In 1767, it was advertised that a roaming menagerie was travelling to Shroton Fair, unveiling a Royal Bengal Tiger to the local inhabitants. As a popular event within the county, the Fair was an early location for these travelling shows, who brought a sample of the exotic to rural Dorset. The Eastern spices now used in every bottle of Zummit Dry® once again bring an Oriental splash back to the Blackmore Vale.
Between 1261 to the late 1960s, the Shroton Fair was one of the largest cattle, horse, and labour markets in the county. Craftsmen, milkmaids, saddlers, and farmhands would come from far and wide to seek new employment each year and sell their stock.
As time went on, business was combined with pleasure and traditional Fairground entertainment was provided, with famed novelist and poet Thomas Hardy even attending. The Fair itself was located underneath Hambledon Hill, an imposing 5,500-year-old Neolithic burial site and Iron Age hill fort.
Decline & Fall
With the development of railways, motorisation and innovative centralised auctions, the Fair gradually declined in popularity as an agricultural and socially relevant event. This happened to such an extent that it disappeared entirely in the 1960s and was subsumed by The Great Dorset Steam Fair. The area where the Fair’s tents and stalls were pitched each year is now used by Shroton Cricket Club.