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An Archaeological Project
Martinmas 2014 Martinmas 2015

Medieval Lenton Priory was home to Nottingham's annual Martinmas Fair.

Why Martinmas? Because the fair was held on and around 11 November - the Feast of St Martin of Tours (also called Martinstag, Martinmas, or St Martin's Day). And in November medieval Europe, an agricultural society in sync with the seasons, would celebrate the end of the autumn wheat seeding and slaughter each year's fattened cattle to produce the imaginatively named Martinmas Beef. Martinmas feasts were enjoyed and hiring fairs held, as farm labourers moved to pastures new at the end of the agricultural year. The result was the Martinmas Fair.

In Britain and neighbouring countries the timing of Martinmas celebrations coincided with the annual slaughtering of geese (before they had the chance to get away, migrating for the winter)... could this somehow be part of the origins of the city's famous Goose Fair?

About Martinmas fairs