Skipton Market is unique. Its history dates back to medieval times, when a royal charter granted consent to ‘The Lord of the Honour of Skipton Castle’ to hold a fair on Skipton High Street. This consent still holds true today – and the current owner of Skipton Castle grants the rights to hold the market on four days each week.
The historic fairs of medieval times have long since been replaced by what we now recognise as a traditional street market, but the principles are the same – a group of traders get together on the High Street, set up their stalls and sell their wares.
For many years, the market in Skipton was a place where animals were traded. The town’s close association with sheep is reflected in the name of the town. Skipton actually means ‘sheep town’ – so the historic link will always remain.
On each market day, stalls are erected on the area of the High Street known as the ‘setts’. These are, in effect, cobbled areas between the formal footpaths and the main road.