Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fakenham Market comes to Prince Albert

- Ailsa Tudhope -

During their latest holiday in England John and Ann Whitton enjoyed a visit to Fakenham in Norfolk with their friends Rod and Moira Spokes. In 1086 the town’s entry in the Domesday Book shows it had only 150 residents. Hempton, on the opposite side of the river, was the larger community and had an abbey that played host to pilgrims on their way to Walsingham. Fakenham became the dominant centre when the abbey was abolished by Henry VIII. It has been a market town since 1250, when it was given a Charter. The stalls probably occupied space around the parish church of St.Peter & St.Paul and Fakenham's modern-day Thursday market is still situated very close to its original position. Its major industry in the 19th and 20th centuries was printing, but the chief printworks (Cox and Wyman) closed in the 1970s. Nevertheless, there are still more than ten small printing firms in industrial premises around and near the town. A large number of printing blocks have been set into the surface of the market place as a memorial to this lost industry.

The market website says that there’s always a bargain to be had at Fakenham Market where the stalls are run by local traders as well as those who 'do the rounds' across the region. So it was that one Thursday morning, as Ann and Moira inspected the many items on display for an auction, they spied a large plastic bag packed with costume jewellery, The contents, though jumbled and tangled, looked intriguing and they mentioned to their menfolk that they might put in a bid, but when the bag came up for auction they were nowhere to be seen, so John and Rod triumphantly carried it home for the grand sum of £18.

Ann and Moira had great fun sorting through the treasure trove, untangling chains, mending broken links and clasps and matching earrings until they had a handsome cache of saleable wares. Ann piled it all into her hand luggage and staggered, heavy laden, onto the plane. Now Fakenham’s Market jewellery can be purchased at the Prince Albert Saturday Market and all the proceeds are going to local charities.

Fakenham Market information from

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