NEWMARKET LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY
The Society meets every third Tuesday of the month from September
to April at 7.30 pm at The Stable, High Street Newmarket (unless otherwise noted) when we
have a visiting speaker. During the summer months (except August) we usually arrange trips to local
places of historic interest.
The now derelict Quensbury Stables were once a thriving working place for the racing community.
On August 5th 2014 Tony Pringles's latest book 'Newmarket Remembers' was launched at a short ceremony at Newmarket Library. The amount of detail about Newmarket and District's war casualties covering two World Wars is a tribute to Tony's remarkable dedication to the subject.
Copies are now very limited but if anyone particularly wants to get hold of one please contact Tony direct.
. For more details about the book, its writer and its contents see Newmarket Remembers (Please note this is a Document file that may vary in the way it displays and take a while to load on your computer)
July 25th 2014. Over the generations Newmarket has long been host to Royal visitors, who came to the town for the racing and associated pleasures provided by this lively town.
Our latest website article, Personalities page No 10, deals with the Monarchs from James I onward who found Newmarket to their liking and who through their patronage had varying degrees of influence in shaping the town's future.
Please go to Personalities Page No 10
All events commence at 7.30 pm unless otherwise stated
Tuesday 23rd June Visit to Brandon Museum
Tuesday 21st July Visit to Hildersham
No Meeting in August.
Tuesday 15th September History of Duxford Airfield - Mike Nicholas
How do I join the Newmarket Local History Society?
It is quite simple really, you may do so by attending one of the programmed meetings, the doors open at 7 pm, and you can then join whilst there, the cost is just £8 per head, or you may wish to visit for one evening without commitment, this will cost £2 and you can go away and decide.
NEWMARKET'S ORIGINS (notes provided by N.L.H.S Committee Member Sandra Easom)
Mention Newmarket and most people think of the pounding hooves of horses and rolling expanses of green turf. The town is justly famous for both of these but its very long and varied history goes far beyond what most people expect.
Unlike most mediaeval towns, Newmarket is not centred on either of its parish churches, St. Mary's or All Saints. Rather, it is centred on the initial reason for its existence - the ancient Icknield Way - the oldest road in Britain. Its route approximated to the present High Street. People have journeyed along the Icknield Way since the Stone Age when flint was mined in Grimes Graves in Norfolk and then supplied an extensive trade network.
The area where Newmarket now stands has springs of water and a small river which is essential for any settlement. Bronze Age barrows, showing evidence of early occupation, were scattered across Newmarket Heath until the 19th century when they were cleared to make better conditions for horse racing.
Later, nearby Exning was a main settlement of the Iceni tribe (best remembered for their famous Queen Boudicca or Boadicea who led a major rebellion against the Romans). The Iceni were renowned breeders of horses and dogs, so the Heath has probably seen many more races than we are aware of!
The area where the town now stands was given as dowry to Sir Richard de Argentein in 1200 A.D. when he married Cassandra, daughter of Robert de Insula, Lord of the manor of Exning. Sir Richard encouraged development of the town and was granted a charter for a market almost immediately by the King. In 1223 Newmarket received its first charter for an annual fair. It is important to note that the Plague arrived at Exning in 1227. Therefore, the Victorian theory that people left Exning to start a new town at Newmarket at this time cannot be true (although it is very persistent!).
Newmarket thrived because of its market and a lucrative trade in accommodating travellers and so it continued for centuries, until King James I "discovered" its Heath in February 1604 as a great leisure venue for his court and Newmarket's sporting associations began.....
NEWMARKET AND HORSERACING
The local history of Newmarket is inextricably tied up with the history of horseracing. The town is home to the National Horseracing Museum, at present situated in part of the Jockey Club building. An enlightening article on Newmarket's racing history and the work of the museum written by the former Museum Director, Hilary Bracegirdle appears on this site select article here
The museum also has a very good website of its own www.nhrm.co.uk where much information on Newmarket's racing past is available.
Newmarket Local History Society and the National Horseracing Museum have much in common in that we both receive many queries from people on topics related to horseracing. Often people wish to enquire about their forebears who were jockeys, or in some way connected to racing. As Hilary says in her article, it is difficult to trace individuals unless they were high profile personalities. The best approach for persuing ordinary family history queries is through the Bury St Edmunds County Records office (for Suffolk related queries) or The Cambridgeshire Family History Society (for the Cambridgeshire part of Newmarket). Both the Museum and our Society wish to be as helpful as possible and welcome any queries of general interest. Queries to the Museum should be addressed in writing to Graham Snelling, Deputy Director/Curator, National Horseracing Museum, 99 High Street, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 8JS. Our Society's postal and e-mail addresses are given on page 3.
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