By a Grant of Henry III, a fair of unknown origin that used to be held at Leicester in June was altered to February, or the day of the Purification of our Lady. The Grant was addressed to the ‘Good Men of Leicester’.
A very ancient market was held in the present Market Place. It was more extensive in former centuries than it is now. It was bounded on the north-east and south-east by the Town Walls and on the inside of the north-east wall ran a wide causeway known as the Corn Wall, where horse dealers displayed the pace of their animals. In the 16th century some part of the Corn Wall was licensed for sheep pens.
King Edward I granted to Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, a yearly fair to be held on the morrow of the Holy Trinity and 14 days afterwards.
The Earl of Leicester had a fair of his own granted by Edward the Second in the first year of his reign. The fair was held on the morrow of the Feast of the Holy Trinity.
King Edward III granted a market and fair to Henry, newly created Duke of Lancaster
By Royal Charter the date of the fair was altered by King Edward III from May to Michaelmas. By a supplementary charter the Duke of Lancaster himself granted to the mayor and Burgesses the entire ordering of the fair (with reservations).
John of Gaunt by the charter which he signed in 1376 expressly included in his grant to the mayor, burgesses and commonalty of the town of Leicester. “…all manner of profits of portmoots courts of the fair and of the market of the said town and suburbs.”
Another fair was granted by Edward IV (May).
Two new fairs were granted to the town by Henry VIII, by letters patent; June and December.
Edward the Sixth confirmed the patents given by his ancestors Edward III and Edward IV for the Michaelmas and May fairs and Queen May, 1553, confirmed both the letters patent of Henry VIII and charter of Edward VI, assuring the two former fairs.
Queen Elizabeth confirmed four fairs – Midsummer, Christmas, May and Michaelmas. The four fairs used to be formally proclaimed at the High Cross. The Mayor and Corporation walked in procession and at the cross the town clerk read the charter creating the fair. The ceremony continued into the nineteenth century.
William Burton enumerates five fairs, the previously mentioned four and a Palm Sunday fair. At this a considerable show of cattle is reported. A low fair is also mentioned (a fair for cattle). In the eighteenth century additional fairs for cattle and sheep were established.
The cattle fairs held in May and October were ordered to be held in the present Horse Fair Street.
The times of the May and October fairs were altered.
The fair held in Humberstone Gate.
Completion of egg box style roof. View image
Completion of existing indoor market building.
Medieval markets festival.
Completion of existing roof. Opened by Bruce Forsyth. View image
Introduction of the permanent cafe and 15 further units on the outdoor market.
Introduction of the Farmers Market.
Leicester Market crowned ‘Britian’s Favourite Market 2009’ in Nabma awarded public vote. Read more here.