Harrold seems never to have had a particularly successful market. The Victoria County History states that the market was held on Thursdays and was created by a charter at the beginning of the 17th century. It later dwindled so that it was attended only by one or two butchers who opened shambles on that day. Harrold also held three yearly fairs. These were on the Tuesdays before 13th May, 6th July and 11th October.
Lockup with policeman, child and vagrant about 1900 [Z1130/54/36a]
The Green was specifically noted in the Harrold Inclosure Act of 1797: "…the Commissioners shall divide, set out and allot all the Residue…of the said Lands and Grounds in the said Parish of Harrold …except a certain Green or Plot of Ground lying in the Town of Harrold aforesaid, called or known by the name of Harrold Green, which said Green shall for ever hereafter remain open and uninclosed for the Holding of Markets and Fairs as heretofore, and shall be subject to such other Purposes and Common Rights, and be under such Rules and Regulations as the said Commissioners shall, in and by their Award, order, direct and appoint".
Market House in May 2008
The Market House
The former Department of Environment listed the Market House in 1952 as Grade II (of special interest). They stated that it is a late 17th or 18th century building. This can be further narrowed down by a letter of 1811 [L30/11/132/100] in which it was noted that the structure had been built by the Duke of Kent. This was Henry Grey, who was Earl of Kent in 1702, Marquess in 1706 and Duke in 1710. He was the only member of the family, who were Lords of the Manor of Harrold, to hold the title of Duke of Kent. He died in 1740. This puts the date of the market House as the first half of the 18th century, between 1702 and 1740.
For a large part of the 19th century the Market House was not in the best of states. The 1811 letter noted above states that the structure was out of repair and: "People don't want expense of repair". The Bedfordshire Mercury of 21st July 1888 noted: "The residents think that if Earl Cowper were to come back and look at the ancient market house he would have a load or two of gravel put in it as the water instead of running away from it runs in it and must do considerable damage to the foundation".
The Lock-up January 2008
The former Department of Environment listed the Lock-up in 1952 as Grade II (of special interest). It is a 19th century building as confirmed by the Harrold Manor Court Book [X192/11]. At the court of 27th March 1824 it was recorded: "At this Court the Lady of this Manor with the consent of the Homage upon the humble supplication of the Reverend John Maginnis, Richard Clapham and William Rogers, the Minister and Churchwardens for the time being of Harrold, doth grant unto the said John Maginnis, Richard Clapham and William Rogers and the Minister and Churchwardens for the time being of Harrold aforesaid and during the pleasure of the said Lady so much Ground not exceeding four yards square on Harrold Green adjoining to Colman's Garden and Barn for the purpose of building a Cage there for the use of the Village of Harrold aforesaid. Now at this Court come the said John Maginnis, Richard Clapham and William Rogers and acknowledged to hold of the Lady of the said Manor during her pleasure by fealty suit of court the yearly rent of sixpence and a relief of sixpence when it happens the said piece or parcel of land and premises but their fealty is respited".
At the Easter Sessions of the Quarter Sessions of 1849 a letter was read from the Churchwardens of Harrold applying to buy or pay rent to use the "Cage or Lock-up-House". The Sessions ordered that the rent be paid but "in other respects the application be not acceded to". By 1892 the structure was used simply for storage - the Bedfordshire Standing Joint Committee Papers for 14th April noting: "Harrold - The building here is the property of Lord Cowper and is now used by the Parish for the storage of Lamps and Oil". This was still the case when the Victoria County History was compiled in 1912.