St. Mary's church was most likely originally founded in the seventh century and stood somewhere near the present Town Hall on what used to be known as Cockpit Hill. The graveyard yielded 36 burials in a recent excavation. The present church - while having some Saxon stone work and the stump of an eighth century prayer cross - is mainly Norman with fifteenth century additions. Masham was given to the York Minster in the medieval period but, as the Archbishop did not wish to make the long journey north to oversee the town's affairs, the parish was designated a Peculier.
The most important feature of the town is, without doubt, the Market Place, by far the largest in the District. It is tightly bordered on its south and west sides by ranges of two and three storey buildings. To the south-east, lies St. Mary's Church with its large churchyard. This is no doubt the most important focal point in Masham, the stone tower and steeple providing one of the most cherished views in the whole of the Harrogate District.
Of note for a relatively small town is that it is home to two working breweries, Black Sheep Brewery and Theakstons, situated a few yards from one another. It is also home to one of the oldest Markets in the UK, receiving its first market charter in 1250. Wednesday and Saturday are market days, popular among both locals and visitors. Masham's importance as a major sheep market is the reason for the huge market place and its beautiful Georgian houses. The market originally thrived because of its nearness to Jervaulx and Fountains Abbeys, with the monks' large flocks of sheep. The annual Sheep Fair is in September.
Masham is also home to the Masham Steam Engine & Fair Organ Rally. It was started in 1965 to try and raise money for the local Town Hall and it has gone from strength to strength from then on. The organisers are the Masham Town Hall Association.
Visitors mainly enjoy browsing in the town's shops, workshops and galleries, and visiting the two breweries, ancient church and Masham's rich architectural heritage. The area also abounds in pleasant walks, from gentle riverside strolls to more demanding excusions into the surrounding moorland.