Tavistock Goose Fair is one of the
best known events in Devon and one with a rich and colourful
history. In this book, journalist and fairground historian, Guy
Belshaw, reveals some of the secrets of the fair's past. He also
relates the background to the Rowland family, whose amusements have
been prominent at Tavistock for over a century. From Tom Rowland, a
stout but genial man, and his wife, 'One-eyed' Betsy, to the present
generation, the family is known throughout the West Country.
Once visitors to the fair could
indulge in all manner of entertainment, much of which would be
unacceptable by today's standards. It was an important agricultural
event, with the sale of cattle, horses and, of course, geese.
Over the years it has changed in
its nature, but even today it has an atmosphere all of its own as
the street traders and travelling showmen stage the annual event for
the entertainment of the people of Tavistock and its environs.