Masham Coat of Arms


Masham....meaning homestead or village of a man named Maessa. I've never seen a market square as big as the one in Masham (pronounced 'Massam') it is huge, even bigger than the one at Ripon. In this great square, surrounded by dignified shops, hotels and houses, you will find a Maypole and a very old cross. This Wensleydale old market town has an enviable village atmosphere and is a friendly place. During the C18th and C19th, Masham market held a special fair in September, up to 70,000 sheep and lambs would be changing hands, they were brought on foot from Swaledale, Wensleydale and Nidderdale. Every hotel, house and cottage with spare rooms would be filled. Gypsies would camp by the river Ure. Buyers came from miles around. Nowadays Masham has a more reposing air to it.

King's Head Hotel

Perhaps Masham is more famous today for its brewing industry. You will have no doubt heard of 'Old Peculiar' made by Theakston's. This is a grand beer that owes its name to the Official of the Peculiar of Masham, a Peculiar being a parish exempt from the jurisdiction of the diocese in which it lies. It was thus allowed to have its own 'Peculiar Court.' You don't have to drink much of the potent Old Peculiar before you're flat on your back! As well as Theakston's there is also The Black Sheep Brewery.


The lovely old Church of St. Mary dates from the C7th and is characterised by some Norman work and octagonal bell-stage, plus a spire. The church suffered from Scottish raids and the tower was used for defence. Inside the plain  surroundings are relieved by interesting monuments, including those of the Hancourt , Wyville, and Danby families.

Near Masham are the abbeys of Fountains and Jervaulx, and Swinton Castle.

Farmer     Auction     St. Mary's