Conisbrough & Denaby Main
Heritage Group
  
Researched by June Greathead who has kindly allowed us to use it for our website.


TICKLECOCK FAIR

The casual visitor to the fair held in Conisbrough on Maunday Thursday and Good Friday could be excused into believing that with the back drop of the Castle (circa 1170) that a Charter Fair was being held, but this is not so.                                                                                                          
No Charter for a fair to be held in Conisbrough is recorded.

A Market Charter was discovered in 1989 dated 5th March 1201.

 It is doubtful that either a Market Charter or a Fair Charter would have been granted for Maunday Thursday or Good Friday as these two days were part of Holy Week. 
                                                                                                       
For the fair at Conisbrough we must look at our more recent history.  Somewhere in the late eighteenth century, about 1780, Methodist preachers used Conisbrough  Castle Grounds on Maunday Thursday and Good Friday for open air services, these attracted enough people to warrant in the first instance, food to be brought to the Castle and sold to those attending, these people would be residents and people from the local area.  Later it is possible that side shows and roundabouts were brought in to keep the children occupied whilst parents were listening to the sermons.

In 1810 a Methodist Chapel was erected in Conisbrough (Castle Avenue) this meant that open air services were no longer needed.  However, the fair element had by this time become established and the fair slipped into Easter tradition.

Eventually the residents of Conisbrough, who supported the then Vicar, the Revd. J.G. Wood who lived opposite the Castle in the Vicarage and who complained about the violation of Easter Tide with a fair being held, forced the fair proprietors in 1879 to remove the fair to the extremity of the village. The area of land that the fair moved to belonged to the owners of the Station Hotel, conveniently situated near the railway station. (railway arrived in 1849). This move allowed the fair to grow larger as the land around the Station Hotel was flat in comparison to the Castle grounds.   
                                                                                                                                                                                   
In 1879 the Mexborough and Swinton Times recorded twenty thousand visitors to the fair in Conisbrough.  Between 1920 and 1940 trains every half hour would arrive from Sheffield from 10-30 a.m., until 2p.m., allowing steel workers and miners families to mingle both at the fair, in the Castle grounds, on the adjoining Crags and on the River Don.  They would enjoy themselves either rowing a boat or taking a trip on the first motorized  boat on the Don, aptly named 'Ivanhoe' (1923) and owned by Mr. Thomas Booth.    Of course many would spend time and money in the local hostelries.   During the 1920 period the Landlord at the Station Hotel was Mr. Alf Lowe, what he charged in rent for the two days the fair was on his land, paid it is said, his rates to the local authority for the next year.  At the time a pint of beer was 6d. 

After the War Ticklecock Fair returned but was now also using the land belonging to Denaby and Cadeby Home Coal next to Ferry Farm with side shows all the way down Low Road connecting the two sites.


From the South Yorkshire Times

On Good Friday 1918 the Ferry Boat took 1000 pennies.  A return trip across to the other side of the river and back cost 1d.

From the South Yorkshire Times

26th March 1926

Good Friday is upon us once again and the usual conglomeration of machines is to be observed near to the Station (Ticklecock Fair).  A stranger to the district to whom I mentioned this was aghast at our method of observing this day and so are many residents.
  
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