Culture of Ely

Annual fairs have been held in Ely since the twelfth century. Saint Audrey's (Etheldreda's) seven-day fair, held either side of 23 June, was first granted officially by Henry I to the abbot and convent on 10 October 1189. At this fair, cheap necklaces, made from brightly coloured silk, were sold—these were called "tawdry lace". "Tawdry", a corruption of "Saint Audrey", now means "pertaining to the nature of cheap and gaudy finery". Two other fairs, the 15 day festival of St Lambert, first granted in 1312 and the 22 day fair beginning on the Vigil of the Ascension, first granted