Virtual St Mary's Institute for Historical Research

Where St. Mary's Staff and Historians live virtually.

Virtual St Mary's Institute for Historical Research

Where St. Mary's Staff and Historians live virtually.

 

FROST FAIR
by Bruce Pavier
March  2,  2018

 

I have been tasked to write a report about the ‘Great St. Mary’s Frost Fayre’. I spent a few days off and on reading up about Frost Fayres and on Monday last, when the weather here in Brixton, Devon, was clear and sunny, I wrote the report. Since then the UK has suffered some of the worst snow in many a long year. Did I, unknowingly, upset Khione the Greek Goddess of snow, daughter of Boreas, god of the North Wind and Winter and sister of Zethes and Calais and who has sent us this weather in spite?
On a personal note I took about 3 hours to produce the 1608 advertisement using Microsoft Publisher, changing some words here and adding some different graphics (which are a Dingbat font by the way) and then doing a ‘print screen’ (Prt Scrn) of the finished written article to make it a JPG file and then used various photograph programs to give the result below. (I might just print that off and frame it)
The actual report took some 5 hours to finish which included about an hour or so ‘tweeking’.

Some ‘Real World’ information on the ‘1608 advertisement’.
The date, ‘Nineteen day of the Month of January in this Year of Our Lord 1608’ is real as I looked it up on the internet.
I spent a VERY happy half an hour or so scouring the internet for a 17th Century font and found the ‘Chapbook font’ which was the one I used for the text. The graphics are a font called ‘Waswoodcuts’ and I used a 72 point font for these. Both of these fonts are FREE from various sites on the internet.
At the bottom right of the Advert you will see that it was ‘printed by Thomas Pavier’. He, like the date, was real and died in 1625. I do not know if he was a genealogical ancestor of mine but he is certainly a ‘Name’ ancestor. He was a bit of a rascal and was involved with a chap called William Jaggard in the cryptic False Folio of 1619. (Have a quick gander on Google about that).
I hope you like it.
Lots of love
Bruce
XXX

The Frost (Fayre) Report
Upon the (surprising) discovery of the 1608 advertisement for a St. Mary’s Frost Fayre (see attachment) Dr. Bairstow thought that it might be a good idea to hold another one here at St. Mary’s and invite the somewhat confused and wary local inhabitants of Rushford to attend along with, of course, personnel from Thirsk.
The rationale behind this BRILLIANT idea was to build (or rather repair) bridges between St. Mary’s staff and the aforementioned Rushford/Thirsk visitors.
R&D had been tasked to make, not so much Hay whilst the sun shined, but rather Frost whilst the sun shined. This resulted in much noxious gas and odious odours to emulate from the area presently occupied by the R&D Think Tank. Unbelievably their ministrations were successful and without too much damage to the surrounding building superstructure and localised Bronchial Tubes. The idea of ‘freezing’ the lake however eluded the best minds available which was probably for the better and would keep the swans away from the unwary users of the lake had this freezing been achieved. The wag that suggested that everyone could wear large planks on their feet so that they could ‘skate over the lake’ was banished to the corner of the room and made to wear a conical hat with a large letter ‘D’ on it.
The invitations were sent out and, unbelievably, a very large number returned from the recipients with no small degree of interest.
The great day dawned bright with a clear blue sky more August than February. R&D had turned too early and spread their ‘frost’ concoction over the main lawn. Mr Strong was keeping a VERY close and wary eye on this.
The Kitchen staff had, with the help of the technical section, managed to make two old metal dustbins into cooking stoves (and a third into a Barbeque) and were placing trays of Chestnuts over the already hot coals in anticipation of a roaring trade later that morning. The smell of cooking food soon wafted throughout the whole area and helped bring the cautious visitors beyond the confines of the main gate. 
The technical section had, over the last week or so, been very busy making an Igloo out of lattice wood and canvas. The Igloo itself stood six feet high and could accommodate a good number of inquisitive people. The purpose of the Igloo was rather dubious but uninformed sources suggested that beer might have been involved.
Rather appropriately near the stables was the security section’s offering to the day’s events. The initial idea had been the old ‘Pin the tail on the donkey’ game but Dr Bairstow had put forward a rather unusual twist and suggested … or rather ‘SUGGESTED’ that two ‘volunteers’ should immerse themselves into a redundant Reindeer costume, again, and that the game should now be called ‘Pin the tail on the Reindeer’. Oddly enough during the days proceedings this seemed to give the visiting children the most fun and it was also noted that a large number of adults were also very active in this venture. It was later pointed out, however, that nearly all the adults involved were members of the security department.
With the help of the wardrobe department the history department did sterling service dressed appropriately in costumes from the 17th century and helped with the local tradesmen from Rushford in selling foodstuffs (cooked on open fires) and refreshments of, again, the beer variety. The history department has also done some research and had asked the kitchen staff to make Gingerbread men and other foods of the era. 
On the physical side two skittle alleys had been set up and there was a large area set aside for dancing. The music for this was supplied by two of the staff who had a passion for the Angelique and the Serpent. The music (Symphony 25B in A Minor for Angelique and Serpent by Aloysius ‘Monty’ Moattzart III) was interesting and soon had lots of couples dancing around like mad things. 
The whole day was a success although slightly marred when someone carelessly discarded a lit cigarette that landed on the Igloo which promptly caught fire. Luckily no one was in it at the time and the local fire brigade, who had been invited with their shiny red fire engine to appease the ‘little boy’ in the adults, soon had the flames under control. It was, the fire chief said, the first time he had ever put out a fire in an Igloo.
The medical department were not too pressed, just dealing with children who had burnt tongues from hot chestnuts. “What part of HOT in HOT chestnut did you NOT understand” was heard to be expressed, and with increasing venom on more than one occasion, as the day wore on. The female laughter that came from the First Aid tent later in the afternoon was probably put down to a certain security person presenting himself and his much punctured Gluteus Maximus for a bout of none too sympathetic attention.
Dr Bairstow declared the whole venture to be one of his better ideas and that the staff should be proud of themselves. Dark mutterings for potential pay rises from the ‘proud’ staff were pointedly ignored.