Chipping Norton’s Mop Fair takes place this weekend (18 to 20 September). Please remember to leave a bit of extra time for any journeys you need to make, as the one-way system through town will be in operation… and remember to take money into town with you for rides/candy floss/drinks and so on!
You may not know that the mop fair was also originally known as a hiring or statute fair, and was where farm workers and servants would gather with an item depicting their trade, and a tassle on their lapel, which became known as a ‘mop’.
Employers would come and choose the worker they wanted to employ for the next year, and would give them a ‘hiring penny’ to signify an agreement. The worker could then spend the money they had been given at the fair’s stalls.
Today, the stalls survive – although in a different form – but the Mop weekend is all about fun, rather than employment. But one thing is left from its earlier function: the Mop is held in September, around the time of Michaelmas, which was when contracts were traditionally started and ended.
To get you in the Mop mood, here’s a video from the 2012 Mop – well, from one of the rides, actually! If you get any good photos of this year’s Mop, do send them to us!