Bedale
Bedale
A popular market town in north Yorkshire, Bedale boasts a striking fortified church tower, built to defend against Scottish invasion. The church dates back to the Saxon era, but there is ample evidence of Roman occupation before that. The market dates back to 1251 when Henry III granted Bedale a royal charter.
During the reign of Edward I Sir Bryan FitzAlan built a castle in Bedale on the site now occupied by Bedale Hall. Fitz Alan later rose to become Earl of Surrey, and led the fight against William Wallace in the late 13th century.

A unique bit of heritage is provided by Leech House, an unusual small building beside Bedale Beck. Leech House was built by a 17th century apothecary as a storehouse for his leeches, which formed a central part of contemporary medical practice.

St Gregory Church

The parish church of Bedale dates to the late Saxon peruiod and was named among the top 1000 Churches in England by author Simon Jenkins. The most unusual feature is a medieval wall painting depicting St George slaying a dragon. what is striking is that St George is shown as left-handed, from a period when left-handedness was viewed with suspicion.Another rarity is a Viking grave stone carved with a likeness of the legendary Wayland the Smith.

Bedale Hoard

In 2012 a group of metal detectorists exploring a field near Bedale discovered an extraordinary hoard of silver and gold objects dating from the 9th-10th centuries. The find was dubbed 'The Bedale Hoard', and is now on display at the Yorkshire Museum in York. Among the objects wee a sword pommel, silver ingots, necklaces, and arm-bands. The presence of the hoard certainly sugests that there was a high-status presence in the Bedale area during the Viking period.

Other historic landmarks include Bedale Hall, a Georgian house remodelled in neo-classical style in 1730. The Hall now houses the free Bedale Museum, which explores the heritage of the area from prehistoric times to the modern day. There are also facilities for researching family history.

The Hall has limited opening hours, but one historic landmark that is always accessible to visitors is the 14th century market cross, in the market place where The Wynd, Emgate and Market Place meet. The tourist information centre has a Heritage Trail leaflet that links all the major historic buildings in Bedale.

Just 3 miles away are the remains of Snape Castle, home of Catherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII.