Combining the traditions of 1066 and all that with our modern predilection for lists, we can probably guess that King John was a Bad King and near the top of any Top 10 Worst British/English Kings in History, in most people’s eyes. But one corner of the Chilterns has reason to be grateful to him.
For it was John, in 1200 at the request of Geoffrey, earl of Essex, who granted the right for Amersham to hold a weekly market and an annual fair. The weekly market enabled locals to stock up on the basics they needed for everyday living. The annual fair saw merchants from further across England, and sometimes beyond, offer more exotic wares such as perfumes, handicraft, furs and the types of fruit which might not be available all the time (such as oranges).
If you wander into Amersham’s Garden of Remembrance, you can find a splendid reminder of this in the form of a floral tribute to 800 years of Amersham history: a joint venture by Amersham Town Council, Chesham Bois boy scouts and other volunteers. The building depicted in flowers in the photo is the Market Hall, built in 1682 and now Grade II listed. The Ferris wheel is a reminder of the more light-hearted aspects of the annual event – all the fun of the fair!