Witness the Lord H. Archbishop of Canterbury,

J. Norwich, and W. London Bishops



William Cockayne  1561-1626


So that is the Charter, as read today, but who was William Cockayne, whose name was originally on the Charter now descended to Zandra Powell.

William was born in 1561, the 2nd son of William and Elizabeth Cockayne. Allthough originating from Warwickshire, his father was a merchant in London and sometime governor of the Eastland Company. In 1592William was apprenticed to his father, and succeeded to his business in 1599.

In 1609 William was the sheriff of London and alderman of Farringdon Without 1609-13, of Castle Baynard 1613-18, of Lime Street 1618-25 and of Broad Street 1625 until his death in 1626.

In 1612, when the plantation of Ulster began, he was the first governor, and it was under his direction that the city of Londonderry was established.

On the 8th June 1616, whilst having dinner at William's house in Broad Street, King James the 1st dubbed him a knight.

The years 1619-1620 saw Williamserve as the Mayor of London.

In his later life, he helped to equip William Baffin on one of his northern voyages, and in his honour, a harbour in Greenland was named "Cockin's Sound".

William and his wife Mary had many children, the son Charles was the 1st Viscount Cullen. Of his many daughters ( at least 8 ), Martha married 1st Earl of Holderness, Abigail married 2nd Earl of Dover, Mary married 2nd Earl of Nottingham and others married Viscount Fanshawe, Sir Hatton Fermor and the Honourable James Sheffield, son of the Earl of Mulgrave.

Besides the estate at Rushton, William also had estates at Comb Nevill in Surrey and Elmesthorpe in Leicestershire.

Upon his death at the age of 66, William was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, where a monument was erected to his honour.


 Please visit the Whats New page for a full list of our coming events.