Bronze Age barrows were cleared from the Heath in the 19th century but survive as parch marks in the landscape. The massive Anglo-Saxon earthwork - called the Devil's Dyke" - testifies that the virtual enclave of the area was occupied from ancient times.
An Admiralty shutter station stood close to Warren Towers at the boundary with Moulton (TL 664 639). It was part of a chain of such stations relaying signals between the Admiralty in London and the fleet based at Great Yarmouth during the Napoleonic wars.
One of the enduring myths (started by a 19th century Vicar of Exning, who was guessing) is that Newmarket started because of the plague in Exning. Newmarket was actually granted its market charter in 1200CE. The plague came to Exning in 1227. Peter May discovered the market charter document during his research in the 1980s, whilst the Victorian Vicar had no access to this document.
The town appears on John Speed's 1610 map as "Newmerket", and on the Bodleian Library's Gough Map (thought to date from about 1400) as "Nywmarkett".
The sport of kings, or rather one particular king - Charles II - earned the town its worldwide reputation and prosperity…
The 1791 Universal British Directory lists William Day, John Grading, James Leader, Robert Ransom, John Warner and Thomas Waters as victuallers, Wm. Westley as a carpenter and victualler, and Daniel Potter and James Taylor as farmers and innkeepers.
A report in the Bury & Norwich Post** on 18 March in 1801 states that :
A licensed house, to be sold or left, 4 rooms on a floor with suitable offices, a spacious yard, stalls for 20 horses, granaries etc & late in the occupation of Mrs BRETT, the present proprietor, situate at Newmarket, adjoining the Exercising Ground…
Some details from "Suffolk Airfields in WW2" by Graham Smith.
Some historical detail supplied by Sandra Easom
(** historic newspaper information from Bob Mitchell)