All the fun of the fair – but what on earth does ‘spracker’ mean?

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Ye olde time revellers came forth spry and spracker for Ditchling’s ancient fair on the village green.

Such was the introduction in the Mid Sussex Times following the 1984 fair – and, while the meaning of the word ‘spry’ is well known, does anyone have the slightest clue what ‘spracker’ means?

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Judging by the smiles on the faces of the folk in these photos it was a happy word.

The sun was out and the festivities lasted from 10am, when fair master Martin Roberts donned traditional garb and sped through the town crying out to one and all to join the fun.

It ended at 11pm, when the last barn dance was called.

The Queen of the Fair – crowned by Vera Lynn – was 18-year-old Karen Smith, who toured the village with her handmaidens.

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The fair was opened by George Holman, chairman of the parish council, who made the declaration from the roof of Ditchling antiques shop.

And what a quaint declaration it was. Mr Holman bellowed: “Lurk no longer slubberdegullion behind the woodwork in your half timbered houses, nor so peer like paultry customers snub-and-bottle-nosed against the lozenge panes of your leaded windows at our pageant and processions, our street stalls and side shows, our sports and maypole dances, but rather to come forth spry and spracker...”

As you’ve probably guessed, there was a word in that sentence which baffled even the mighty Google...can anyone enlighten us as to the meaning of ‘slubberdegullion’?

It sounds somewhat less pleasant than ‘spracker’ but it’s not always easy to tell.

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