May Fair 900

In 2021, Hereford celebrates the 900th anniversary of its May Fair charter. Events and activities will take place during the year to mark this unique milestone and celebrate the vibrancy of the fair today.

The charter for a fair to be held on the feast of St Ethelbert and two days following was granted to the Bishop of Hereford in 1121 as a way of raising money for the Cathedral. During the fair, the Bishop had rights of control over all trade and those coming into the city which caused many disagreements between the city officials and the bishop over the centuries.

In 1838, control of the fair and all its rights passed to the City Council and the duration was reduced to 2 days – at that time it was one of 8 annual fairs, only the May Fair now survives. As well as the pleasure fair that it is known as today, the fair also sold livestock, poultry, butter and other produce in the early nineteenth century.

Over the last 150 years, many fascinating photographs of the fair have been taken and collected. We want to add your photo experiences and memories; the heart-stopping rides, side-shows, food stalls, behind the scenes hard work and ancient ceremonies that form the street extravaganza which is Hereford's May Fair. Upload your photos by going to

Some records may appear incomplete as we are constantly adding information to these images.

Individuals are permitted to use, download, transmit, or print images for private, research, or educational purposes, but not for any commercial purpose without further permission from Herefordshire History and/or the original copyright holder/s. For reproduction queries please use our contact form.