The Dengie 100 has a long tradition in holding markets and fairs .

A survey in 1575 recorded markets in 6 locations within the district although they all appear to have ceased between 1800 and 1863.

The three major marketplaces in the district were Bradwell on sea, Burnham on Crouch and Southminster with fairs at Bradwell on Sea and Burnham on Crouch.


 Bradwell on Sea

Bradwell on Sea was granted a charter on 2 May 1283 by King Edward 1 to John de la Mare allowing a market to be held at the Manor on Mondays. At the same time Royal approval was given to holding fairs at the Manor to mark the nativity of John the Baptist on 24 June and Peter ad Vincula on 1 August.

Bradwell market was so successful that the organiser of the market at Southminster unsuccessfully complained to the King in 1285 that the viability of Southminster market was being threatened by the Bradwell market even though it was held on a different day.

Burnham on Crouch

Burnham on Crouch was granted a charter for its market on 22 October 1253 by King Henry 3rd to Walter FitzRobert for a market to be held at the Manor on Tuesdays. At the same time Royal approval was given for a fait to be held at the Manor to mark the exaltation of the Holy Cross on 14 September.

A further annual market was approved in 1348 to be held annually on 25 April and a toy market was held on 21 and 22 September each year although in 1788 the fair was shown as being held on 4 September.


A market was first recorded in Southminster on 5 November 1218, when it was run by the Bishop Of London at the Manor. The market was in place before that date as the record of recognises the change of market day from Monday to Thursday. This makes it the earliest recorded market in the Dengie 100.

The tradition of Southminster was further upheld when a livestock and general market was established in 1902 every Tuesday to marked the fine local produce of the fertile region . Unfortunately the market closed in 1937 leaving only the auction house run by E J Gale in Station Road.

3 days before Easter

9 days before Whitsunday

St Michaels 29 September for toys

Other markets

Latchingdon on June 2 for toys

Tillingham Whit Tuesday and September 16 for toys

Purleigh Whit Tuesday for toys

Steeple- Wednesday in Whitsun week and the Wednesday after St Michaels Day (sep 29) for toys

 Ostend - June 6

Althorne held a toy market annually on 5 June.

The 1871 Fairs Act marked closure for our fairs

In the middle ages fairs were important to the peasant and their betters as almost the only source of entertainment to break the monotony of long days in their master's fields.
As time went on fairs diversified with some  becoming livestock or trade specific orientated and some developing pleasure themes but they all had commerce at their centre with both local traders and visiting fairs men making money from the fair.
By the mid 1800's the gentry had many other ways to take their pleasure which left fairs to the working classes.
In rural Essex things were still little changed which meant that fairs were still very popular with the working classes and as such were celebrated often with plenty of beer which led to boisterous behaviour.
This was accompanied by a more puritanical attitude amongst most clergy and the gentry who seized on the unseemly behaviour as a reason to oppose the annual fairs.
Closure was not possible as most of the fairs had been established by  Royal Charter so a campaign started which led to the 1871 Fairs Act that gave the power to the courts to close fairs if they were 'the cause of serious immorality and were very injurious to the inhabitants of the town'.
Despite being very unpopular with the people applications were made by influential members of local communities and all over Essex fairs were closed.
The application to close Burnham fair was opposed by a petition signed by over 500 residents but although the closure petition was much smaller it was signed by most of the prominent residents which obviously swayed the court decision.
The locals reluctantly accepted the decision although a number of people gathers on the day that the fair should have been held in 1873.
Bradwell on Sea was closed on 16 April 1872, Burnham on Crouch was closed on 25 April 1872, Southminster on 5 April 1872 and Tillingham on 16 April 1872.

Markets and Fairs Today

Although no street markets exist within the area today a monthly farmers market in Burnham on Crouch continues the tradition.

Fairs continues with large and popular fairs being held as part of Southminster Flower Show in mid July and Burnham Carnival in late September.