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Great Driffield
Middle Street, Driffield, 2005
Driffield Town Arms
Arms of Driffield Town Council
Great Driffield is located in East Riding of Yorkshire
Great Driffield
Great Driffield
Great Driffield shown within the East Riding of Yorkshire
Population 13,080 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid reference TA023577
• London 170 mi (270 km) S
Civil parish
  • Driffield
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Postcode district YO25
Dialling code 01377
Police Humberside
Fire Humberside
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament
List of places
54°00′18″N 0°26′17″W / 54.005°N 0.438°W / 54.005; -0.438Coordinates: 54°00′18″N 0°26′17″W / 54.005°N 0.438°W / 54.005; -0.438

Driffield, also known as Great Driffield, is a market town and civil parish in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. The civil parish is formed by the town of Driffield and the village of Little Driffield. By road, it is located 70.4 miles (113.3 km) to the north-east of Sheffield, 52.8 miles (85.0 km) to the east of Leeds, 29.4 miles (47.3 km) to the east of York, 22.8 miles (36.7 km) to the north of Hull, 72.0 miles (115.9 km) south-west of Middlesbrough & 218.3 miles (351.3 km) to the north of London.

According to the 2011 UK census, Driffield parish had a population of 13,080,[1] an increase on the 2001 UK census figure of 11,477.[2]


A Bronze Age mound outside Driffield was excavated in the 19th century, the contents of which are now kept in the British Museum.[3] It includes a knife, a dagger, a beaker and a greenstone wrist-guard all dating to between 2200 and 1500 BC.


Driffield lies in the Yorkshire Wolds, on the Driffield Navigation (canal), and near the source of the River Hull. Driffield lies on the A614, A166 and B1249, and on the Yorkshire Coast rail line from Scarborough to Hull. It is situated next to Little Driffield, where King Aldfrith of Northumbria was reputedly buried, and is also very close to Nafferton, Hutton Cranswick and Wansford. Driffield is named the Capital of the Wolds, mainly through virtue of its favourable location between Bridlington, Beverley and York.

The town is served by Driffield railway station on the Yorkshire Coast Line.


The place-name 'Driffield' is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, and means 'dirty (manured) field'.[4]

Driffield is of Anglo-Saxon origin


Driffield c.1838
All Saints' Church

Driffield contains a small community hospital, small fire station, police and ambulance stations, several churches - the largest being All Saints' Parish Church, whose bells were restored for the millennium - and a fairly small high street. There is also an area of parkland close to the parish church alongside the stream (Driffield Beck) that runs roughly parallel to the high street.


Driffield is a major part of the Driffield and Rural electoral ward. This ward stretches north west to Sledmere with a total population taken at the 2011 Census of 15,199.[5]


The local cattle market, despite former glories, closed after the 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis.

Public houses include the Original Keys (formerly the Ferret and Sprout, previously the Cross Keys), the Buck, the Full Measure, the Rose and Crown and the Mariner's Arms. More recently an excellent micro-pub "The Butcher's Dog" has opened, serving a regularly changing selection of local (and sometimes not so local) craft beers and ciders.[6] Old standbys to the town's catering services include the Water Margin, Marco Polo and Mario's.

The town's main hotel is the Bell Hotel, an old coaching inn in the centre of the town, which has a substantial selection of whiskies. Its many facilities include the former town hall, which was bought by the hotel's owner and is now a function suite and gym/leisure centre. Recent additions to the town's night-time scene include Georgie's, Hotel Forty One and the London Bar. More recently, the former Norseman pub and Mavericks night club have been converted into a single premises which is being operated by J D Wetherspoon.

The town is home to the country's largest one-day annual agricultural show, as well as the Driffield Steam and Vintage Rally - an event showcasing historical vehicles including traction engines, fairground organs, tractors and vintage cars. A particular focus is placed upon agricultural history, with demonstrations of ploughing and threshing often taking place. The rally is particularly known for the Saturday evening road-run of the steam engines and other vehicles into Driffield town centre, an event which invariably attracts large crowds of spectators.


There are two infant schools, one larger primary school (Driffield Junior School) and a large secondary school, known simply as Driffield School. Driffield School contains a sixth form, and so offers education up to A level standard. The nearest independent school is Woodleigh School, North Yorkshire.

Religious sites[edit]

The church dedicated to All Saints was designated a Grade I listed building in 1963 and is now recorded in the National Heritage List for England, maintained by Historic England.[7]

There is small Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Edward that was built in 1886

The Methodist Church stands on Middle Street North and was built in 1880.

There was a second Anglican Church dedicated to Saint John located on St Johns Road.

Driffield Christian Fellowship is an Elim Pentecostal church who have a building on Wansford Road.

The Congregational Church is situated on Exchange Street.

The Salvation Army have a building on The Mount.

Churches Together In Driffield incorporates all but the Congregational church and they seek to work together for the good of the town of Driffield.


It is also tradition for the townspeople of Driffield to congregate in the market place on New Year's Eve and listen for the church bells ringing in the new year.
Scrambling This age-old tradition is unique to the town of Driffield and has its origins in the 18th century. The event takes place a couple of days into the New Year. Children walk through the main street shouting an ancient rhyme to shopkeepers in return for money and goodies.....The cry is.... "Here we are at our town end...A Bottle of rum and a crown to spend...Are we downhearted?..No!...Shall we win?...Yes!..."


Driffield was formerly home to Driffield Mariners Football Club, who have won three Hull Sunday League titles in recent years.

The town has a cricket club in which its first team play in the ECB Yorkshire Premier League North. First class cricketers Andrew Gale, Richard Pyrah, Steven Patterson, Jonny Bairstow and Ishara Amerasinghe have all played for the club.

Driffield RUFC is a member of the RFU and Yorkshire RFU, playing its senior fixtures in North One East. The club field four senior teams, a colts team and mini/juniors (at every age group from under 7's to under 17's).[8]

Driffield Hockey Club play their home matches at Driffield Sports Centre and currently field three men's teams and four ladies' teams, as well as juniors and vets sections.[9] For a catchment area the size of Driffield, the club is relatively successful, with both the men's and ladies first XIs being promoted from their respective YHA Yorkshire Premier Divisions at the end of the 2013/14 season (6th tier of English Hockey) to the North League Division 2 East and North League Division 2 South East respectively (5th tier of English Hockey).[10]

Driffield has an 18-hole golf club that has been at its present location since 1934.

Driffield boasts a state-of-the-art sports centre located on Bridlington Road, replacing the old sports centre (now owned by Driffield School.) The new sports centre includes a main pool and learner pool, sports hall, a 50-piece gym, in line with the successful East Riding Leisure Tone Zone brand and a studio/multi-use room.


Mick Woodmansey, drummer with David Bowie's band the Spiders (originally called the Hype) from 1970, was born in Victoria Road, Driffield.

The Manchester band Happy Mondays recorded their second album Bummed at the Slaughterhouse, a studio that has since burnt down, in Driffield in 1988.

Driffield was mentioned in Series 3 Episode 3 of Jonathan Harvey's hit BBC comedy Gimme Gimme Gimme starring Kathy Burke and James Dreyfus.

In Series 2 of Monty Python's Flying Circus Michael Palin announces that "The Silly Party have taken Driffield".

Driffield was home to one of the finest of English 19th century woodblock colour printers, Benjamin Fawcett, and the artist who worked for him, Alexander Francis Lydon.

The town is twinned with Saint Affrique, France.

RAF Driffield was targeted by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. On 15 August 1940, a raid by Junkers 88s resulted in 14 deaths and many injuries. RAF Driffield was the site of the first death in the WAAF during the Second World War.

The BBC reported that "Driffield couple remarry 57 years after divorce" on 27 January 2011.[11]

Facts from this Wikipedia page were quoted by Viking FM DJ Sean Goldsmith on his Breakfast Show on 16 July 2014.

In 2015, a survey by OneFamily listed Driffield as no. 19 in the Best Places to Live in England.


The local radio station to Beverley is 'The Sound of East Yorkshire' 107.8 Beverley FM, which serves a wide area of the East Riding of Yorkshire from its studios based in the town of Beverley.

August 2015 saw the launch of a new local newspaper, the Driffield & Wolds Weekly.


  1. ^ a b "Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics: Area: Driffield CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Driffield CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  3. ^ British Museum Collection
  4. ^ Ekwall, Eilert. Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. p. 151. 
  5. ^ "Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics - Area: Driffield and Rural (Ward)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  6. ^ http://www.thebutchersdog.co.uk/
  7. ^ Historic England. "Church of All Saints (1083378)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  8. ^ "Driffield RUFC". Driffield Rugby Union Football Club. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  9. ^ Driffield Hockey Club, Retrieved 21 February 2014
  10. ^ Yorkshire Hockey Association, Retrieved 21 February 2014
  11. ^ "Driffield couple remarry 57 years after divorce". BBC News Online. BBC. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  • Gazetteer — A–Z of Towns Villages and Hamlets. East Riding of Yorkshire Council. 2006. p. 5. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Driffield at Wikimedia Commons