Welcome to the Website of
Helmsley Archaeological and Historical Society!

The Society began life as the Helmsley and Area Group of the Yorkshire Archaeological Society, and the inaugural meeting took place at the Scout Hall, Helmsley on 5th December 1950. Reminiscences of the early days of the Society are given here.

Its purpose was 'to gather together periodically for lectures and discussions on archaeological subjects, with special emphasis on local history' and to collect and record data. The Group flourished and a committed and enthusiastic membership, pre-eminent among them being Raymond Hayes, soon began the task of compiling 'The History of Helmsley, Rievaulx and District' which was published by Stonegate Press, York in 1963, edited by John McDonnell. Although long out of print, this volume remains an invaluable source of information about the town and its surroundings, and can often be found on eBay.

The first issue of the Society's biennial publication, 'The Ryedale Historian', followed in 1965 providing a vehicle for members to publish the results of their archaeological and historical research. This and subsequent issues provide evidence of the wide range of interests of the Society's Members, and activities in which they have been involved.

A brand new issue of The Ryedale Historian
(Number 29) is now available
- see here

The Society is Registered Charity (No. 1089682; its Constitution can be seen here); it currently has a membership of about one hundred.

From September to April there is a programme of illustrated lectures, one a month, held at the North York Moors National Park Authority Committee Room, Helmsley. These are on a wide range of topics, mostly concerning the archaeology and history of the local area. During the summer months, a series of visits is arranged, often to sites which have featured in the previous winter's programme.

Those wishing to apply for Individual or Family Membership of the Society should print and complete this form.