Originally known as Noent, Newent was already a sizeable town at the time of the Norman Conquest and was mentioned in the Domesday Book.
By the 13th century, Noent was part of a manor belonging to the Abbey of Cormeilles in Normandy and King Henry III granted the town a market and two annual fayres by charter. With two more annual fairs granted by James 1st, by the end of 17th century Newent was a well established thriving market town with a weekly market and four annual fairs.
Originally, the September fair dealt mostly in sheep, but by the end of the 18th century this fair was the only one of the annual fairs to have survived and was now trading onions. There were onion fairs all over the country at this time and Newent Onion Fayre rose to such importance that the price of onions at Newent was used to set the onion price over a wide area, including South Wales, Gloucester and even Birmingham (the largest onion fair in the country!).