Mudcat Café message #2343508 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111333   Message #2343508
Posted By: The Sandman
18-May-08 - 08:21 AM
Thread Name: Scarborough Fair
Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
The history of Scarborough and its fair
This English folk song dates back to late medieval times, when the seaside resort of Scarborough was an important venue for tradesmen from all over England. Founded well over a thousand years ago as Skarthaborg by the norman Skartha, the Viking settlement in North Yorkshire in the north-west of England became a very important port as the dark ages drew to a close.

Scarborough's bay


Scarborough and its surroundings
Scarborough Fair was not a fair as we know it today (although it attracted jesters and jugglers) but a huge forty-five day trading event, starting August fifteen, which was exceptionally long for a fair in those days. People from all over England, and even some from the continent, came to Scarborough to do their business. As eventually the harbour started to decline, so did the fair, and Scarborough is a quiet, small town now.

Back to index


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The history of the song
In the middle ages, people didn't usually take credit for songs or other works of art they made, so the writer of Scarborough Fair is unknown. The song was sung by bards (or shapers, as they were known in medieval England) who went from town to town, and as they heard the song and took it with them to another town, the lyrics and arrangements changed. This is why today there are many versions of Scarborough Fair, and there are dozens of ways in which the words have been written down.