In a passageway on private land in Castlegate, there is a stone Cross set in the wall which is thought to be the only relic of the Knights Templar’s existence in Wetherby.
Wetherby was held by the Templars until the suppression of their Order in 1311, when their estates were generally transferred to the Knights of the Hospital until 1536 and the Dissolution of the Monastic Orders under Henry VIII. The early records show that the Knights Templar had Chapels and Hospitallers in and around Wetherby , with a chapel near the bridge. This ancient stone Cross was recovered during the demolition of the entrance to the nearby Brewery with which the Knights Templar had an association. It may have been used to signify that the Brewery was exempt from paying Tithes. The Cross was mentioned by John Leland on his travels about 1540 as having seen a ‘crucem eris’ (a cross of ancient workmanship).
The Knights Templar were a Military and religious order founded in Jerusalem in the early part of the 12th Century. The Foundation of the Preceptory of the Knights Templar at Ribston took place in 1217. AD 1240 King Henry III granted the Knights Templar permission to remove the market from Walshford three miles to the north of Wetherby, to Wetherby itself. Leland thinks it was possibly at this time that the Cross was removed from Walshford to Wetherby.
Plans are in place to redevelop the adjoining buildings in which the cross is currently set. It has been agreed that once this takes place the cross will be repositioned in a place where the public can easily view it.
Thank you to Michael Hare for providing this information