Sun shines on 22nd Clare Priory Craft Fair
Featuring 170 exhibitors, there was a huge range of crafts on display at the fair including blacksmithing, wood craft, leatherwork, textiles, ceramics, wooden furniture, metalwork, glassware, jewellery, lace-making and wool spinning.
Sunny and warm weather added to the success of the event. All proceeds from the fair - which have yet to be counted - will go towards the upkeep of the Grade 1 listed Priority and its church, and to local charities.
This year, visitors were offered free guided tours of the newly-extended church, which has won two architectural prizes.
Prior of Clare, Father David Middleton and two members of church extension committee, Steven Cubitt and Justin Blake James, led 30-minute tours of the extended church every hour.
Father David Middleton said: “From the start, one of the main purposes for setting up the craft fair in 1993 was to raise funds for the creation of a new church.
“Because of serious overcrowding, a free-standing contemporary extension has been built alongside and linked to the old church. The extended church is a striking combination of the historic and the modern, and I think that the new 21st century building actually increases our appreciation of the 14th century structure,” he added.
A new park and ride shuttle bus service from Clare Playing Fields proved a big success this year, helping with traffic around the Priory, and was only a short walk away through Clare Castle Country Park for those who wanted to walk to the fair.
Bernard Rushton, one of the volunteer organisers from the parish, said: “We always look forward to welcoming back all the exhibitors who have supported us for many years. They have become good friends. Some have been here every year since 1993.
Live music for the weekend included Essex-based Encore Harmony Singers. First-timers at Clare, they sang unaccompanied four-part close harmony around the Priory grounds between 12 and 4pm each day.