Masham is a small market town and civil parish in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 1,235.Situated in Wensleydale on the western bank of the River Ure, the name derives from the Anglo-Saxon "Mæssa's Ham", the homestead belonging to Mæssa. The Romans had a presence here, but the first permanent settlers were the Angles. Around 900 AD the Vikings invaded the region, burning and laying waste to the church and causing great suffering in Masham. They also introduced sheep farming, something for which the town is well known today.
St Mary's Church was most likely founded in the seventh century and stood somewhere near the present town hall on what used to be known as Cockpit Hill. The graveyard yielded 36 burials in a recent excavation. The present church, while having some Anglo-Saxon stonework and the stump of an eighth-century prayer cross, is mainly Norman with fifteenth-century additions. Masham was given to York Minster in the mediaeval period but, as the archbishop did not wish to make the long journey north to oversee the town's affairs, the parish was designated a peculiar.
Of note for a relatively small town is that it is home to two working breweries, BLACK SHEEP BREWERY and THEAKSTONS, situated only a few hundred yards from one another. It is also home to one of the oldest markets in the UK, receiving its first market charter in 1250. Wednesday and Saturday are market days, popular among both locals and visitors. Masham's importance as a major sheep market is the reason for the huge market place and its beautiful Georgian houses. The market originally thrived because of its nearness to Jervaulx and Fountains Abbeys, with the monks' large flocks of sheep. The annual SHEEP FAIR is in September.
Marmion Tower is a 15th century gatehouse near to the village of West Tanfield in North Yorkshire, England. It was the entrance to and formerly adjoined to a now vanished manor house by the River Ure, owned by the Marmion family from which the gatehouse gets its name. The tower has three levels and is built in stone. The gateway is barrel vaulted and has a guardroom to the south. The stair leads to the rooms above and ends in a turret above the battlements. It is noted for its well preserved oriel window on the first floor and other features include the garderobe (latrine) and a porter's "squint".