"Scarborough Fair" was a traditional English fair, and is a traditional English ballad.
During the late Middle Ages the seaside town of Scarborough was an important venue for tradesmen from all over England. It was host to a huge 45-day trading event, starting August 15, which was exceptionally long for a fair in those times. Merchants came to it from all areas of England, Norway, Denmark, the Baltic states and the Byzantine Empire. Scarborough Fair originated from a charter granted by King Henry III of England on 22 January 1253. The charter, which gave Scarborough many privileges, stated "The Burgesses and their heirs forever may have a yearly fair in the Borough, to continue from the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary until the Feast of St Michael next following". (On the modern Roman Catholic calendar, the equivalent dates are August 15 to September 29.) Naturally, such a large occasion attracted a lot more than just tradesmen; they needed to be entertained and fed, therefore large crowds of buyers, sellers and pleasure-seekers attended the fair. Prices were determined by ‘Supply and demand’, with goods often being exchanged through the barter system. Records...