LAST weekend brought the return of the Rayleigh Fair, an event which saw revellers turn out in their thousands to enjoy live music, games, dancing, food and entertainment.

The first Rayleigh fair was known as the Trinity Fair and began in 1227. Trinity Fairs were traditionally held on Trinity Monday - the day after Trinity Sunday which was always the eighth Sunday after Easter.

From historical documents we know that a large cattle fair was held in Rayleigh during the late 1800s at the same time as the fair. We also know than the fair was shut down in 1899 because it was considered to have become too rowdy.

In fact the Essex Records Office has many documents relating to the fair’s demise, including letters from concerned residents and business owners asking for it to be closed.

These photos come from an exhibition currently on display at the Rayleigh Town Museum, which focuses on fetes, fairs and carnivals held in Rayleigh over the years.

The museum, in High Street Rayleigh, is open on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm. Entry is free.