Silence of the Lammas

Small ferris wheel beside church building.
An interesting juxtaposition of church building with the Incredible Hulk’s face.

It’s the Lammas Fair in St Andrews just now. Which means that the shows (the fun fair) are in town and currently blocking up South Street, Church Street and Market Street.

It was an eerie walk to work on Friday and this morning, silently walking in between the closed show stalls, with only the occasional human voice heard in the distance, and the caw of seagulls overhead: the Silence of the Lammas. I felt like I was in an episode of Scooby Doo.

I’m a bit “Bah! Humbug!” when it comes to the shows. Being (mostly) an introvert I honestly can’t see what the excitement is all about with fairground rides. I can’t see anything there that would give me any more excitement than a quiet night in with a good book and a metal CD on the stereo! For me there are better ways to waste my money.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

4 thoughts on “Silence of the Lammas”

  1. Having been born and brought up in St Andrews with the Lammas Market to give its right name not (Fair). I see you are a “Bah Humbug” when it comes to the shows. But do you know the history of the Lammas. I guess not maybe you should watch my documentary DVD about The Lammas Market that I made in 2005.

    St Andrews held 5 markets in the middleages, today only ONE remains: The Lammas Market. The Lammas as the locals call it is the oldest surviving mediaeval street market in Scotland. All 5 markets was given Royal permission from King Malcolm in 1153 to be held on holydays for the church’s calender of Saints Day.

    King James I and VI granted a charter in 1620 and this was confirmed by a act of the Scottish Parliament of Charles 1.

    The markets would sell silk, carpets, etc. The 1st of August was the Lammas Market the feast of ST PETER. The market is now held on the 2nd Monday in August after losing the religious side; by 1870 the trading had stopped and the Lammas Market became a funfair.

    But being a Priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church you should know all of this so why have you not said it ?????

  2. Thanks for the potted history “A.J.S.Funfair Video Productions”, that’s really interesting. I was unaware of the history of the Lammas markets; it wasn’t taught in ecclesiastical history or at theological college.

    Being held in August, I never got to experience the Lammas Market while I was a student in St Andrews; this week was my first taste of it.

    Now, I love markets — full of life, and variety and excitement. But there appears to me to be no market, in the proper sense, now-a-days. Just the shows. Which I personally think are a complete waste of money.

    While Lammas Market may be the historically correct term, it seems to me to be a Lammas Fair now — as in ‘fun fair’ — which is why I called it that.

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