London church hosts mediaeval street fair

 There will be jugglers and clowns, street theatre, musicians, arts and crafts stalls, a bar tent, teas, and strawberries and cream in Holborn this Sunday, when St Etheldreda's, the oldest Catholic church in England, hosts Strawberrie Fayre in Ely Place. St Etheldreda's was the first pre-Reformation church to be returned to Catholic hands in England and Wales. Dating back to 1260 and possibly much earlier, the church is the sole survivor of what was once a magnificent complex of buildings which belonged to the Bishops of Ely. Surrounded by market gardens, the strawberries grown here were once considered to be the finest in London. They are mentioned in Shakespeare's Richard II (Act 2 Scene 4) where the Duke of Gloucester remarks to the Bishop of Ely: "when I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there: I do beseech you, send for some of them." Ely Place is also the setting of the famous scene in Richard II (Act 1 Scene1) where John of Gaunt, lying in Ely House, speaks of: "this scepter'd isle.. this precious stone set in a silver sea --- this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England." The fair is from 12.30-5.00pm. All proceeds go to SANE.

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