Mop fair

The October Fair has a long history in Ledbury. Originally a mop fair was for hiring workers. Mop fairs date from when Edward III wanted to regulate the labour market in 1351 at a time of shortage after the Black Death. Farm workers, labourers, servants and craftsmen would work for their employer from October to October. At the end of employment they would attend the mop fair dressed in their best clothes and carrying an item signifying their trade. A tassel worn on the lapel, the emblem of the employee’s trade, was known as a ‘mop’. The employer would give the employee a small token of money and the employee would remove the emblem and wear bright ribbons to indicate they had been hired.