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Wetherby is a charming market town situated half way between London and Edinburgh, not far from Leeds and York, and, being in the heart of Yorkshire, the people are pretty friendly and relaxed. The River Wharfe wends its way through town, we have a famous racecourse, and we still boast an independent cinema and our own independent radio station, Tempo FM 107.4. 'Wetherby in Bloom' keeps our town looking beautiful with floral displays and imaginative planting throughout the summer, and they have deservedly won many prestigious awards for the town over the years. We're home to lots of small independent retailers; there aren't many High Street names here, so it's a great place to browse shops where quality and service are still the priority. We have lots of great places to eat and drink, including restaurants, cafes and pubs. Wetherby is known for its wealth of pubs, known locally as the 'Wetherby Eleven.' There are plenty of quality places to stay in the area too, either in town or close by.
Wetherby Festival is one of the town's real treasures, and we celebrated our 30th Anniversary in October 2007. Back in 1977, Jonathan Bailey (who was the Vicar of Wetherby at that time), was pondering the idea of setting up an arts festival for the town, and soon got into lively and productive discussion with festival director Ted Kilner. Plans were soon underway, and a Festival has been held regularly since then, with prominent arts figures gracing our town over the years, including the late, great Stephan Grappelli and Humphrey Lyttelton, folk scene superstars Kate Rusby and Kathryn Tickell, the highest profiles from the acting profession, including Honor Blackman, and many more besides.
We were delighted when the Rt Revd Jonathan Bailey KCVO, who was by then the Bishop of Derby, returned to our town in 2007 to help us celebrate and to lead our Festival Service in our Parish Church. It was with great sadness that the festival board heard of his passing in December, 2008.
The Domesday Book mentions Wedrebi (meaning wether- or ram-farm). Another meaning is settlement on the bend of a river. Local folklore has it that when heavy snow storms hit the county, Wetherby does not get as much because the Weather Goes By! In 1240, the Knights Templar were granted by Royal Charter of Henry III the right to hold a market in town. The Charter stated that the market should be held on a Thursday, and a yearly fair was also permitted. In 1319 after the Battle of Bannockburn, Wetherby was looted and burned by the Scots, and many of the townsfolk were taken and killed. In the English Civil War in 1644, before marching to Marston Moor, the Parliamentarians spent two days in Wetherby while joining forces with the Scots. Oliver Cromwell probably spent the night after the battle of Marston Moor at the original 'Half Moon Inn' at nearby Collingham. In its heyday in the coaching era, Wetherby had up to forty inns and alehouses. The first recorded mail coach arrived in Wetherby in 1786. In 1824 the sixth Duke of Devonshire sold the town of Wetherby (except one house) to finance work at Chatsworth.
For more information about Wetherby and the surrounding area, why not visit the following websites?