Our chosen site for the Ruby Country Market is in the midst of the Ruby Country which includes the two Market Towns of Hatherleigh and Holsworthy, numerous villages, hamlets, isolated farms and smallholdings. We have lots of space, with the original market buildings including a large hall,(Food Hall) a cattle pen area (Bull Pens), sheep pens (Main Hall) and 7 acres of outside hard standing area and a huge car park.
Hatherleigh is a lovely ancient market town set amid rolling hills and green fields in a very agricultural part of the Devon countryside with its own charm and character. It is pleasantly situated on the banks of the Lew, about 1 mile south of the river Torridge.
The town dates back to Anglo Saxon times when it was called ‘Haegporn Leah’ meaning Hawthorn Glade although a small community had established itself by the river as early as 879 A.D. In 1220 a charter was granted by Henry III for a weekly market and a two day fair on the feast of John the Baptist, these early market beginnings represented a high spot in social life when transport was difficult.
During the reign of Cromwells & the Stuarts, Hatherleigh was involved in the wool trade and very prosperous. The fleeces were sorted and washed in buildings in the square with local woman doing the spinning. In 1693 a charter was granted by William & Mary to the Lord of the Manor, John Arscott, to hold a market on Tuesday of every week. In 1741 smallpox killed a lot of the population of Hatherleigh and the wool industry was overtaken by cotton mills. The market continued in the Square with sheep & cattle being held in rows up and down the roads leading to it. Many buildings were lost to fires in the 1800’s including the Market House which was rebuilt in 1840 at a cost of £280. ( later demolished in 1973).
The market flourished in the Square, improved roads and transportation meant that stock and customers could come from further afield so in 1936 it moved to its present site Hole Meadow. In 1940 once building works had been completed Hatherleigh Cattle Market was formally opened. Agriculture and its associated trades continued to be the main income provider for the town which suffered severely in 2001 from the outbreak of Foot and Mouth ,devastating the community with effects still being felt a decade on.
The Ruby Country Market ( established in 2012) is an Exciting Venue where the local community and economy can benefit and once again ‘On market days a whole host of stalls and outlets will spring up throughout the extensive outside area & undercover sheds with a buzz of eclectic characters buying, selling, gossiping and mooching about bargain hunting!.’