Ben Russett’s Orbiter at Glastonbury.

First Sunday opening for Glastonbury Tor Fair

Despite the international fame of the music festival held at Pilton a few miles to the east, the town of Glastonbury has a population of just 9,000, with the neighbouring town of Street two miles away boosting local numbers by another 12,000.

The annual Tor Charter Fair was born out of the draw of traders and merchants to the bottom of the Glastonbury Tor since mediaeval times, and this year marked the 895th fair since the granting of the charter.

Opening from Thursday 8 to Monday 12 September, the fair was well billed on all approaches and in the town centre.

On hearing the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty on the opening night, the fair promptly closed as a mark of respect. As a result, the first Sunday opening took place on September 11, from 3pm to 9pm.

Following an experiment by lessees Henry and Sarah Chipperfield to return the fair to St Johns car park in the town centre, last year the fair retuned to Herbies Field, a location just off the town’s bypass and only a short walk from the main streets.

This large field is level, and free parking is available in the adjacent field.

The pull-on was in wet weather, but the sun was shining during our Saturday afternoon visit, where trade was reported to be down a little on last year.


It was a pay as you go fair, and the quality of the attractions made it look most appealing.  There was a return visit for Mark and Dale Manders’ towering big hitter, Inversion Rock Rage, which made a great impression just inside the gate.

Hampshire Showman Ben Russet was making a rare visit to Somerset with his smart Orbiter ride, purchased earlier in the year from Colin DeVey. Ben is very pleased with the machine, which is creating interest in its new locations.

Western Section Guild committee member, Thomas Stevens, was sadly missed on the ground, having passed away earlier in the year. Thomas and his late wife Janice were very popular regular tenants at Glastonbury for many years.

Key attractions at Glastonbury Tor Fair included:

  • Dale & Mark Manders’ Inversion Rock Rage
  • Ben Russet’s Orbiter
  • Edward Stokes’ dodgem and Sizzler Twist
  • and Lee Matthews’ waltzer.

In support was a good selection of juveniles, games and catering, and other tenants included Adrian & Lehane Herbert and Maxi Smart and family.

Main photo: Ben Russett’s Orbiter at Glastonbury.

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