Fairs and markets
took place at market towns and villages, and would last for several
days, sometimes weeks. Booths were erected in the streets, and people
from all around came for finery and ornaments, to make themselves
the "observed" of all observers in their small community.
In Harrold on Sunday afternoons after morning
service, people would assemble on The Green and play at quoits or
football. But the favourite and most dignified sport was archery.
Every village had its crack shots, with either the long or the cross
bow, and on May-Day the archers from several villages around would
meet at some suitable spot, such as the slopes below Chellington
Church, to contend in a championship.
To these contests came not only Sir Ralph
Morin and his family, but the Wahulls, Lords of Odell, and the Pabenhams,
from Pavenham. It was thought well to encourage this sport, for
archers were indispensable in warfare, and English archers were
renowned for their strength and skill. The crowning feat was to
split a willow wand at a distance of fifty paces. After the shooting
there were games, quarter staff, morris dancing, and jigs, and all
Harrold Green has been used for many events
and functions over the years, more recently for the Merrie England
Fayre and other village gatherings. It provides the distinction
for Harrold of being the noted centre for the village.
The 18th century Market House, or "Buttermarket"
stands as an architectural and historical landmark, as does the
circular "Lock-up" or prison, built in 1824, which has provided
custody for villains for a night, or to stand trial, and more recently,
in 1967, the voluntary two-day incarceration of Georgie Knight,
for a wager.