Can you help track down Corby Pole Fair film for 2022 extravaganza?

The Pole Fair happens every 20 years and the next one will take place in 2022

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 20th August 2020, 3:20 pm

The team planning the Corby's 2022 Pole Fair are asking people to search their lofts and drawers for films and videos of previous events to be used in a special preview documentary.

Film makers Judy Caine and Paul Balmer from HD Media have appealed for anyone with original footage of the historic fair or with anyone who has played a key role in the past to to come forward.

The traditional Old Village gathering is said to have been celebrated in some form for over a thousand years and the 2022 extravaganza will have £35,000 of National Lottery money to put on Corby Pole Fair 2022.

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Judy said: "We are making a film that will contain all known archive footage about the Corby Pole Fair. We have been given a DVD containing four minutes of film footage from 1962 but we've been informed that someone in Corby has the original 8mm film, which would be better quality and possibly longer.

"We would also like to track down any family members related to Willy Keeley – the gentleman who used to ride the Penny Farthing at the Pole Fairs."

Numerous traditions take place at every fair, including a peel of bells rung by St John the Baptist Church, a dawn parade with a reading of the town's charter, floral gateways to the old village and a greasy pole competition.

At the celebration, every person entering the village has to pay a small toll or face the stocks. Previous fairs have also included markets, performances, historical re-enactments and a large fun fair.

Corby Pole Fair 1982

In March 2021, a documentary featuring cine film, old news reels and home videos of the fair down the ages will be shown at The Savoy Cinema.

Paul said: "I have film from every fair from 1947 onwards but if anyone has any footage we could use that we would welcome it.

"We will be filming interviews at Rockingham Castle in the Great Hall where there is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I.

"There are several people in their 70s, 80s and 90s who have been to three or four events.

Corby Pole Fair 1947

"I will be recording appropriate music played on renaissance guitar. I found out that Queen Elizabeth owned three guitars and it seems likey that she played."

To help contact [email protected] or call 01536 267895 and leave a message.

The Pole Fair was granted to the people of Corby - Corbei as it was then known - in a charter in 1585 by Elizabeth I.

Landowners in Corbei were exempted from:

• 'Pignnage' - a tax that was paid to allow local people to feed their pigs on fallen acorns in Rockingham Forest.

• 'Murage' - a tax to maintain and build walls at Rockingham Castle.

• 'Passage' - Corbei men could pass through toll gates throughout England without having to pay.

• Contributing to the expenses of the Member of Parliament for the area.

• Jury service.

• The right for local men to refuse to serve in the local militia.

Historians have sugested two reasons for the Pole Fair. The less romantic version being the charter was granted in return for payment to the reigning monarch.

Other version claims that Elizabeth I whislt hunting in Rockingham Forest, became lost, and was thrown from her horse into a marsh.

Villagers from Corbei rushed to help her allegedly saying "Corbei God Bless You" granting the village the charter in thanks.