Tadcaster & Villages



A very warm welcome to Tadcaster & Villages u3a website.

Tadcaster and Villages u3a was launched May 2019 and since then our membership numbers have increased from 74 to 94 after the first u3a Day celebrations (2nd June 2021), with members joining us from various villages.

Our website is limited at present, but we hope to add further information about up and coming events and activities since Covid restrictions have been lifted and we are resuming face to face meetings once again.

We hope to continue to attract new members who will bring their knowledge and fresh skills to our u3a and be willing to share their expertise gained over the years, now that meetings have resumed.

There are 10 activity groups that members are enjoying once again and you can find further information about the groups by clicking on the Groups Tab in the menu heading. Other activities have been identified by our members but we need volunteers to help get them started. We are hoping new members who join us will be willing to either lead or help start up these dormant activities as soon as possible.

A Brief History of Tadcaster

The ancient market town of Tadcaster has a long and chequered history. Originally named Calcaria (place of limestone) by the Romans. It was initially a small settlement, serving as a resting place for travellers and a staging post on the London (Londinium) to York (Eboracum) road. The town also has a Quaker Burial Ground which is located on the east side of the Town on Oxton Lane just opposite Grange Road. There is an intriguing plaque set into one wall with the following inscription: 'A Quaker burial ground since 1659. This land has been given by the Society of Friends to the people of Tadcaster for ever' Sadly, in 2020 the area was quite neglected. However, there are current plants to improve the site and you can take a look at the Tadcrafters CIC website to see what plans are in place.

The town contains many historical and architectural treasures such as the 12th century St Mary's Church with its beautiful East window; the 13th century motte and ditch of the Norman Castle, the Ark, one of the oldest buildings in Tadcaster.

The earliest records suggest The Ark was possibly built in the late 15th century, although it may have been earlier. Over the following centuries the building was changed by various additions to the original structure. The name,"The Ark" is thought to have derived from the two carved heads on the corbels on the front of the building. These are said to represent Noah and his wife. In 1672 The Ark was known as Morley Hall and was licensed to hold Dissenters' meetings. The Owner, Robert Morley, was the first Tadcaster Postmaster, and is recorded as such in the Parish Register in 1653. The Ark is a uniquely built building and importantly one of the oldest buildings in Tadcaster. In 1992, Tadcaster Town Council purchased the premises to use as its Council Offices and Council Chambers. The building is now a Grade 11* listed building. Its construction has two main features and retains the large stones at the base of medieval posts. The method of construction of the two open trusses is also found in a roof at St Anthony's Hall in York dating from around 1490. If you wish to know more about this wonderful building please contact the clerk@tadcastertowncouncil.gov.uk

It is said that the building was used about 60 years earlier by some of the Pilgrim Fathers but this is probably a myth as there is no supporting evidence, and none of the Pilgrim Fathers came from the area.

Limestone has been quarried in the Tadcaster area for hundreds of years and used in many famous buildings, including a Roman Fort in York and York Minster.

The quality of the local water led to Tadcaster becoming a famous brewery town, with our beers and lagers drunk throughout the world. The oldest of our three present breweries is Samuel Smiths, dating from 1758.

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