Following the success of the first Charter Fair in 2001, the town decided to put another landmark event on the calendar for 2003.


This time the focus was on 1605, the year that King James 1 reaffirmed Kirkby Stephen’s first medieval charter. By then the charter, and the market and trade that developed because of it, had helped transform the town into a thriving and prosperous market centre.


The Jacobean fair’s events stretched over three days, from the evening of Friday October 24th , when a grand banquet in a marquee within the church grounds opened the festivities, to Sunday October 26, when a fireworks display and beacon signalled the end of the celebrations.


Over the weekend, Kirkby Stephen was the venue for a host of plays and concerts, displays and exhibitions, music and dancing, plus, of course, the centrepiece, a re-enactment of the proclamation of the new charter in the Market Square.


Click on the links for the pictures and stories from a weekend of living history in Kirkby Stephen. Learn more about what life was like in the town in the 17th century, and read what a newspaper of the day might have been reporting.

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welcome to the 2001 fair
14th century Kirkby Stephen
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