Hampsthwaite Village Feast
Just about 700 years ago, Edward the 1st (ie 'Longshanks' or 'Hammer of the Scots') granted the Market Charter of Hampsthwaite, presumably as he journeyed south, a few years after returning home with the 'Stone of Destiny' and before going back to capture William Wallace and then have a 'bit of a do' with 'Robert the Bruce' (see the film 'Brave Heart' for more details)!
The charter called for a fair in Hampsthwaite every year lasting four days around the Translation of St. Thomas the Martyr (they knew how to party in 1304!).
Now, Hugh de Morville who was Constable of the Castle of Knaresborough at that time, murdered St Thomas in his Cathedral Church of Canterbury on 29th December 1170. Hugh is said to have built Hampsthwaite Church and dedicated it to the canonised priest as an act of penance (didn't do him any good - in 1173 his lands were forfeit to William de Stuteville and he had to do a penance of service in the Holy Land). When Beckett was canonised his body lay in the crypt for half a century until Tuesday 7th July 1220 - Tuesday was an important day for St Thomas.
So, at a time when clocks and calendars were in short supply (!) it was sensible to think of church festivals when choosing a suitable date for a fair and at this time, and in this area, the feast of St Thomas a'Beckett was bound to be a runner (this was used also to set the time of a market and a fair in Stockton-on-Tees). But what date is that - especially bearing in mind that calendars have changed since 1304? Two dates are offered as the Feast of St Thomas the Martyr : 7th July and 29th December.
The modern Hampsthwaite Village Feast is combined with the local Show. The 7th July is a bit early to show home-grown produce, and December is clearly too late. So what to do? At some time in the more recent past, and with a superb sense of compromise, it has been decided that the Hampsthwaite Village Feast shall always be the weekend following the 17th July. By happy coincidence, this is also usually the first weekend of the school holidays.