Historic Scarborough horse fair cancelled for second year running due to pandemic, travelling community informed

Scarborough Council has confirmed that the travellers’ horse fair at Seamer has been cancelled for the second year running due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two men take a horse and cart ride around the fair in 2015
Two men take a horse and cart ride around the fair in 2015

The horse fair, which takes place annually on July 15 near Scarborough, will not be going ahead due to the extension to step three of the government’s Covid-19 roadmap.

A council spokesman said that because the fair, which is a gathering rather than a formally organised event, has historically attracted a high number of attendees, and in excess of the permitted 30, to go ahead would be in breach of the current Covid-19 restrictions.

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Scarborough Borough Council and its partners, North Yorkshire Police, North Yorkshire County Council and RSPCA, are advising the travelling community of the cancellation of the fair, in advance, to save them from making wasted journeys to the Scarborough area.

The traditional ‘penny throwing’ and reading of the historic Seamer Charter in the centre of the village, which, like the horse fair, has regularly attracted onlookers of more than 30 in number, is also cancelled in line with the extension to the government guidelines.

In a joint statement, the partner organisations said: “It is important that everyone continues to play their part in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus, particularly with the additional challenges we face from the Delta variant.

“Our dialogue with the travelling community about the cancellation of the fair will emphasise their collective responsibility to keep the settled community and their own community safe.”

The annual Horse Fair is held on Scarborough Council-owned land, off the B1261 between Seamer and Crossgates.

Once a thriving meet-up in the travellers’ calendar, the number of people attending the Seamer fair has dropped in recent years.

The origin of the Seamer fair dates back to a Royal Charter issued in November 1382 by Richard II.

It was not until the 1900s that the fair became associated with travellers.

Following a pitched battle in 1911 the travellers were forbidden to enter the village or camp on the green.