Christmas Fatstock Show and Military Wives Choir



 Sheep and the wool trade first brought wealth to the South Molton district during the 17th century and indeed the town’s emblem still incorporates a ram at its heart.  Even today there are more sheep per acre in this area than anywhere else in the world! So what could be more appropriate than having wool as the theme of this year’s Christmas Fatstock Show, which runs from 10.00am – 4.00pm on Sunday 7 December.   And to increase the appeal of the event, The Military Wives will be performing from 6.30pm on the same evening. 

If you want accommodation for this memorable weekend, contact Sharon Webber at South Molton Tourist Information on 01769 574122 or check out the Tourist Office website –

The Fatstock Show will demonstrate how wool is produced, starting the journey with sheep shearing demonstrations – hand clipping, hand powered  and the modern day electric systems.  Then the fleece will be carded, spun and finally knitted. Devon and  Cornwall Wool will be along to explain the Wool Board’s role in both production and marketing. 

As always the event is very firmly rooted in traditional agriculture, which ensures real authenticity. The format of the day illustrates the production of meat – from judging the live pens of sheep and bullocks, to an auction later in the day and classes for meat and poultry carcasses.  There will also be other animals to meet, including rare poultry  breeds, a cart horse and Exmoor pony, pigs, and alpacas.

Demonstrations will include shoeing a horse, stone walling  and slate engraving. Weather permitting, there will be a demonstration by Jonathon Becklake of Bishops Nympton, processing reed from stook to thatch, with thatching demonstrations taking place as well. For enthusiasts, there will be a number of vintage agricultural vehicles to admire. 

From 10.30am  – 3.00pm the stage will be busy with demonstrations and entertainment.   This will include the South Molton Choral Society, and the children from Brayford School singing seasonal carols. And of course there will be a wealth of stalls offering wreaths and decorations, traditional fare, and craft-based presents, including countryman Jonny Kingdom, who will be meeting and greeting the public and selling his books, DVDs, and wildlife photos. 

For those who want to be creative or competitive, there is a Scarecrow competition.  Anyone can enter – forms from Michael Edwards, Stags Auctioneers, (01769) 572042. 

For the first time following the show there will be a concert by Chivenor’s Military Wives,  who are now internationally famous, due to the TV programme that shot them to fame and saw them feature in the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day 2012. There will be a bar, courtesy of The Bell Inn, Chittlehampton and refreshments provided by the event’s chosen charity, The North Devon Hospice.  Tickets will be £10 for adults, £3 for children, or £20 for family tickets (admitting two adults and two children). Military Wives Choirs

Local farmer Morley Heal is one of the organisers of the event.  Morley says:
“We are particularly pleased with the way the Fatstock Show is supported by so many people, both visitors who now come from all over the South West, and exhibitors. Local farmers who use South Molton Market regularly donate a sheep or two to be sold through the ring the Thursday before the show, with the proceeds going towards the charity.  This is a very generous gesture and we are truly grateful for all of their support. Also each year The Young Farmers become more and more involved, both by helping with the organisation and through show entries, which helps to encourage the next generation of farmers, in what is such a family business.”

Morley continued:
“It is wonderful to welcome The Military Wives Choir this year, and we hope that this will be a great success.  Last year we raised more than £3300 for charity, through the raffle and the auction, where people donated items such as carcasses, wreaths or cakes that had been exhibited during the day. This year we would hope to exceed this – all proceeds will be going to The North Devon Hospice”

Schedules can be downloaded from  or paper copies from Stags Auctioneers,  South Molton. For further information contact co-organiser Michael Edwards from Stags on


admin November 12, 2014 Accommodation, Latest News, Things to do & see