THE most important document in the history of Winsford has been uncovered in the National Archives.

The Royal Charter, passed by King Edward I in 1280, granted a weekly market and annual fair for the Borough of Over, in the area now occupied by Delamere Street.

The scroll fragment, written in Middle English, effectively founded the town of Winsford.

It was discovered buried deep within a thousand page document after an exhaustive treasure hunt by town councillors.

The ancient traditions spoken of in the charter will be re-enacted at this month’s salt fair – reinstating part of Winsford’s vanished history.

Mayor Steve Smith explained: “I have been aware of this charter existing for many years, as it continued to be celebrated until around 30 years ago by means of a funfair.”

It was thought that last remaining copy of the charter had been lost.

“It was frustrating for me, as I knew it existed but didn’t know where, and I didn’t want this part of Winsford’s history to be lost forever,” said Clr Smith.

Winsford Town Clr, Mark Baker, took up the hunt for the original document.

His search led him from the British Museum to the British Library, who advised the document had perhaps been lost during the intervening 732 years.

In a last ditch effort, Clr Baker visited London a final time, where he spoke directly to a researcher at the library.

The researcher called two weeks later, explaining the charter may be held in the national archives in Kew - where it was eventually found after months of searching.

The charter is written in Middle English – an extinct dialect spoken by a limited number of specialist historians.

It is known that the charter states that every year in September, the mayor should host a ‘feast of the fair’, commencing four subsequent days of festivity.

This ancient tradition will be re-enacted on September 12, when mayor Steve Smith, reads a fragment of the charter at the George and Dragon on Delamere Street at 6pm before a charity BBQ.

A Fun Fair will be held on the Dene Drive Car Park between Thursday 13 - Sunday 16 September.

The Salt Fair will also include exhibitions by Winsford History Society and camera club in the town centre between 10am-4pm Saturday, 12noon-4pm Sunday.

The fair concludes on Sunday 16 with a civic parade to the fun fair from the Lifestyle Centre at 10.30am.

The copy of the charter will be held in safekeeping by Winsford Town Council so the tradition can be re-enacted every year.

Further Salt Fair details can be found at


Other notable events in the year of Winsford’s charter:- 

Venetian merchant traveller, Marco Polo, serves in Yangzhou under Kublai Khan, modern day China.

The ‘second Domesday Book’ – the Hundred Rolls census – is completed in England and Wales.

The final expansion of Lincoln Cathedral is completed, England