|This allowed London traders to send goods by sea to King's Lynn and by barge down the river Cam for off-loading at the fair, and "Sturbridge" became the largest fair in Europe, selling everything imaginable. This was no doubt the fair referred to by John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress, as Vanity Fair in 1678. Large fairs attracted all classes of people as they mingled around the stalls. Samuel Pepys and John Bunyan paid visits, as did Isaac Newton in 1665, when he purchased a copy of Euclid's Elements which he used to teach himself mathematics.|
Spring and Autumn cattle fairs were general, until markets and auction marts replaced them. Hides and skins were always for sale at fairs. The fairs were established by King's charter normally granted to the Church, and were often held on Saint's days and named accordingly; St. Giles at Oxford, St.Botolph's at Boston, St. Faith's at Norwich, St. Bartholmew's in London were large affairs. Some lasted into the twentieth century like Barnet, which ended in 1952 after 400 years, selling 620 horses when it finally closed. Other great fairs like Stourbridge declined earlier and closed in the mid 1800's.