Malton, or New Malton

MALTON, or New Malton, an ancient borough and market-town, and the head of a union, in the wapentake of Ryedale, N. riding of York, 18 miles (N. E. by N.) from York, and 213 (N. by W.) from London; containing, with the parish of Old Malton, 5317 inhabitants, of whom 4021 are in Malton. This place is of very remote antiquity; and the numerous military roads in the vicinity apparently leading to it, the remains of intrenchments yet discernible, and the many Roman coins and other relics which have been found at various times and are still occasionally discovered, seem to indicate its importance as a Roman station. From an inscription dug up in 1753, near the lodge of the castle, it would appear that the "Equites Singulares," or body guards of the emperor, were stationed here, most probably in the time of Severus. During the heptarchy, the town seems to have been a royal vill of the kings of Northumbria, of whom Edwin was saved from assassination near this place by the fidelity of his servant Lilla. A spacious castle of formidable strength was erected soon after the Conquest, by one of the De Vesci family, to whom the manor belonged, and in 1138 was seized and garrisoned by the Scots, who had made an irruption into this part of the country; the town was burnt by Archbishop Thurstan in his attempt to expel the invaders, but was rebuilt shortly afterwards, and then named New Malton. The castle was finally destroyed by Henry II. In the reign of James I., Ralph, Lord Eure, erected a handsome castellated mansion on the site of the castle; but in consequence of some disagreement between his grand-daughters and coheiresses, it was taken down, and the materials were divided between them by the sheriff of Yorkshire, in 1674: only the lodge and entrance gateways are remaining. Mary, the younger of these coheiresses, who succeeded to the manors of Old and New Malton, conveyed them by marriage to William Palmes, Esq., by whom they were transferred to Sir Thomas Wentworth, whose descendant obtained the title of Lord Malton, and was afterwards created Marquess of Rockingham; on the death of the last marquess, in 1782, the title became extinct, and the manor passed to his nephew, the late Earl Fitzwilliam.

The town is pleasantly situated on elevated ground, on the north side of the river Derwent, which, flowing through the adjacent valley, forms a boundary between the East and North ridings. It is above half a mile in length, and consists of several streets diverging from a spacious market place. The houses are generally well built, and many of them, both in the town and suburbs, are handsome and of modern erection; the streets are lighted with gas from works originally constructed in 1832, by Messrs. John and James Malam, and purchased for £4000, by a proprietary of £10 shareholders, in 1836. A theatre, and a commodious suite of public rooms, were erected in 1814: the theatre has been converted into a mechanics' institution, consisting of 400 members, with a library of 1000 volumes; and the public rooms comprise a subscription library and newsroom, assembly and concert rooms, and accommodations for the shows of the Malton Horticultural Society. The Talbot hotel is situated in elevated grounds tastefully laid out, and formed into a fine terrace with hanging gardens, commanding a good view of the course of the Derwent through its fertile and picturesque vale, and affording a delightful and well-frequented promenade. Over the river is a stone bridge of three arches, connecting the town with the populous suburb of Norton, in the East riding. The Derwent, made navigable from Malton to the river Ouse in the reign of Anne, furnishes a means of communication with Hull, Leeds, and Halifax; and a considerable trade in corn, butter, hams, and other provisions, is carried on with those towns, from which groceries, coal, woollen-cloths, and various other articles are received in return. There is direct railway communication with York on the one side, and with Scarborough and Whitby on the other; and in 1846 an act was passed for making a railway to Thirsk, 23¼ miles long: another act was passed in 1846 for a railway to Driffield, 19 miles in length. Here are two iron-foundries, some small manufactories for linen, gloves, hats, and pelts, and several flour-mills, breweries, and large malting establishments. The market, which is on Saturday, is amply supplied with corn, cattle, and provisions of every kind. The market-place is spacious; and on the west side of the town is the cattle-market, occupying an open area of three acres, near which slaughter-houses have been erected by Earl Fitzwilliam. Fairs, chiefly for cattle, are held during the week before Palm-Sunday, on the Saturday before Whit-Sunday, on the 15th of July, the 11th and 12th of October, and the Saturday before Martinmas. During the week before Palm-Sunday, great numbers of horses are exhibited for sale, and races frequently take place.

The inhabitants had anciently a charter of incorporation, and the borough was governed by two bailiffs, till the reign of Charles II., when, on a writ of Quo warranto, judgment was given in favour of the crown, and the town was placed under the control of a bailiff appointed by the lord of the manor. It first sent representatives to parliament in the reign of Edward I.; at that time the prior of Old Malton, who was one of the members, was arrested on his return from the parliament, for debt, but pleading his exemption while going to, or returning from, his parliamentary duties, he was liberated. The borough still returns two members, but the limits of the borough have been extended, under the Reform act, by the addition of Old Malton and Norton; the bailiff is returning officer. Petty-sessions are held every alternate Saturday, and the general quartersessions for the North riding formerly took place here: the powers of the county debt-court of Malton, established in 1847, extend over the registration-districts of Malton and Pickering. The town-hall is a neat edifice in the market-place. Malton comprises the parishes of St. Leonard and St. Michael, the former containing 2391, and the latter 1630, inhabitants; and the livings are perpetual curacies united to the living of Old Malton. The church of St. Leonard is an ancient structure in the later English style, with a spire, not carried up to its full height from an apprehension of danger to the stability of the tower. The church of St. Michael, situated in the market-place, is also ancient, in the Norman style, with a square tower. There are places of worship for Baptists, Independents, Primitive Methodists, Unitarians, and Wesleyans; and several schools. The poor-law union comprises 68 parishes or places, containing a population of 21,949, and a spacious workhouse has been erected. At the foot of an eminence called the Brows, is a chalybeate spring, similar in its properties to the waters of Scarborough; it has an appropriate building over it, and is surrounded by delightful walks.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.