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Cambridge University Library


Also known as Stir-bitch, Stirbritch and Sturbridge, an annual fair held in September on Stourbridge Common from the 12th to 20th centuries. From 1589 to 1855 the University had extensive markets authority over goods sold and entertainments offered, offending tradespeople frequently being tried on site by the University Commissary in his 'Pie Powder Court' held in the Proctors' Booth. The inspiration for Vanity Fair in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1678); visited by Daniel Defoe in 1722 and described in A tour through the whole island of Great Britain (1724-6).