Preston’s annual fairs are mentioned in King John’s charter of 1208 which authorizes an eight-day annual fair in August and a second of three days in October. These were important regional events, a document of 1283 records that the Abbot of Chester sent men to the Preston fair to buy oxen and other animals. In 1685 a new charter authorized a three-day annual fair in March. [1] Bellingham, in his diary entries for August 1688 records the fair being opened on the 13th. He describes it variously as the beast fair and the horse fair, ‘There are great store of horses and black cattle, but very cheap …’ [2]

[1] Henry Fishwick, The History of the Parish of Preston (Rochdale: The Aldine Press, 1900), 18-19, 22, 59-60.
[2] Thomas Bellingham and Anthony Hewitson, Diary of Thomas Bellingham, an Officer under William III (Preston: Toulmin & Sons, 1908), http://archive.org/details/diaryofthomasbel00belluoft.