Welcome to


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 May 21st 2017 - The June evening visit (see Events below),The Society's AGM (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.


The NLHS Committee after the AGM on 18th April 2017.
L to Right: Joan Shaw, Joan Watkinson (Treasurer), Abigael Brand (Secretary), Wendy Walker (Vice Chair),
Sandra Easom (Chair), David Rippington, Peter Norman (part obscured)

What's New

  • The June evening visit on Tuesday 20th will be to Balsham Church of the Holy Trinity and start at the earlier time of 6.30 pm.
    Google Maps: The route from Newmarket https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/The+Church+of+the+Holy+Trinity,+Balsham,+Cambridgeshire/@52.1331258,0.2572346,12z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xe231a42d80de7799!8m2!3d52.1331258!4d0.3185177
    For detailed location zoom in on map. Nearest postcode for Sat Nav use: CB21 4DS
    The visit will commence at 6.30 pm. We will be given a talk about the church's interesting history. Tea & coffee will be provided. Donations will go to Church funds. Bell ringing will commence at 7.30 and end at 9.00 pm. Members are welcome to stay for the duration if they wish. Anyone who cannot be there for 6.30 is still welcome to come along
    Some information about Balsham Church and its interesting features: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/cambs/vol6/pp127-135 http://www.druidic.org/camchurch/churches/balsham.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balsham

  • The Society's AGM was held on 18th April 2017.
    Changes to the Committee: Maureen Hogg has resigned and we have a new member, David Rippington. Bill Smith will continue as Archivist and Rodney Vincent as webmaster.
    The AGM was followed by a screen presentation by Peter Norman from his large collection of pictures of old Newmarket

  • 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

  • December 20th 2016 At our final meeting for 2016, we had welcome bites and drinks, an excellent quiz run by Chris Easom, an invitation to mark local places with our special memories on large scale maps of old Newmarket (David Rippington) and most of all, we enjoyed good Christmas fellowship.

  • At our meeting on Tuesday 15th November 2016 Sandra Easom gave an illustrated talk on the history of The Devil's Dyke, the Anglo-Saxon earthworks that for the central part of its length borders the July racecourse. Apart from being a site of great archeological interest The Dyke also supports a wealth of flora and fauna and makes a very interesting and varied walk along its 7 mile length.
    In a new article for our website we take an imaginary walk from Woodditton at the southern end to Reach at its northern extremity. See Index above, or Devil's Dyke

  • May 24th 2016 It is probably safe to say that few people now living are aware the Newmarket had a third official airfield during WWII.
    An email from Kenneth Bannerman of the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust has established that Side Hill was used for military purposes during late 1940 and continued as an ELG (Emergency Landing Ground) through the war (see Correspondence 24th May 2016)

  • April 16th 2016. Just occasionally we receive what appears at first to be a fairly mundane family history enquiry that turns out to uncover an interesting story involving Newmarket history. So it is with an appeal for assistance from Poul Krog from Denmark who wrote to us about a 19th century Newmarket jockey, Richard Parkinson. The story of how Richard became associated with the Duke of Augustenborg and the intrigue over the Duke's son is now told in a special article researched and compiled by NLHS member David Rippington. You can read this by selecting from Index above, or select here

  • 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.

  • For those who have not yet discovered the Francis Frith collection of photos of early to mid 20th century Newmarket take a look at Francis Frith's Newmarket Ninety one good quality photos that can be purchased if required. What a far sighted man to go around the country taking pictures of towns and villages that were fast changing

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

    20th June - Visit to Balsham Parish Church - 6.30 pm start
    For details see "What's New" above,
    18th July - Visit to Mildenhall Museum
    15th August - No Meeting
    19th September - 'Picture Postcards from World War 1'- Vanessa Mann
    17th October - 'The History of Addenbrooke's Hospital'- Hilary Ritchie
    21st November - 'Wrought by Fire'- 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.....

    The local history of Newmarket is inextricably tied up with the history of horseracing. The town is home to the National Horseracing Museum, which from the autumn of 2016 moved to its new premises in the old Palace House Stables.
    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.

    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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