Why ARE WE called “Rowell” FAIR?

Those born and bred in Rothwell, Northamptonshire – ‘Rowellians’ – will not be surprised at all, as to why, since 1204, the annual Royal Charter Street Fair held here in the town is called the Rowell Fair rather than the Rothwell Fair. For those of you new to the area or looking at this page from further afield, we aim to clear up this frequently asked question!

First things first though: Rowell is a two-syllable English noun pronounced ro-well. You can hear how it’s pronounced in other languages by clicking on this link.

We’re happy to help clear up this apparent mystery.

Wikipedia suggests that invaders in the Dark Ages founded the Danish settlement of “Rodewell” or “place of the red well”, presumably so-called because of the area’s many freshwater springs coloured red by iron and other minerals.

They also mention that according to AD Mills (author of A Dictionary of English Place-names. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 276. ISBN 0-19-869156-4) the name meant stream or spring by a clearing or clearings in the forest. Mills suggests the name is Old English (i.e. Anglo-Saxon) rather than Danish.

The website House of Names, seems to confirm this when they suggest that
“The place-name Rothwell is derived from the Old English words roth, which means forest clearing, and wella, which means spring or stream. The place-name as a whole translates as “spring or stream in the summer clearing.”

The website Ancestry.co.uk refers to Rowell as…
“representing the local pronunciation of the place in Northamptonshire”.

So that’s it! Now you know what Rowellians know!

See you at the ROWELL Fair! 😃