Monday, June 18, 2007

Charlton Horn Fair

Last weekend saw the Horn Fair being held at Charlton House. I knew it was coming but I was away from the area (which is also why there's no photos of HMS Ark Royal) and couldn't make it up there.

Audrey, who went along, emailed me so I really thought that I should say something about it.

The Horn Fair seems to date back over 300 years. A "mob" used to gather near Deptford and then march to Charlton. Men, so it would appear, often dressed in women's clothing and wore horns on their heads. Horn fairs seem to have a connection with cuckoldry. The marchers would gather at Cuckold's Point in Deptford in the case of Charlton's Horn Fair and the horns themselves were meant to be a symbol of it.

Daniel Defoe (author of Robin Crusoe) had this to say in the 1720's:

"Charleton, a village famous, or rather infamous for the yearly collected rabble of mad-people, at Horn-Fair; the rudeness of which I cannot but think, is such as ought to be suppressed, and indeed in a civiliz'd well govern'd nation, it may well be said to be unsufferable. 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 justify'd 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."

For some more information on the Horn Fair click here.

Audrey kindly provided me with some photos which I'll post up below.

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