Bedale is a small market town and civil parish in the district of Hambleton, North Yorkshire, England, at the foot of Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales and is popular with tourists all year around but especially so in the summer months. It was originally in Richmondshire and listed in the Domesday Book as part of Catterick wapentake, which was split and Bedale became part of Hang (so named because of the many gallows used to execute captured Scots), then split again into East Hang.
Bedale St. Gregory is the parish church in the Church of England in the rural deanery of Wensley within the Diocese of Ripon and Leeds. The current incumbent of the church is Reverend David Paton-Williams. This Gothic church retains some Catholic relics, although invading Puritans during the Civil War had vandalised a few such features. It also contains a stone Viking-era grave marker, notable for a rare depiction of the legend of Wayland Smith. There is a plaque of the previous landlords of Bedale, featuring coats of arms of these people or their families: Fitzalan, Stapleton, Grey of Rotherfield (related to Lady Jane Grey), Sheffield, de Warrene (Earl of Surrey), Brian de Thornhill, Lawrence de Thornhill, Richard, 1st Earl of Cornwall, Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster, Fitz Hugh of Tanfield, John of Brittany, Earl of Richmond, Marmion, Arthur III, Duke of Brittany and Ascough. When Scots raided the countryside, inhabitants expected to find security in the pele tower of St. Gregory's.
Lord Beaumont and baronet relatives to the Marquess of Waterford are joint lords of the manor in town, which has Georgian architecture. Existing historic buildings include an eighteenth century apothecary's store for leeches, an underground ice house used for preserving food, and the fourteenth century market cross. Bedale is home to a small museum, numerous Georgian buildings, and a station on the Wensleydale Railway, which runs to Redmire via Leyburn. The Thorp Perrow Arboretum lies nearby, as do the villages of Burneston, Burrill, Cowling, Exelby and Firby. The town is host to a plethora of local shops, pubs, and eateries all along its high street. It still holds a market every Tuesday on the cobbles that line the market place. It also has a leisure centre with full gym swimming pool, astro turf sports pitches. Bedale Athletic Sports Association club provides excellent football, cricket, hockey, squash and tennis. Bedale Golf Club is one of the finest golf courses in the local area and for the kids Big Sheep Little Cow Farm, and the Wensleydale railway are a firm favourite.
This is the site of the castle built in the reign of King Edward I of England by Sir Bryan FitzAlan, Lord of the Manor of Bedale and later Baron FitzAlan. After contributing to the defeat of Llywelyn the Last, FitzAlan succeeded the Earl of Surrey as Guardian and Keeper of Scotland for Edward I of England and fought at the Battle of Falkirk (1298) and the siege of Carlaverock in July 1300. Fitz Alan was involved in a fight with William Wallace that led to the death of a comrade-in-arms and held the castles of Dundee and Forfar, as well as those in the Scottish Lowlands: Roxburgh Castle and Jedburgh. This baron also built Killerby Castle and Askham Bryan in Yorkshire.
His co-heir jure uxoris, Sir Gilbert de Stapleton of Carleton, Knt., was a conspirator in the assassination of Piers Gaveston. Sir Miles Stapleton was a founding Knight of the Order of the Garter, who fought at the Siege of Calais and at the Battle of Crécy. The Stapletons were "Lollard knights" and were Lords of the Manor of Bedale for generations.
Bedale had traditionally been a Lancastrian area, until the Kingmaker, Clarence and Gloucester obtained Richmond and Middleham Castles. After the Battle of Bosworth Field, Francis Lovell, 1st Viscount Lovell led the charge of insurgency in the Yorkist Lovell-Stafford rebellion against Henry VII of England, attainted Earl of Richmond. The inhabitants of the region went on several recusancy strikes, such as the Pilgrimage of Grace and made trouble for John Nevill, 3rd Baron Latymer (Catherine Parr's husband before Henry VIII) in Snape Castle. This continued in the Rising of the North, with Henry VII's follower Simon Digby of Aiskew executed and replaced by Ambrose Dudley, 3rd Earl of Warwick. Political climate changed during the English Civil War, when the local sentiment was Cavalier and Middleham was once again a fortress of political entrenchment.
His daughters Agnes (b. 1298) and Katherine (b. 1300) were his co-heirs in his landed estates and manors. They were also co-heirs to his brother, Theobald. Katherine (d. before August 7, 1328) married Sir John de Grey, 1st Baron Grey of Rotherfield, K.G. (October 9, 1300 - September 1, 1359).
The estate of Bedale and the Lord of the Manor passed via the eldest daughter: Agnes FitzAlan, whose marriage was granted on May 10, 1306 (when she was aged just 8) to Sir Miles de Stapleton of Carlton, Yorkshire for his son:
From the competition markers Bedale Golf Club is a testing 18 hole, 6610 yard, par 72, SSS. 72 golf course. Its reputation continues to grow as new features are introduced and it has now become a regular venue for many prestigious regional competitions.
In the September 2007 edition of Golf Monthly magazine Bedale Golf Course was proclaimed one of the 6 best courses in Yorkshire.