The fete is run by St Martin’s Guild. The Guild was founded in November 1908 by the then Rector’s wife, Mrs Chilton Tompkins, as a Guild to work for the beautifying and improvement of St Martin’s Church, funds being raised by a yearly sale of needlework by members of the Guild.
The motto taken was ‘Workers Together’ and the text ‘To beautify the place of my sanctuary’ (Isaiah chapter 60, verse 13).
By 1912, when our written records start, the annual sale was held in the grounds of the Rectory, with a jumble sale and various other activities. The day concluded with ‘dancing on the Rectory lawn in the evening for which St Martin’s Band will play’.
By 1924 there was an estimated 600-700 people attending the event and sports were held in the meadow by the church.
Initially the fete was held at the Rectory (now The Old Rectory opposite the Church) and extended to include Church Meadow (paddock next to church with footpath through it).
In 1929 the fete moved to Stargrove, when it was run by Sir Frederick and Lady Carden. It was held there until 1936, and then after the war from 1948-1954.
Since then it has rotated around several of the larger houses in East Woodhay.
The fete has become an institution not only as the best known fete in the area, but also as a means to raise much-needed funds for the church and the village.