Welcome to

NEWMARKET LOCAL HISTORY SOCIETY


We're based in... Newmarket... Suffolk...England, the historic horse-racing town associated with 'The Sport of Kings' from the time of King James I in the early 17th century.


Site last updated November 13th 2017 - The history of local places (see Index below), November and thoughts about wars (see below), Correspondence, Special book offer to members (see below)

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.

N.L.H.S. SITE INDEX


When the Great War began in July 1914 Newmarket was caught up in the national patriotic fervour
of 'let's get it over quickly and teach the Kaiser a lesson'. Events turned out very different to the hopes.
This picture of Territorials receiving an enthusiastic send off before leaving Newmarket for the western front catches the mood of the time.

What's New

  • November 4th 2017
    NLHS member Tony Pringle works hard to ensure that those local men and women who made the final sacrifice serving their country during the two World Wars of the 20th century, are not forgotten. Lower down this page you can read more about Tony's work.
    This month our thoughts once again turn to remembrance and it is good to see that support for the Earl Haig Poppy Day appeal is as strong as ever.
    We asked Tony for his present day thoughts about wars and sacrifice and this is his response:

    Wishful thinking....
    Next year we commemorate the Armistice that brought about the cessation of fighting in the Great War, the war that was to end all wars!
    If only that could have come true. It seems to be in the nature of the beast that all too often mankind resorts to violence and war rather than negotiation. That said, it is also all too often impossible to reason with some in power, and such is their threat to us all that drastic action has to be taken. Luckily for all of us, there has always been sufficient (just) manpower either voluntary or conscripted, to take up arms.
    The thousands of headstones in Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries around the world bear witness to the sacrifices made. If you have never visited a cemetery near Ypres or on the Somme then you may not have truly experienced humility and thankfulness that so many of our forebears died in the hope that we would never experience the loss of our freedom.
    There is nothing about the wearing of a red poppy in November that reflects any glorification of war. Along the trench line in France and Flanders the poppy was often the only reminder of the beauty of nature and its capability of renewal. To wear the poppy is to remember the sacrifice of others. Few members of the Armed Forces of whatever nationality wish to put their training to the test , but are trained to meet that eventuality should the day come.
    There is nothing glorious about the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme at Thiepval, despite its size and grandeur, but very sobering is the realisation that on it are engraved the names of around 72,000 British soldiers who died on the Somme. Even more sobering is the thought that these are names only of those bodies were never identified or in many cases, never even found.
    So buy your poppy and wear it with pride.

  • An update our November meeting:
    Sandra Easom who is giving the November illustrated talk (21st November) has changed the title to "Etheldreda and Her Sisters" to reflect the updated content of the talk which she describes "A remarkable family of Anglo-Saxon women who were significant in transforming both the society and the landscape of East Anglia, Archaeology and history demonstrate that these changes occurred much faster than previously thought and many of the changes still influence our lives today.

  • Our Society's two-volume publication 'Newmarket and its Surrounding Areas', launched in the year 2000' was intended chiefly to be a free issue to local schools, public libraries etc. and it has not been on sale to the public.
    It has remained a valuable work of reference on a wide range of local history subjects.
    Chapter 40 gives a short history of many villages and towns in the Newmarket locality and the list has now been reproduced on this website. Go to History of local villages and towns

  • Rodney Vincent's book 'A Tanner Will Do' about village life in the nineteen thirties and forties has been a successful publication with many copies sold locally as well as abroad.
    Now Rodney is making some of the remaining copies of the book available to NLHS members free of charge, but with voluntary donations all going to our Society's funds.
    For non-members of the Society the book can be purchased for just £3, or £5 if sent by post.
    If you haven't read this fascinating account of the life and times of a local village in the thirties and how it coped with the upheaval of WWII here is your opportunity. It could also make a good Christmas present!
    Copies will be available at our next meeting 21st November 2017
    More details about the book and NLHS publications can be found on Page 3 of this website under 'Local History and other books'(see Index above for link).

  • The Cambridge Antiquarian Society
    Sandra Easom has drawn attention to this society and writes: Cambridge Antiquarian Society is a leading (amateur) archaeological society with origins in Victorian times. They have some influential members with meetings held in Cambridge. They have published some important papers over the years and have had some interesting speakers & topics.
    The 'Conduit' is their regular publication and you can find a link on Page 3 of our website in the table of associated sites of interest to NLHS.

  • March 21st 2017 Chapman's 18th century map of Newmarket is thought to be the oldest published plan of the town. Some recemt correspondence has brought to light more details of where copies are now held (see March 2017 Correpondence from Index below).

  • January 6th 2017. Well known Cambridgeshire historian Mike Petty has contacted us about the latest version of his Cambridgeshire Collection website which contains a vast number of intriguing tit-bits of history about many Cambridgshire villages and towns, from 1895 and covering most of the 20th century. Of particular interest to our members is the Newmarket Scrapbook file, which to quote Mike has "90 pages that hardly mention horseracing". Among the many items mostly culled from Cambridgeshire newspaper reports are some real gems, such as the report of the man who wanted to pull down the Clock Tower, or the discovery of the Ice Well. Well worth perusal. Go to Cambridgeshire Collection

  • February 15th 2016. We have made past references to Tony Pringle's dedicated work in honouring local personnel who gave their lives in the service of their country during the two world wars. He has published two books, 'Exning Remembers' and 'Newmarket Remembers' both mentioned elsewhere on this website (the latter see August 2014 below).
    Now his years of research have been brought together on a single website www.undyingmemory.net In addition to Newmarket town records the site covers a surprising number of surrounding villages and gives much detailed service and family information for individual names.
    Tony has accomplished a great deal but he is not one to say job done, finished. One advantage of a website over a published book is that it can always be added to and he is pleased to receive additional details should they become available.
    Thanks to this work relatives or descendents of those who made the great sacrifice can take comfort in knowing their dead will not be forgotten.

  • January 2014. Thanks to various enthusiastic people, a great source of pictures from Newmarket and district's past, can be found on the Facebook site. You may have to be logged in to view the pictures. From the Facebook site search just enter 'Old Newmarket' to start the series and go to the albums.

  • Calendar of Events - 2017
    All events commence at 7.30 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month unless otherwise stated

    21st November - 'Etheldreda and Her Sisters'- Sandra Easom
    19th December - Christmas party

    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 original route followed Palace Street, past All Saints' Church and across the present day cemetery. The Icnield Way also took other courses, notably through Stetchworth and Woodditton. 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 Heritage Centre which from the autumn of 2016 moved to its new premises at Palace House and Stables which now incorporates the National Horseracing Museum

    Address: Palace House, Palace Street, Newmarket, Suffolk, CB8 8EP
    The information below hasd been supplied by Palace House Staff.
    Website: www.palacehousenewmarket.co.uk
    Tel: 01638 667314
    Enquiries: info@palacehousenewmarket.co.uk
    The National Heritage Centre is situated in Charles II’s sporting palace and stables spanning five acres in the heart of Newmarket and comprises three complementary attractions. The new venue is result of over ten years planning, building and fundraising to become the biggest new attraction to open in Suffolk in the last decade. In April 2017 it was announced that the National Heritage Centre has been shortlisted as a finalist for the prestigious Art Fund Museum of the Year prize.
    What you will find at the National Heritage Centre at Palace House….
    National Horseracing Museum:
    Based in the old Trainer’s House and King’s Yard galleries the National Horseracing Museum tells the story of horseracing from its earliest origins to the world-wide phenomenon it is today. Using the latest interactive and audio visual displays the Museum also takes a different look at the sport, examining the science of the sport.
    Your visit will not be complete without riding a winner on our famous Racehorse Simulator!V Rothschild Yard: Discover and meet the heroes of racing themselves - the racehorses!
    The Rothschild Yard has been returned to its former glory to stable horses, showcasing the work of the Retraining of Racehorses charity. Here, you can get up close, and meet these beautiful animals. Twice daily, at 11am and 2.30pm demonstrations take place in the Peter O’Sullevan Arena. Check our website for more details of the resident horses and daily demonstrations
    Fred Packard Galleries:
    Situated in the remaining element of Charles II’s racing palace is the Fred Packard Museum and Galleries of British Sporting Art - a new home for the British Sporting Art Trust. Paintings by George Stubbs and Sir Alfred Munnings rub shoulders with works from John Singer Sargent and John Wootton showcasing the finest British Sporting Art from 17th – 21st Century.
    The Tack Room & Pantry Bakery:
    Situated in The King’s Yard is The Tack Room. It serves traditional British food with a twist, using the very best that East Anglia and in particular Suffolk has to offer.
    The Pantry Bakery offers food to go – from sandwiches to scones, delicious artisan breads and coffee.
    Palace House Shop
    Our gift shop stocks a wide range of merchandise to remind you of your visit to Newmarket. Many of the products that you will find take their inspiration from objects and paintings in our collections.

    Next page (pg 2)

    Website created and maintained by Rod Vincent (Silver surfer award winner 2004)

    e-mail: rodvincent@freenetname.co.uk
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