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.
According to the 2001 UK census, Driffield parish had a population of 11,477.
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 Bridlington 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.
Driffield has been covered by the HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) network for mobile telephony, commonly known as 3.5G, since mid-August 2009.
Driffield contains a small community hospital, small fire, 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.
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. Old standbys to the town’s catering services include the Water Margin 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 (i.e. late 2006) to the town’s night-time scene include The Lounge 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.
The place-name ‘Driffield’ is first attested in the Domesday Book of 1086, and means ‘dirty (manured) field’.
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 has an 18-hole golf club that has been at its present location since 1934.
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 town is twinned with Saint Affrique, France.