an early start on Rowell Fair Monday (the day after Trinity Sunday)
for this retired Primary School headteacher.
Robert Denton and his followers gather in Rothwell soon after 5.00am
for their pre-breakfast pub crawl.
Robert, in full morning suit, mounts a shire horse and proceeds
to the nearest pub. A brass band leads the way and he's surrounded
by a bodyguard of halberdiers.
"Would you believe it," says Robert, "that years
ago the bailiff was the official beer taster for the Lord of the
former bailiff rides to the next pub
the bailiff's tipple on Rowell Fair Monday is an equal measure of
milk and rum - repeated at every pub in the town, and also at the
site of every former pub.
after we've had breakfast, we go round again to say thank you to
all the pubs, so by the time I finish, I reckon I've had between
20 and 30 rum and milks" is Robert's boast.
hardly believe it, but I reckon I drink myself through it. Whether
it's the milk that emulsifies the rum, I don't know, but I feel
fine until I go home, which is usually about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
I then zonk out until the evening."
And there's no danger of falling off the horse: "It's about
four feet across - you'd have a job to fall off it really!"
to the Lord of the Manor, Robert Denton
was appointed bailiff by the Lord of the Manor. The current Lord
is actually a woman from the nearby village of Thorpe Malsor called
Zandra Powell. The manorial title has been in her family for nearly
the bailiff would have gone round and collected the taxes for the
Lord of the Manor," explains Robert. "And to some extent,
I do the same because I organise the fair then later on in the week
I go around and collect the rents from them and pass on the rents
to the Lord of the Manor." The profits are normally donated
Robert, the 800-year-old fair is important to local people: "It
gives the town a great sense of citizenship. There's very much a
civic pride in Rothwell.
the fair has been going for this long, I think we're duty bound
to push it towards 1,000."
to an interview with Robert Denton
(Realplayer 56k, 4'30")