Bampton Charter Fair

Poem About Bampton Fair

We have recently been made aware of a poem - or was it a song? - about Bampton Fair

From the book
(Original Studies of Rural Life in Devon and Cornwall in Verse and Prose)

by  W. Gregory Harris
Fourth Edition
Exeter:  Printed and Published by Besley and Dalgleish Ltd., South Street.   1908




Did’ee ever hear tell o’ Bampton Town?
O’ Bampton Town in the West Countree?
‘Tis a brave little place, ’pon the edge of the Down,
So quiet, an’ neat, and so quaint as can be.

Now wance a year the town do wake up,
An’ then all the streets is a zight vor to zee;
Wi’ thousands o’ ponies vrom Exmoor drove up,
An’ volks by the score so gay as can be,

Well, Varmer Menhennick, he went to the vair,
To Bampton Vair in the West Countree,
An’ there he did zell he’s ancient brown mare,
Eight poun, was enough I do reckon for she.

Now arter the varmer’d a zold thic’ old mare,
He was chuckin, vor want o’ zome zider to drink;
Zo away he did go to a booth in the vair,
While a Gipsy chap tips his companion the wink.

The zider were strong, an’ the weather were ‘ot,
The ‘oss jockeys knawed that their chance was a’ come,
For Varmer Menhennick had swallered a lot,
An’ ‘fore evenin’ come a’ was tight as a drum.

They shawed un a thoroughbred gallopin’ mare,
Her was marked ‘pon her ‘ind leg an’ ‘ead wi’ a star;
They told un he’d got quite the pick o’ the vair,
An’ he !   well, he’d clunked more than he cud well car.

Zo a bargain was struck – twenty poun’ was paid down,
The varmer jogged home along awver the moor,
‘Pon the back of the mare he’d a bought in the town;
How she carr’d un zo zafe t’was a miracle sure.

Nex day Jan comes up from the stable yard,
An’ says, “Measter, I thought thic’ old mare was a’ zold.”
Now Varmer is zober, an’ looks at un ‘ard-
“So her is, an’ her realized eight poun’ in gold.”

“I zold th’ old mare, an’ had zummat to drink,
An’ then I looks round to zee who was there.
When a genteel young chap comes an’ tips I the wink,
An’ offers to zell I a thoroughbred mare.”

“A buty her was, an’ he axed thirty poun’-
Her was marked ‘pon her ‘ind leg an’ ‘ead wi’ a star;
That vrisky, her scarcely cud keep veet to groun.
I bought her for twenty, an’ a buty she are.”

Then Jan he just smiles, an’ says he, “you’m tuk in”;
“T’is they that be zober does best to the vair.”
“What ‘ee main?” zaid the Varmer, an’ Jan wi’ a grin
Says “I’ve just washed thic’ white marks off our poor old mare!”

Our thanks to Mary Hoare for this. And of course, we'd love to hear from anyone who can shed any further light on the origins or earlier date for the poem.

#We have heard from Norma Paley who has suggested a date of 1888, where in the Oxford Journal references are made to the Poem “Bampton Fair”. It was recited by a Mr. Davey to which very much amused the company at a Dinner celebrating The Blenheim Estate Cricket Club’s first dinner at the Cock Inn, Combe. That could be this poem, or of course there may be another Fair poem concerned with Bampton in Oxfordshire!