Hays’ weekly produce market has been held with few interruptions, for over 700 years. In Victorian times, people walked in from miles around, leading pack ponies or riding with panniers full of goods for sale. The town had 41 inns, many offering stabling. Livestock sales continued in the streets until 1919 when the cattle market was built.
Pigs were sold in Pig Lane (now Chancery Lane), cattle and sheep in Broad Street and, near the Clock Tower, live poultry was displayed in wicker baskets. In the Butter and Cheese Markets, dressed poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, rabbits and pheasant were sold, mainly to dealers from the valleys who supplied urban centres. The Christmas meat and poultry markets, held in the second week of December, were huge affairs.