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* 23rd April 2014
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About Wetherby

> Fascinating Facts

  • Wetherby's market charter and bridge date back almost 750 years, and it was an important Roman settlement.


  • Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was inhabited from at least Neolithic times. Bronze age finds have also been recorded in villages around Wetherby.


  • In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the Knights Templar and later the Knights Hospitallers were granted land and properties in Yorkshire. The local Preceptory founded in 1217 was at Ribston Park. In 1240 the Knights Templar were granted by Royal Charter of Henry III the right to hold a market in Wetherby (known then as Werreby). The Charter stated the market should be held on a Thursday and a yearly fair was permitted lasting three days over the 'day' of St James the Apostle.


  • From 1318 to 1319 the North of England suffered many raids from the Scots. After the battle of Bannockburn. Wetherby was burned and many people taken and killed. It is said that Scott Lane is so named because it ran with blood.


  • Wetherby had a small part to play in the Civil War in 1644. Before marching to Tadcaster and then to Marston Moor, the Parliamentarians spent two days in Wetherby while joining forces with the Scots.


  • Wetherby stands 198 miles equidistant from London to Edinburgh.


  • The Domesday Book mentions Wedrebi which means wether or ram farm. Another meaning is settlement on the bend of a river. Local rumour has it that when heavy snow storms hit the country, Wetherby does not get as much because the 'Weather Goes By', however, this is not to be relied upon.


  • Oliver Cromwell probably spent the night after the battle of Marston Moor at the original 'Half Moon Inn' at Collingham - 3 miles from Wetherby. The present building dates from 1900.


  • The Fairfax family had their ancestral home at Walton for centuries, Peter Fairfax having come to England with William I.


  • In the heyday of the coaching era, Wetherby had up to 40 inns and alehouses. The first recorded mail coach arrived in Wetherby in 1786.


  • The 'Grand Old Duke of York' was the 2nd son of George III who in 1789 left his home at Allerton Maulever near Wetherby, to be with his troops in the south of England.


  • In 1824 The sixth Duke of Devonshire sold the town of Wetherby (except one house) to finance work at Chatsworth in 1824.


  • Local heroes of Wetherby are Flight-Lieutenant 'Ginger' Lacey, a Battle of Britain flying ace, born in Wetherby. Lacey Grove is named after him.


  • Hayton Drive is named after schoolboy David John Hayton, who drowned in the River Wharfe while trying to save a friend.


  • Many Wetherby men served with either the 5th or 9th West Yorkshire Regiments, who had great losses at Flanders. A War memorial designed by E. F. Roslyn was dedicated on April 22nd 1922.


  • In 1918 the locals of Wetherby, contributed greatly to support the crew of the Minesweeper 'Wetherby' despite hardship and shortages caused by the war.


  • During the War Tockwith airfield was renamed 'Marston Moor Airfield' to avoid confusion with Topcliffe Airfield. Part of the airfield is now used as a driver training centre and the old control tower is used as the offices. Parts of the runways can still be seen.


  • Heart-throb of the American silver screen, Clark Gable was stationed during the war at Marston Moor Airfield. USAAF Captain Gable was a member of the ground staff. Group Captain Leonard Cheshire was also stationed at Marston Moor for a short while before leaving to become Commander of the famous 617 Dam Buster Squadron.


  • Wetherby also had the only landship north of London, based on York Road, named in turn; HMS Cabot, Demetrius, Rodney and Ceres. The base was closed in 1958 and transferred to Chatham.


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