History of the King’s Head, Masham and the Yorkshire Dales

The King’s Head wasn’t always a pub restaurant. In the 18th century, it began life as a tax office and posting house, facilitating the transfer of livestock at the huge weekly sheep market that took place in the square opposite.

The sheep markets have been integral to the history of Masham, it was granted its first market charter in 1250 and much of the charm of the area is as a result of its importance over the following centuries as a hub for the surrounding rural communities.

An ancient Wensleydale market town on the River Ure, the character of Masham is defined by the many attractive Georgian houses and former alms houses that line the streets. Every year in July, the streets resonate to the sounds of the Masham Steam Engine and Fair Organ Rally, an event founded in 1965 to raise funds for repairs to the Town Hall. The town also hosts a biennial Masham Arts Festival and the Sheep Fair every year in September.

Masham is also home to two local breweries, Black Sheep and Theakston. Black Sheep started brewing its own ales over twenty years ago and it’s a short walk away from The King’s Head. The founder of Black Sheep, Paul Theakston, left the family business, Theakston, to set up on his own in 1992.  Both breweries offer guided tours of the premises, with visitor centre and shop on site.

The beautiful St Mary's Church in Masham was founded in the 7th century and stood close by the present town hall. The present church is largely Norman built with some 15th Century additions but features some original Anglo-Saxon stonework.

Masham lies on the eastern edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, a beautiful landscape of crags, valleys, moorlands and spectacular waterfalls encompassing some of the most dramatic and unspoilt scenery in England. The King’s Head makes an ideal point from which to explore the Dales, visit the atmospheric ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, the remarkable rock formations of the National Trust’s Brimham Rocks or simply spend a leisurely afternoon in the stately Harrogate or historic Ripon.

With attractive walks close by including Hackfall Woods, sketched by Turner during a stay in Masham, The King’s Head is the perfect place for meeting with friends and family before or after a walk through these exquisite places of beauty. Or if you’re simply soaking up the atmosphere of market day or visiting one of the fairs or festivals in Masham, stop by for a delicious pub meal or a leisurely Sunday lunch.


Find The King’s Head on the Market Place, Masham, North Yorkshire. For satnavs use the postcode HG4 4EF.