By The Twig - Well Seasoned, Aug 24 2017 11:00AM
Saint Bartholomew is the patron saint of tanners and his feast day in the height of summer was cause for celebration.
St. Bartholomew's patronage is somewhat ironic given the nature of his death which, suffice to say, was gruesome and involved knives (you can look it up if you're the bloodthirsty type) His death was commemorated on 23rd and 24th August and, given the reliable weather and proximity to the harvest, was a particularly popular date for fairs across the country.
London's Bartholomew Fair was one of the largest in Britain, attracting many thousands, and was popular for hundreds of years from its instigation by Royal Charter in 1133.
At its peak, the fair lasted for two weeks, starting on St. Bartholomew's Day when it was opened by the Lord Mayor, and attracted every manner of artist, trader and entertainer you can imagine. Singers, dancers, jugglers, and circuses all came to town, as well as many of the less desirable elements of society.
The fair's reputation as a hub of disorder, drunken revelry, thievery and immorality grew steadily until local political opposition from the guilds and City authorities led to its abandonment in the 1850s.