Wetherby is a small market town located adjacent to the A1. The town was granted a royal charter in 1240 for its Thursday market, which still bustles today. Historically it has been a staging post for travellers as it lies exactly half way between London and Edinburgh (198 miles each way). Other interesting facts include: 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.
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.
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.