Origins of the Newent Onion Fayre
Originally known as Noent, Newent was already a sizeable town at the time of the Norman Conquest and was mentioned in the Domesday Book. By the 13th century, Noent was part of a manor belonging to the Abbey of Cormeilles in Normandy and King Henry III granted the town a market and two annual fayres by charter. With two more annual fairs granted by James 1st, by the end of 17th century Newent was a well established thriving market town with a weekly market and four annual fairs.
Originally, the September fair dealt mostly in sheep, but by the end of the 18th century this fair was the only one of the annual fairs to have survived and was now trading onions. There were onion fairs all over the country at this time and Newent Onion Fayre rose to such importance that the price of onions at Newent was used to set the onion price over a wide area, including South Wales, Gloucester and even Birmingham (the largest onion fair in the country!).
The Newent Onion Fayre survived to the early part of the twentieth century when, unfortunately, the war years saw its demise. However in 1996 the Fayre a group of local people set to work and Newent Onion Fayre was revived as a festival to celebrate local food and drink. The merriment now attracts almost 15,000 visitors each year and is a fantastic crowd-pulling national event.
With lots of live music, entertainment, food and drink, plus over 150 stands, exhibitions, children's events and not forgetting THE ONE AND ONLY NEWENT ONION SHOW!
It has become the largest one-day free to enter festival in the whole of Gloucestershire and the only National Festival to celebrate the MAGNIFICENT ONION!
Our treasurer Peter Pain has been researching the history of the Onion Fayre. Click here to find out more.
In 2016 Newent Onion Fayre was presented with the
AMBASSADORS FOR NEWENT AWARD
for the outstanding work of the committee and helpers
In 2013 the Fayre was awarded the Smelliest Cheese
award for the most unusual and crazy Fayre of the year.