Gypsy Roma Traveller Leeds
The permanent site of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Communities
Lee Fair is the oldest chartered fair in the country dating from 1136. Gypsies first went to the fair in the 1540's and have been supporting it ever since.
Lee Fair is held in the parish of Woodkirk in West Ardsley. The first Gypsies came to the Fair in the 1540's and have supported the Fair every year where families traditionally meet up.
'The owner of Woodkirk Garage, the Thwaites had a friend who went to run a hotel in Torquay in the 1960's. He had this old painting of Lee Gap Fair and took it with him. I went down there many years and got this photograph taken of the painting so it would not be lost. We don't know who painted it and even the Art Gallery in Leeds couldn't help trace it.'
'David Atkinson did this copy in the 1960's. It is a copy of the Woodkirk and West Ardsley Map made during the survey of 1735 by Williams Sikes for the Rt. Honourable, George, Earl of Cardigan, who owned this land at the time.'
'This was taken on August Fair day in 1908. You can tell that because they are just building the Sunday School at Westerton Church and it has the date on the building. The Fair used to take place on this field before the road was built.
'The common land was sold off in 1729 and then they got Westerton Road through and the Fair used to take place in the field on the right, which is called Fair Field.
'There used to be a big well there and the farmers and the horse traders used to water the horses as they said it had medicinal powers and cured the animals.'
'David Atkinson took this photograph in 1965 and it shows Tom Gomersal's house, which was built on the site of the old White Horse Public House. Families used to set up camp here when visiting the Fair as they had done for hundreds of years.'
'I took this photograph from outside my house as these young Travellers were heading to the Fair.'
This page is transcribed from a conversation between Peter Saunders of the Gypsy Roma Traveller Achievement Service and Peter Aldred, who also supplied the images.