Cymdeithas Hanes Mechell
Ffair Mechell from the diaries of William Bulkeley
Fairs and Markets -
The owner, manager, governor or steward of each open air fair or market was to choose an open place within the town. Horses, foals and mares were sold there and it was necessary to appoint a responsible person to receive the tariff and to remain in the same position from ten in the morning until sunset on the day of the fair or market. A fine of forty shillings was levied for any offence or crime committed. The tariff collector received payment for each horse, mare and foal and he recorded the names and addresses of each buyer and seller in a book. There had to be a special mark on the left side of every horse. The Tariff collector had to present the book to the owner or steward the day after the fair or market. If a buyer or seller was unknown to the tariff collector then a ‘responsible person’ would be asked to testify to the identity of the stranger and his address would be recorded in the book.
The fairs would be held on specified days, four or five times a year. There would be much more variety there than in the weekly markets with traders from England attending them.
The weekly markets were essential for the buyers of the Island-
Unfortunately we have no photographs of Llanfechell Fair during this period but photographs of two other fairs in Anglesey have been included . If anyone knows of any photographs of the old Llanfechell Fair please contact us.
A Diary of Fairs (and the distance of some of them from London)
1 Aberffraw (263). March 7th, April following the Trinity , December 11th (cattle).
2. Amlwch (264). November 12th (cattle).
3. Beaumaris (249). February 13th, Thursday September 19th, December 19th (cattle).
4. Llannerchymedd (259). February 5th, Saint Mark May 6th, Thursday following the Trinity (cattle).
5. Llanfechell. August 25th, November 5th, November 26th (cattle).
6. Newborough (257) .June 22nd , August 10th and 21st , September 25th , November 11th (cattle)
7. Pentraeth . Monday May 5th, Friday following the Trinity, August 16th, October 3rd, November 12th (cattle).
8. Menai Bridge. August 26th, September 26th, October 24th, November 14th (cattle).
Click on photograph to see larger version
Here is some information from Lewis’ Topographic Dictionary of a market at Beaumaris – May 2nd and December 19th.
Butchers’ stalls 13
Cobblers’ stalls 14
Fish stalls 3
In 1826 the market was moved to Church Street and became the property of the town managed by a Council Committee. An Inspector was appointed who would collect the tariff. Butchers would pay one or two shillings depending on the size of the stalls and the number of hooks that were used. Cobblers and fish stalls would be 3 pennies and other stalls would be charged one penny per square yard. There would also be a charge of one penny a day for each basket, hamper or hen cage, butter, eggs, flour and potatoes. Heavy fines would be levied on cheating sellers and no butcher was allowed to leave the remains of intestines behind.
It was not always as organised in each town or village and large towns like Caernarfon,
Bangor and Holyhead had indoor markets. Sellers were mainly farmers, selling their
produce of butter, cheese, eggs, meat and vegetables. There were also craftsmen-
Click on photograph to see larger version
In 1658 Llannerchymedd was given the right to hold a weekly market each Wednesday and five annual fairs, March 24th, April 25th, August 14th, September 20th, and November 2nd .
The quality of the markets would vary-
April 5th 1734 An ordinary flesh market today at Llanfechell being only 7 or 8 poor kids but of Corn, Bread, butter, salt be a great deal of.
July 25th 1735 a very full Fair today at Llanfechell such as Woolen and Linnen cloath, shoes, hats, Iron ware, Sole Leather, some cattle, Carpenter’s work such as Drags, Ladders etc Pedlars and Hop Merchants...
Shops and shoppers of Anglesey
There were very few shops in Anglesey in the Eighteenth Century. There were no industries-
Pedlars were very busy in the Anglesey countryside throughout the Eighteenth Century
yet we know very little about them. People who lived in remote areas depended on
them. They were warmly welcomed more for the news than the goods they brought with
them. The Pedlars from the North dealt in wool and linen, all sorts of clothes as
well as haberdashery-
William Bulkeley and the Fair at Llanfechell
You will find these examples in the Diaries
June 26th Was at Cemaes today bathing in the sea, spent there 3d for ale. The market full today at Llannerchymedd. I had a quarter of mutton from Llannerchymedd , cost me 15d. I’ve bought better here for 6d.
July 12th Bought at Llanvechell market a quarter of mutton for 15d of Shadrach Evans much larger and fatter than that I had at Llannerchymedd.
July 25th A very poor fair today at Llanvechell for cattle but everything else in abundance.
August 8th A pretty good market today at Llanfechell. I bought a side of small young mutton for 9d and a quarter of Rock Venison that was very large and fat for 8d.
September 8th The market today at Llannerchymedd lower than the week before, the barley from 12 to 14d a pigget, the Rye from 18 to 19d a pigget. Wheat from 26 to 28d a pigget.
September 20th A pretty good market at Llanfechell, bought a quarter of mutton for 10d, paid 3d for fish and 3d for ale.
November 15th A very good fair today at Llanfechell, more cattle bought there than ever, paid 2s 8d for a side of beef.
November 20th Went today to the Llannerchymedd fair which has been set up about 13 years ago, holding there a fair every Wednesday from Allsaints to Christmas.
November 21st Bought….. of John Rowland of Trwyn-
November 24th Sent Wm Davies to Caernarfon Fair (which is tomorrow) to buy me cloath to make me a winter suit.
April 2nd Was at Dublin market over the water, a very great plenty both of fish of all sorts as likewise flesh and fowl. Beef very dear.
June 8th Very cold, so cold that we were forced to make use of fire in the hall.
June 27th A pretty good market at Llanfechell today – we had news from Chester Fair that cattle and horses bore a very good rate there.
August 15th A pretty good flesh market today at Llanfechell.
August 27th The market at Llannerchymedd much the same as last week, great quantity of herrings in that market 7 or 8 a penny.
September 15th The Drovers today at Newborough Fair played a cunning part, joining altogether 2 or 3 in the evening when everyone were turning their cattle home at which time they bought a good number from 6 to 9 pound a pair.
September 25th William Bevan of Croes Fechan, John ab William Lewis of Nannar in Cemlyn and Owen Pritchard of Plas Ynghemlyn met at Llanfechell to receive horses they had bought from Chester fair….. about 40 in number.
March 17th Went today to Llannerchymedd, the market much the same as last week, paid 5d for Garden seed, 3d for half an ounce of leek seeds and 2d worth of lettuce seeds, paid 10d for meat and drink.
July 14th This day being a great Horse fair at Llannerchymedd to buy horses for Mould fair, there was a great many Horses exposed to sale, but all in a manner very ordinary Beasts and sold at a poor rate.
August 14th The Fair at Llannerchymedd very poor both in respect to the number bought and the rates given for them, most of the Bullocks bought there from 7 to 8 pounds a pair. The yearling heifers from 15 to 22 shillings a piece.
October 29th Went to Cemaes in the evening and bought some wood.
December 24th Wethers and ewes were killed both for my own use and also to distribute some to the poor.
January 25th A new friar kept today at Llannerchymedd, the first that ever was kept there on this day.
August 15th The Fair at Llannerchymedd proved the worst that ever has been known there, hardly any beast at all, being sold and the few that were at very low rates.
September 13th Toomorrow being Newborough Fair, abundance of cattle went from these parts to it, but the Drovers having bought the best cattle up and down the country, they’ll not buy many ( I am afraid ) in the fair.
February 3rd A poor market today at Llanfechell for flesh, there being only one veal in the market, but corn of all sorts, salt, bacon,eggs in abundance.
March 6th Sowed today onion seeds for the first time, paid Abraham Jones the shopkeeper of Llanfechell his shop bill of £2 16s.
July 30th Sent 6 oxen to Henblas to be in Aberffraw Fair tomorrow.
October 25th A very great Fair at Llanfechell and the greatest number of cattle as ever was there and a great many sold for good rates : 2 steers of 2 year old were sold there for six pounds and five shillings.
December 1st Paid 5d for …. Turnips at Llanfechell market today.
August 14th Llannerchymedd Fair today proved very good, the buying was frisk from 8 in the morning till 4 in the evening and good rates.
December 5th Paid 7d for 6 pairs of mucking Panniers.
June 3rd Walked about 11 to Cemaes to a Timber Fair, bought there 28 ash Boards for 10s 8d… and also 5d for 5 pairs of Turf Panniers and 6d for carrying them and paid 3d for ale.
August 6th 2 of my servants went with my cattle sold at Aberffraw Fair to Porthaethwy to meet a Drover.
February 6th A full Market today at Llanfechell, paid into the hands of Katherine Wms, Humphrey Mostyn’s wife 12s to buy me wine in Liverpool. Sold today 15d worth of Garden Beans in Llanfechell market.
March 27th A great market today at Llanfechell in flesh, fish, corn etc but the Butcher’s meat of all sorts was exceeding poor, cattle being almost starved…. Most people in this country having been forced to turn out their cattle already. (He believed that 1/3 of the cattle and horses of the country were by now dead because of lack of fodder due to the dry weather.)
August 1st Aberffraw Fair yesterday
October 16th A pretty full market today at Llanfechell; paid Shadrach Evans 15s for a side of Beef and the head
November 13th A pretty full market today at Llanfechell; paid 14s for 2 Gallons of butter against Winter use and 4s 6d for Herrings.
March 5th No Butcher’s meat today at Llanfechell market nor has there been any to speak of this 6 weeks, very little at Llannerchymedd and that poor and excessive dear, the 2 last severe winters having made all eatables very scarce and very dear.
April 14th Having killed a heifer against Easter holidays. I sent the Parson a sirloin, a brisket to Tom Morris of Rhydygroes and a Rump to Dick Wms of Carrog.
April 17th Today I first heard the Cuckoo this year and saw the first swallow.
June 17th A very poor Fair today at Llannerchymedd, there being but a very small number both of people and cattle. And paid 3d for turnips.
September 21st Llannerchymedd Fair proved very good and a great deal of buying. Paid a Flintshire smuggler that was came to Cemaes from the Isle of Man 25s for 5 gallons of French Brandy.
October 25th LLanfechell Fair proved very good, a great many cattle bought and good prices given , paid 6d for nuts.
February 14th Made little or no rain, tho it looked so like it that few people came to Llanfechell Fair today which was the poorest that ever I saw.
February 25th Paid 1s for a couple of Rabits, no flesh meat in Llanfechell Market this day.
October 14th The Fair at Porthaethwy yesterday was very poor, there not being a Drover there nor at Aberffraw the day before. (This as a result of a contagion that had raged in England. No fairs had been held in England for 2 years and Drovers were held up for long periods on their way to Wales.)
March 10th Delivered Gabriel Jones 10s 6d to buy me clover seeds in Wrexham Fair.
July 25th There was but a poor Fair today at Llanfechell, there being no cattle in it, gave 1s to a poor man that suffered by lapses from cattle.
October 25th A very dull Fair today at Llanfechell but very little buying. Paid 1s for apples and nuts for my people at Allsaints Eve.
June 17th Sent today ten Piggets of Rye to Cemaes to be put in the boat to go to Caernarvon by next Saturday market.
September 21st Abundance of cattle were today at Llannerchymedd Fair and a great many ….. heifers were bought there but at a lower price than usual and very few oxen of any kind were sold there.
March 17th Llanbadrick ‘Mabsant’ was kept on this day and also a sort of fair where cloath woollen and linen, shoes, hats etc were sold and abundance of people…. there, where servants of all sorts were hired.
June 14th Bangor Fair proved but indifferent and no great number sold. William Davies sold eight of my oxen for six pounds a piece, giving back 10s by way of gift and 8s 6d expenses in carrying them to the fair.
November 2nd The Fair at Llannerchymedd today proved but poor, few cattle being sold and those for small rates.,
February 14th A very dull Fair today at Llanfechell, where cloath, woollen and linen, hats, shoes, gloves … and also horses.
April 25th Llannerchymedd Fair proved a good one, but no great number of good cattle in it…. William Jones of Llandegvan bought my runts for 64 pounds.
June 6th A pretty good Fair today at Llannerchymedd, paid 2s 6d for a Carolina hat for Mrs Wms of Cemlyn’s Daughter who had the misfortune to loose her hat in my house last week.
July 25th The Fair at Llanfechell was as usuall well stocked with the countrey manufacturers, as cloath woollen and linen, hats shoes, stockings, gloves….
November 27th A small Fair for cattle today at Llanfechell …. Paid 1s 6d for 6 bull rush panels, 4d for fish and 1½d for shirt buttons.
February 26th Llanfechell Fair being kept on this day according to the old style (it falling on 25th but that was a Sunday) it was very full of people, and Pedlars’ wares.
March 14th Sold eight sheers to Samuel and Payne of Wrexham partners, for fifty three pounds and am to have the forty pounds upon the delivery of the cattle at Porthaethwy the 23rd of April next, gave them 1s to pay for the ferry.
July 2nd Paid Elizabeth Jones, Abraham Jones’ daughter who goes to Chester Fair 36 shillings to buy me sugars and other things, gave 1s charity to a poor neighbour that lost a cow.
November 5th A very full Fair today at Llanfechell of all sorts of cattle but little asking and fewer bought there in any Fair these 20 years.
May 6th Gave 6d to the servants that stood with my cattle at the Fair at Llannerchymedd today till they were sold and the drover took delivery of them.
April 4th This day being Llannerchymedd Fair. I was told that some impertinent busy fellow ordered it to be proclaimed that a Fair would be annually kept at Llanfechell of the First of May (WB did not agree as plenty of Fairs were already being held).
May 6th Paid Ellen Edward 7s of her winter’s wages…..and 6d given to servants that were hired today at Llannerchymedd Fair.
June 25th Bangor Fair today proved very good. Some cattle…. Sold there for 10s a piece.
November 26th The wind SW blowing fresh dark and cloudy and raining all the morning and the greatest part of the Evening and generally very hard, so that there was but a small Fair today at Llanfechell.
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