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Strata Florida monks' Fair of the Holy Rood gallops back into the present with horse sales and wrestling.

A TWELFTH-century horse fair originated by the monks of Strata Florida will be revived next Saturday.

Known as the Fair of the Holy Rood, it was held for the last time 52 years ago. It continued for a few years as a fun fair before disappearing altogether.

Two local businessmen, Non Jones and Henry Bulman, spurred by the success of the nearby Tregaron Horse Trotting Meetings, have now decided to revive the fair using the recently reopened Pontrhydfendigaid Pavilion as the selling venue.

Over five dozen horses, some of them from as far as Canada, are expected to go under the hammer. The horses will be stabled overnight in portable stables with the sale commencing at noon on Saturday.

The fair will be a two-day event opening on Friday night with a programme of wrestling, promoted by Orig Williams, known professionally as El Bandito. The highlight of the show is expected to be the appearance of the Celtic Warrior, who stands six foot seven. A carpenter by trade, he is otherwise known as Barrie Griffiths from Porthmadog.

The programme will also include the Royal Rumble, involving ten wrestlers in the ring together. A disco will follow.

On Saturday the horse fair will include a fun fair and various stalls and there will be a mountain bike race in the afternoon. The evening highlight will be a concert headlined by Bryn F'n.

The fair was originally held on Gelli Gron, above the site of the first Strata Florida Abbey in the twelfth century. When the abbey was later moved to the banks of the Teifi, the fair - where the monks also sold their wares - moved to Ffair Rhos. It later moved down to Pontrhydfendigaid to became one of Cardiganshire's premier horse fairs.

The fair was one of three held annually by the monks of Strata Florida and fell on September 25. It is now hoped that it will again become an annual event.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Sep 25, 2007
Words:322
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