The Horse Market
This was the part of the town where horses were sold, as the fields provided enough space for prospective buyers to try out their purchases. Cattle and sheep were sold in High Street and pigs in the Back Lane. The area called the Horse Market extended from the far end of Market Street to where the Post Office now is.
Did you know?
The horse market commenced at the same time every week, beginning on the chime of the town clock.
The market was also used to trade and sell other animals such as Cattle, Sheep and Pigs.
The horses were walked in a ring for perspective buyers to view them either before or after the horse run.
The horses were led to a narrow run with spectators down each side and set to run to show their fitness and worth
The Full Story…
An eye witness account of the market, author unknown.
Now the market clock chimes and the sale begins.
What was just now simply a bustling, chattering mob is now a perfect babble. The farmer with a old horse to sell eagerly unties the halter from the rails and yells at the poor, tame beast, and twitches its mouth, and otherwise drags it along so that latent spark of pluck remaining to the outraged animal may be roused and exhibited, the farmer meanwhile exclaiming “Who-o-o blood! Who-o-o, then! Gently, gently!” for the edification of some shy, half-resolved purchaser whom the farmed has his eye on, and who is anxious to secure, as are all seekers of their “first horse” an animal of spirit.
Hi! Hi! Clear the road, the animals are about to be run to show their mettle. This is one of the most singular parts of the entire business. An avenue is formed of about ten yards wide and a hundred long, flanked on either side by spectators. Within the avenue are the running horses and asses, and the men who, clutching them by the halter, at once guide and haul them along. But these other men in the running lane, where they come from or who pays them I know not; but you may meet them week by week going to the market, and you find them at the market, with no other goods than a capacious mouth for yelling. Distributing themselves among the horses being shown, their business seems to be to wave and shout in the loudest fashion. The road being a hundred yards long, and the shouters certainly not more than ten yards apart, wooden indeed must the beast be that could not be urged into a trot when faced with such frighteningly unfamiliar sights and sounds.