Situated at the very heart of the historic town of Tavistock is the ancient Pannier Market, one of the hidden gems of Tavistock. The Market was granted its Royal Charter in 1105 and has survived without a break for over 900 years.
The town received its Market Charter from Henry I in 1105 and the town prospered from its weekly markets, being the centre of a large farming district.
The town's Market used to be held in Bank Square, now a car park, but in 1860 the Seventh Duke of Bedford moved the River Tavy sideways and built a magnificent Market Hall surrounded by delightful small shops.
It is not difficult to imagine similar protestations then to those we now hear about a proposed new supermarket and, indeed, that is exactly what this beautiful Pannier Market was all those years ago. There would have been horses, asses and ponies with panniers (big baskets) tethered to the many rings still to be seen in the building.
The surrounding villagers and townsfolk would come every Friday to purchase their weekly shopping, the wealthy by horse-drawn transport but others mostly on foot.
Around 150 years later many markets have fallen by the wayside as shopping habits have changed, but Tavistock Pannier Market has faced the challenge head-on and adapted beyond recognition and now when you visit us you will be met with a vibrant, colourful and varied choice of goods.
The Market opens every day from Tuesday until Saturday and prides itself on the eclectic range it has to offer. During the Summer Holiday period the Market is open on Mondays too. Photographers, potters, artists, upholsterers, quilters, card makers, wood turners, and metal workers mingle with clothiers, milliners, antiques experts and furniture-makers.
There is a great selection of five day traders, who are always present in the Market, selling a diverse mix of products and services ranging from antiquarian and second-hand books, pet food, watch batteries and repairs, engraved gifts, delicious cakes and sweets to DIY tools and sundries, fashion jewellery and garden plants.
In addition to the regular five-day stall holders, there are many traders who change throughout the week to reflect the different daily themes. Tuesday's Market includes craft, antiques and collectables, a Mixed Market with a varied range of goods and crafted wares on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The traditional Charter Market takes place on Fridays, with four different themed markets taking place on each Saturday in the month. These themes include Aladdin's Cave on the first Saturday, followed by Craft, Mixed and a Victorian Fair on the following Saturdays.