Home / Food & Drink / Uppingham Christmas Fatstock Show: a great Rutland tradition


If you’re looking for old Rutland traditions, look no further: the annual Uppingham Christmas Fatstock Show is this year held in the town’s Market Place on Wednesday 30 November 2016.

This is a unique event, and – so my friend Andrew Leech of local auctioneers & chartered surveyors Richardson tells me – has been cancelled only by the intervention of war and two national ‘foot and mouth’ outbreaks.  It’s unique in being the only event of its kind still held in the market square of a town, in temporary pens.

Scene from 2015 Show (courtesy of Andrew Leech)

Scene from 2015 Show (courtesy of Andrew Leech/Uppingham Fatstock Show Society)

Uppingham’s weekly fatstock market sadly ended in 1954, but the annual Fatstock Show carried on and is one of the most prestigious events in the town’s calendar.  There is much farming pride, competitive spirit and gossip, as well as the classes for cattle, sheep and pigs.

The Market Place is cleared on the evening before the show and the temporary penning erected where cars would normally park. Freshly bathed and brushed beasts arrive from 7am and judging takes place at about 10am.

For 2016 I believe there are 157 sheep entered plus 22 cattle and 22 pigs! That’s a lot of wool, legs of lamb, fillet steaks and streaky bacon… not to mention a lot of muck, no doubt (wear your wellies).

Prizes are awarded and the presentation of challenge cups and special prizes take place at approximately 11.30am, followed by a public auction of the pigs and sheep.

The entire show is cleared – pens, straw and … muck – by the end of the day, because Thursday is Uppingham’s Late Night Christmas Shopping Event.  All this effort is no mean feat and a credit to the Fatstock Show team (who, by the way, also donate and erect the lovely Christmas tree that is the centrepiece of Uppingham’s Christmas lights each year).

So set the alarm on Wednesday 30 November, and come on down to the Show: it’s the start of Christmas in Uppingham!

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