One of the many attractions at Overton’s Two day Millennium Sheepfair were the Mummers.
All about Overton's Millennium Sheepfair.
(from the official programme)
The Sheepfair is here at last - our two day event from 11am to 5pm on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th July. Preparations are complete, and fingers are crossed that the weather will be on our side - gentle sun, and a cooling breeze for six hours.
Why a Sheepfair, Why Overton?
Overton is our unique village - over eight hundred years of history, with Bridge Street, Red Lion Lane and Winchester Street all in place since 1200. It sits across the finest trout stream in England and has hosted its sheepfair, or its like, since the early l3th Century. The Andover Advertiser tells us that at its peak in the 1880's Overton penned 80,000 sheep each July, mainly in Dellands and Red Lion Lane. You'll get a taste of the past, when James Crosbie Dawson herds his sheep from Northington across the main road at about 10.45am on both days before the opening. There will be a permanent fold of Hampshire Down and South Down sheep in place all day in Winchester Street and next to them will be a small pen of mini-goats and sheep kindly loaned from Cholderton Rare Breeds for children to come in and pat. There will also be a
selection of farmyard animals outside the Community Centre.
Famous for Anything Else?
The Overton Mummers have been part of our history for centuries in their strange costumes of shredded paper with hats shrouding their faces. You could call them the Town Criers of mediaeval days, but `Johnny Jack's Play is a typical "green man" story where the old year dies and the new year is brought to life. Tom Hanley has also brought the Mummers back to life and we hope you enjoy the noise and the mayhem each afternoon.
We are lucky indeed that a large percentage of the costs has been underwritten by Portals to which Overton mainly owes its existence and success as an "industrial" village. We are most grateful to Portals management for their generous initiative.
All receipts after expenses are paid, will be totally shared among Overton's good causes, in particular the Community Centre's refurbishment, and Overton Primary School. In addition, many of the stalls are organised by Overton Clubs and Societies which will benefit from your generosity.