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Middle Street, Driffield, 2005
Driffield Coat of Arms.png
Arms of Driffield Town Council
Driffield is located in East Riding of Yorkshire
Driffield shown within the East Riding of Yorkshire
Population 13,080 (2011 census)[1]
OS grid reference TA023577
• London 175 mi (282 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 70 miles (110 km) north-east of Sheffield, 29 miles (47 km) east of York, 23 miles (37 km) north of Hull, 72 miles (116 km) south-west of Middlesbrough, and 218 miles (351 km) 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.

The remains of Driffield Castle, a motte and bailey castle, sit at Moot Hill.[4]

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.


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,[5] 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,[6] and means "dirty (manured) field".[7]

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. Some stretches of Driffield Beck are popular for fishing, particularly for brown trout and grayling.[8]

The town is twinned with Saint Affrique, France.[9]


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.[10] The local Member of Parliament is Greg Knight.


A market is held in the town centre each Thursday.[11] The local cattle market closed after the 2001 UK foot and mouth crisis.[12]

Public houses include[citation needed] the Original Keys (formerly the Ferret and Sprout, previously the Cross Keys), the Buck, the Full Measure, the Royal Oak, the Blue Bell, the Star Inn, the Spread Eagle, the Mariner's Arms, the Tiger, the Middle Bar, and micro-pub The Butcher's Dog.[13] Old standbys to the town's catering services include the Water Margin, El Dorado's, Trishna's, The Scullery, Marco Polo and Muskan Spice.

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.[14] Its 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 and Hotel Forty One. 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.[citation needed]

The town is home to Driffield Show, the UK's largest one-day annual agricultural show,[15][16] as well as the Driffield Steam and Vintage Rally - an event held each August[17] 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[18][19] 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 (Driffield Northfield Infant School[20] and Driffield Church Of England Voluntary Controlled Infant School[21]), and one larger junior school (Driffield Junior School), which caters for children aged 7-11.[22] Driffield School & Sixth Form is a large secondary school that also contains a sixth form, and so offers education up to A level standard.[23] The town also includes Kings Mill Special School.[24] The nearest independent school is Pocklington School.

Religious sites[edit]

There are nine churches in Driffield, which work together as 'Churches Together in Driffield' with the exception of the Congregational Church and Bourne Methodist Church.[25]

The Anglican 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.[26] St Mary's church is within the same benefice as All Saints but actually sits in neighbouring Little Driffield.[27] (There was once a second Anglican Church in Driffield itself, dedicated to Saint John and located on St Johns Road, but it has been demolished.[28])

There is small Roman Catholic Church dedicated to Our Lady and Saint Edward that was built in 1886.[29] The Methodist Church stands on Middle Street North[30] and was built in 1880.[citation needed] Bourne Methodists is a Primitive Methodists, sited on Westgate.[31] The Salvation Army have a building on The Mount.[32]

Driffield Christian Fellowship is an Elim Pentecostal church who have a building on Wansford Road. Their church service is held in the Performing Arts Hall at Driffield School. [33] The Congregational Church is situated on Exchange Street.[34] The Revive Church meets in the Community Centre on Mill Street.[27]


The age-old tradition of Scrambling[35] 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!..."

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.


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, the first team of which 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 the North 1 East league. The club field four senior teams, a colts team and mini/juniors (at every age group from under 7's to under 17's).[36]

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.[37] 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).[38]

Driffield has an 18-hole golf club that has been at its present location since 1934.[39]

Driffield has a sports centre located on Bridlington Road, which opened in 2009 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, and a studio/multi-use room.[40]


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 BBC reported that "Driffield couple remarry 57 years after divorce" on 27 January 2011.[41]

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


A local radio station 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.[42]


  1. ^ a b UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Driffield Parish (1170211167)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 13 February 2018. 
  2. ^ "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Driffield CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 15 May 2008. 
  3. ^ "Collection search: You searched for". British Museum. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Historic England. "Moot Hill motte and bailey castle, and site of a medieval moated manor, Driffield (1015612)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "The Origin and History of the Primitive Methodist Church" (PDF). Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Great Driffield in the Domesday Book
  7. ^ Ekwall, Eilert. Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. p. 151. 
  8. ^ "About Mulberry Whin Chalkstream Flyfishing - Mulberry Whin Chalkstream Flyfishing". Retrieved 13 August 2017. 
  9. ^ "Feature: Twin Town - MyDriffield - News and features from Driffield and the Wolds". My Driffield. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  10. ^ "Key Figures for 2011 Census: Key Statistics - Area: Driffield and Rural (Ward)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "About the Town". Welcome to Driffield. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "Market forces and a family tradition". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  13. ^ "The Butcher's Dog - Real Ales - Ciders - Driffield's Micropub". The Butchers Dog. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  14. ^ "Best Western". Best Western. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  15. ^ "Driffield Show Case Study" (PDF). Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  16. ^ "Driffield Show". Welcome to Driffield. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  17. ^ "Driffield Steam and Vintage Rally". Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  18. ^ WDYUK. "Driffield Steam & Vintage Rally". Driffield Show. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  19. ^ "Steam rally road run changes". Bridlington Free Press. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  20. ^ "Driffield Northfield Infant School". East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  21. ^ "Driffield CE VC Infant School". East Riding of Yorkshire Council. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  22. ^ "Driffield Junior School - General Information". Driffield Junior School. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  23. ^ "Home". Driffield School. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  24. ^ "Kings Mill Special School". Kings Mill School. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  25. ^ "Churches Together: Churches Together in Driffield - About Us". together.ourchurchweb.org.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  26. ^ Historic England. "Church of All Saints (1083378)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Revive Church – Driffield". www.revivechurch.co.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  28. ^ "The Discovery Service". The National Archives. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  29. ^ "History". Driffield Catholic Church. 6 September 2011. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  30. ^ "Welcome - Driffield Methodist Church". Driffield Methodist Church. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  31. ^ "Churches Together: Churches Together in Driffield - Churches". together.ourchurchweb.org.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  32. ^ "Salvation Army Tea party for church funds in Driffield, East Yorkshire". Pocklington Post. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  33. ^ "Finding Us - Driffield Christian Fellowship". sites.google.com. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  34. ^ "Driffield - North East - Find a Church - Congregational Federation". www.congregational.org.uk. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  35. ^ "Driffield's scrambling tradition draws the crowds". BBC News. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  36. ^ "Driffield RUFC". Driffield Rugby Union Football Club. Retrieved 22 October 2013. 
  37. ^ Driffield Hockey Club, Retrieved 21 February 2014
  38. ^ "Yorkshire Hockey Association". Retrieved 21 February 2014. 
  39. ^ "DRIFFIELD GOLF CLUB". Driffield Golf Club. Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  40. ^ "Driffield Leisure Centre opens to public". Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  41. ^ "Driffield couple remarry 57 years after divorce". BBC News Online. BBC. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 27 January 2011. 
  42. ^ "Independent weekly claims 4,000 sale as JP rival exits patch". HoldtheFrontPage. Retrieved 10 August 2017. 
  • 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