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Northallerton, North Riding of Yorkshire

Historical Description

Northallerton, a market-town, a township, and a parish in the N.R. Yorkshire. The town stands on Ermine Street, on a small affluent of the river Wiske, and on the Leeds and Stockton branch of the N.E.R., near its intersection with the main line from York to Newcastle, and near the junction of the branch line to Leyburn, 14 miles from Darlington, and 32 NNW of York. It occupies the site of a Roman station, traces of which, in a circular wall, a wooden floor, coins, and other relics, were discovered at the forming of the railway. It was a place of some importance in the Saxon times; was known at Domesday as Alreton and Alvertune; took the prefix of north to distinguish it from Allerton Mauleverer; and was given by William Rufus to the Bishops of Durham. A castle was built on its W side by one of the bishops in the time of Henry I.; was surprised and burnt along with the town in 1318 by the Scots under Robert Bruce; and has completely disappeared. The famous Battle of the Standard in 1138 between the English and the Scots was fought in the neighbourhood, and within the parish at Cowton Moor, and the scene of it bears the name of Standard Hill. A curious ancient sword was exhumed there a few years ago, and certain spots where the slain were buried are called Scots' Pits. The army of the Duke of Cumberland, in 1745, on their way to encounter the rebel forces of The Pretender, encamped on the Castle Hill. An Augustinian friary was founded at the town in 1341 by William de Alverton or Allerton, and has left some traces. A Carmelite friary was founded in 1354 by Bishop Hatfield, and also has left some vestiges. An hospital, dedicated to St James, was founded about a mile from the town in the time of Richard I. or in that of Henry II. by Bishop Persne; maintained a master, three chaplains, four brethren, two sisters, and nine poor persons; went at the dissolution to Sir Richard Morysine; and by exchange for other property passed to Christ Church, Oxford. Rymer the author of "Fcedera," Kettlewell the theologian, and perhaps Archdeacon Balguy were natives; and George I., when merely elector of Hanover, took from Northallerton the title of Viscount.

The town stands on a gentle eminence sloping toward the W; consists chiefly of one long broad street, irregularly aligned and well built; includes a spacious market-place, and is a cleanly, healthy, and flourishing place. The sessions-house is a handsome edifice erected in 1780, and comprising two courthouses, in which the quarter sessions for the North Riding and petty sessions are lield. The county house of correction was built upon Howard's plan. The railway station is ornamental. The parish church or Church of All Saints is large and ancient; was preceded on the same site by a church dating from 630; is partly Norman, Early English, and Perpendicular; is commonly described as cruciform, but is not regular in plan; has a central tower crowned with pinnacles at the angles; and contains several monuments. In 1883 the nave, aisles, tower, and transepts were thoroughly restored; in 1885 the chancel was rebuilt, and in 1887 a new organ was erected. There are Congregational, Baptist, Wesleyan, Primitive Methodist, and Roman Catholic chapels, a grammar school, a handsome and commodious national school, and a Maison Dieu, founded in 1476 by Roger de Moore. The grammar school was founded in the 14th century by a canon of Durham, and has an endowment of £20 per annum; it gives a free education to a few boys, and numbers among its pupils Rymer, Kettlewall, Archbishop Palliser, Dean Hicks, Dr T. Burnet, and Dr Radcliffe. The town has a head post office, three banks, a town-hall, a mechanics' institute, a workhouse, and a cemetery, and is a seat of quarter sessions and county courts, and the headquarters of the county constabulary. A weekly market is held on Wednesday, a cheese fair on the second Wednesday of Oct., fairs for horses, cattle, and sheep on 7 and 14 Feb. 5 and 6 May, 5 and 6 Sept., and 3 and 4 Oct. There is also an annual agricultural show in September. The principal trade is in farm produce; there are also flour mills, and tanning and brickmaking and the manufacture of saddlery and linoleum are carried on. The town is a borough by prescription; sent two members to Parliament once in the time of Edward I., and always from 1640 till the passing of the Reform Bill in 1832; underwent then an extension of borough boundaries; and sent one member until the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, was passed, when it ceased to be a separate borough, and its representation was merged into that of the Riding. The town is governed by an urban district council of twelve members. The necessary works for supplying the town with water obtained from springs at Thimbleby were completed in 1894. An efficient fire brigade, with a steam fire engine, was established in 1894.

The township comprises 3650 acres; population, 3802. The parish contains also the township of Romanby, and the ecclesiastical parishes of Brompton, Deighton, and High Worsall. The living is a vicarage, united with Deighton and Romanby, in the diocese of York; net value, £402 with residence. Patrons, the Dean and Chapter of Durham. Population of ecclesiastical parish, 4375.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyYorkshire 
Ecclesiastical parishNorthallerton All Saints 
Poor Law unionNorthallerton 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in conjunction with various Archives, Local Studies, and Family History Societies have the following parish records online for Northallerton:


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Northallerton from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for the North Riding of Yorkshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Northallerton are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following North Riding newspapers online:

CountyNorth Yorkshire
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Postal districtDL7
Post TownNorthallerton