Berkhamsted Market Fund also Known as Berkhamsted Market

Berkhamsted Market Fund (Registered Charity Number 278458)

Charitable Objects: The Trust’s objects are the upkeep and maintenance of the property ofthe Berkhamsted Town Hall Trust, another registered charity.

Brief history:The Trust was established under a Scheme of Trust dated 8th May 1979 and amended by an order of the Charity Commission dated 22nd January 1997. The Trust is the present owner of the rights to control trading on the Berkhamsted market place. The rights, which are prescriptive (that is unwritten), have been in existence since Saxon times. The market place consists of the footways on both sides of the High Street from St. Peter’s Church to Sayers Almshouses. The income from the market place, after meeting the market expenses, is paid in full to the Berkhamsted Town Hall Trust in accordance with the above objects.

Our Market History

There is always a Saturday market, a ‘prescriptive’ right established in Saxon times and is probably linked with the founding of Berkhamsted as a Saxon Borough (or fortified garrison).

The Saturday Market
The Saturday Market

The date is unknown but likely to have been in the 10th century. It was the policy of the Saxons that all retail trade should be conducted at markets; and it seems that all Saxon Boroughs had markets. Scant records are available but the the General market, now held on Saturday, was originally held on Sunday. On May 1218 it changed to Monday.

About 1800, the Monday market moved to Saturday. This information is found in trade directories which were published irregularly, so no date for the change is known.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, specialist markets were held on other weekdays. It was not until the 21st century (French market June 2003) that a Sunday market was again held—the first since 1218.

© Ken Sherwood 2004

The Market Fund is a separate charitable trust that is required to donate all its surpluses to Berkhamsted Town Hall Trust.

Its offices are at the Town Hall. Registered Charity number 278458.

Two trustees are appointed by Berkhamsted Town Council and four trustees by the Town Hall Trust.

In September 2012 the Wednesday Market became a welcome addition to the markets held on the High Street.