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Lighting up Loughborough to celebrate market's 800th anniversary

Published: Mon 15th February, 2021

  • New lights mark 800th anniversary of market's Royal Charter
    New lights mark 800th anniversary of market's Royal Charter

Commemorative lights have been installed in Loughborough as part of celebrations to mark 800 years since the town weekly market was given the Royal seal of approval.

In 1221, a young King Henry III granted a Royal Charter to Hugh Despenser, the Lord of the manor, to hold a weekly Thursday market and an annual fair in Loughborough.

Eight centuries later, the market and fair are operated by Charnwood Borough Council which is working with partners to mark the landmark year.

Specially made lights representing the market and the anniversary have been installed in the town centre. More lights will be installed later in the year to celebrate the fair's Royal Charter.

Cllr Jenny Bokor, lead member for Loughborough, said: “The installation of these lights is just one way we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the market and fair charters. It’s great to see the lights brightening up the town centre.

“We are immensely proud of Loughborough Market and Loughborough Fair as they have been an integral part of our town for eight centuries.”

The Council is working with a range of partners including Leicestershire County Council, Loughborough Local Studies Volunteers and Loughborough Library on the anniversary year celebrations. Charnwood Museum, Loughborough Town Hall and Community Curators will also be involved.

Other planned events and activities include:

  • A plaque in the town centre will mark the 800-year-milestone
  • The Our Market, Our Fair exhibition will feature at Charnwood Museum and Loughborough Library from July and will bring together historical records alongside personal modern-day connections to the market and fair
  • A Loughborough Fair exhibition will be hosted at Loughborough Town Hall in the Autumn
  • A series of features, photos and videos will capture the past, present and future of the market and fair and be shared on social media and other channels
  • Opportunities to tell the stories of the current market traders and showmen, some of whom have families which have been at Loughborough for several generations

The Council will be looking at other ways to commemorate the 800th anniversary but some events and plans may depend on Covid-19 restrictions.

Back in 1221, markets and fairs needed a Royal Charter to operate. King Henry III was only nine at the time of granting the charters for the market and fair in Loughborough and he reaffirmed them in 1227.

Today, the weekly retail market is held on Thursdays and Saturdays and there’s also a vintage market on a Friday. There are also other specialist markets.

Loughborough Fair is held every November. Approximately 100 individual show people attend each year, presenting between them some 20 large rides and numerous children's rides, games and novelty stalls and refreshments.

To keep up to date with the latest news on the celebrations, please visit

On Twitter, look out for the hashtag #LboroCharter800