The Village Fair

Maypole DancingChipstead has an annual Village Fair, first recorded in Edward VI's reign in 1549 and held on St.Margaret's day. It may originally have been a large cattle fair held on Church Green, and was subsequently moved to Fair Green near Shabden as a sheep fair.

In the early centuries annual village fairs were of considerable importance and attracted large numbers of people. Cattle and sheep farmers would travel long distances in search of suitable livestock and the ordinary people would find goods and services unavailable elsewhere.

There appears to be only one significant interruption, of about 50 years, in the annual cycle of Chipstead's Fair. In 1854 the new owner of the Shabden estate, John Cattley, decided that the Fair was a nuisance and persuaded the Lord of the Manor, William Jolliffe, to have it suppressed. The steward was instructed accordingly and asked Reigate police to turn everyone off the Green as they arrived.

The Fair was revived by Lord Marshall of Shabden in 1909, and the event alternated between Shabden and Elmore. Upon Lord Marshall's death in 1936 Mr Stoddart offered to hold it at Longshaw, where it continued until 1940 and again discontinued "owing to the international situation and unsettled conditions owing to the war". It was revived again by Norman Wates in 1947 and continues to this day as the Village Fair and Flower Show on the Elmore estate.