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Will Oxley, a stallholder at The Giant Shepton Flea Market, came to the fair to buy as well as sell.

One of 350 stallholders at the event on January 22, he was one of many who came prepped to search out stock for their own businesses and was pleased with an antique wooden cross for £40 from another exhibitor.

Shepton Flea, which runs seven times a year, remains one of the largest fairs in the south of England. At the latest staging the trade was in evidence particularly, with dealers swooping in to snatch up top items.


Indoors at Shepton Flea.

Elizabeth Kemp and Ros Byam Shaw, online traders from PerfectEnglishStuff.com, told ATG: “We always come to Shepton, it’s a great place to buy for the store” as Kemp had a large set of vintage Spode packed away which she had found for £150.

Debbie Whitehead, a dealer from Vintique, agreed saying that she can “always find some stuff for the shop” at the event.

Andrew and Sarah Parker from JAMS Interiors are regular visitors and left with a chaise longue they had bought for £90, a purchase they debated keeping for themselves or offering in their Salisbury shop.

Fellow visitor Sue Murphy from Leagrove Antiques in Clevedon had a similar dilemma over a painting which she bought for £30.

Top of the props

Elsewhere there were those buying for business even outside the antiques trade. Becky and Andy Jones from Old Oak Farm Venues, for example, picked up an antique butter churn for £100, planning to use it during weddings as a champagne ice bucket. They often come to Shepton Flea for interesting props and items for the venue.

Another visitor, who gave her name as Ruth, had come to the fair looking for chairs for her Airbnb. A previous visitor to the fair, she picked up the four for £100.

Kate Barley-Clarke runs Nelly’s Retro Vintage in Stratford-upon-Avon, a combination vintage shop and bar. She picked up a 10ft (3m) wooden spoon for £80 that she plans to hang from the rafters in her venue.

Personal touches

While business-to-business sales were booming, ATG also spoke to visitors who had come for more personal purchases. Amelia and Charlie Sims-Jones had come for kitchenware to complement Amelia’s baking collection. They picked up a tray and a scale for £20 in total.

More collector purchases included an old trunk with a Cunard line sticker that trunk collector Sarah Naughton found for £10.

Other visitors had simply found items to decorate their homes, from a spontaneous purchase of a dog basket by Ludo Skinner to Laura Jackson’s wooden plaque to make a house sign; both purchased for £10.

One first-time buyer who gave her name as Jane had found a cat statue for £10 with the plans to use it as a doorstop. She said: “I have absolutely no idea why. I’ve never been here before which is why I’ve ended up with something quite so ridiculous.”

The Giant Shepton Flea Market returns to Royal Bath & West Showground on March 5.