Some 160 exhibitors displayed 140 different artisan crafts of high quality in the 14th century Priory and its eight acres of grounds. Refreshments available included artisan breads and cheeses, Indian cuisine, locally produced spirits and ales, cakes and a superb traditional English breakfast, burgers and sausages.
The family entertainment included Punch and Judy, Morris Dancing, a magician, barber’s shop quartet and popular live music. Radio Suffolk broadcast the event live on Sunday morning with Parish Priest, Fr David Middleton, Robin Hughes, one of the Craft Fair organisers and eight exhibitors being interviewed. In addition, TV cameras filmed the whole weekend for a future TV programme.
“Some of the exhibitors and visitors have been attending for over 25 years since the craft fair was started,” said Fr David. “The Craft Fair weekend is a special time in Clare Priory’s year. As a retreat house and a parish, we have visitors all the time but never in such numbers. The Craft Fair is always a tremendous draw because of the range and quality of exhibits, and the friendly family atmosphere and the fun. It is such a happy weekend.”
The money raised from the Craft Fair goes to a number of local charities, including St Nicholas Hospice, East Anglian Children’s Hospice, Clare Playing Fields, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Clare Seekers, Cavendish Care, CLASP (Clare Liaison & Support Project), Bridge Project, St Clare Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Trust, The Christopher Centre, One World Group and the Reach Foodbank.
“There was a great response to the invitation to tour the award-winning church,” said Auriol Lamb Cubitt, one of the guides. “The tours went very well on both days, with a real interest in the history of The Priory and the building of the Church.”
Pictured above is Morris dancing at the Clare Priory Craft Fair.