1 Start in the Market Place at St Michael's Church, a 12th century chapel of ease belonging to St Mary's Church at Old Malton. While it has Norman origins very few parts from this date remain, the tower was added in the 1400s and it has seen a series of restorations since. Two of the three main bells date back to the late 17th century.
2 With your back to the entrance of the church you will see the Stone Pillar that was once the site of the market cross. The first public gas lamp was erected here in 1836. George Fox preached here in 1652 and a large crowd gathered and watched as Friends burnt silk, lace, ribbons and other commodities as a protest against vanity and luxuries. There was also a Bull Ring situated 7 yards west of this stone that was used for bull baiting, once a legal activity.
3 Now cross the Market Place towards Paley's greengrocers and go through the archway between Lloyds Pharmacy and the Chancery Coffee House. This is Chancery Lane, once called Pudding Lane, and down here on the left is the old Corn Exchange, built by Lord Fitzwilliam in 1845 after the cabinetmaker's shop that once stood here was burnt down. The Corn Exchange was never used for the purpose it was intended as it proved to be impractical but by the late 1800s it had become the main place for hiring's in the town. Today the building is now the Lanes shopping mall and the Palace cinema.
4 As you pass the cinema you will see on the right with its shuttered windows, what has become known as The Dickens House. It is believed to be Scrooge's Counting House in 'A Christmas Carol' by the famous novelist. Charles Dickens visited Malton as his brother; Alfred Lambert Dickens was living in the area and working as an engineer on the railway at the time. Charles' friend, Charles Smithson, ran a solicitor's office from these rooms. The fire at the cabinet shop across the way seriously jeopardised this building; it is now the Counting House Museum. The post office was once situated in this Lane.
5 Carry on to the end of the lane and cross Yorkersgate to the George Hotel. It was previously known as the Black Horse, built about 1720 at a time when the river was being made navigable to the Humber. Small vessels had always been able to get to the sea from Malton but the work on the river following the Navigation Act of 1701 meant that much larger cargo vessels could use the Derwent. Water Lane led straight down to the riverhead and most goods had to come and go this way. The Inn provided accommodation for the boat people who were employed in the river trade. The Davidson's took over the Inn in 1855, they renamed it The George and the archway was built in 1880 to provide additional accommodation.
6 Facing the George Hotel turn right and continue up Yorkersgate. Looking over to the right side of the road you will see the Subscription Rooms built in 1814 by the Fitzwilliam family. These rooms have played host to various events and occupations throughout history especially for the upper classes. They housed a library, reading room, museum of natural history and curiosities in addition to a theatre.
7 Carry along Yorkersgate until you come to a gap just before the grand York House. Look down into the yard and you will see Owston Warehouse by the river that is currently being restored. Used for storage and unloading goods brought to Malton it is one of the few remnants of the days of the river trade and Navigation Wharf as this section of the river was known. The exact date of building is not clear but it was certainly before 1790. The photo is taken from the walkway at the other side of the river.
8 Carry on along Yorkersgate and you will see the very distinctive York House, built in at least the 15th century and perhaps earlier, probably by the Gilbertine Monks from Old Malton. It fell into the ownership of the Strickland's and they made significant changes to the house after 1682. The Watson-Wentworth family purchased all Strickland holdings in the 1700s including York House. This family and the Fitzwilliam's were joined by marriage in the mid 1700s and so the inheritance of both estates was combined. Further alterations were carried on at York House in the 18th century.
9 Next door to York House is the Talbot Hotel, the core of which was acquired by Sir William Strickland in 1672 to use as a town house or hunting lodge. Around 1713 it was purchased by Sir Thomas Watson Wentworth and the building was further aggrandised and turned into a hotel. For the years that followed it provided high quality accommodation for the sporting gentry. In the mid 1800s it was frequented by the famous racehorse trainer at Whitewall Stables, John Scott, known as the 'Wizard of the North'. Like many other buildings in town it possesses a secret passageway down to the river.
10 Looking over the wall from the Talbot the views stretch across to Whitewall and Langton Wolds where the famous racecourse, long gone, was once situated. In the 1600s a spring with similar properties to the spa at Scarborough was discovered about 200 yards west of here down by the river. In 1721 Sir William Strickland leased this land known as Browse Close to extend the gardens and it included the Spa or well. The terms of the lease provided unrestricted access to all the people of Malton to take the waters. Malton Spa became an attraction here after other towns such as Scarborough and Bath developed the idea of healthy 'Spa Waters' in the 18th century. This led to the construction of a Spa Building and extensive leisure gardens but eventually it lost its popularity and the spring became lost under stones and debris.
11 Carry on along Yorkersgate until you see the War Memorial on your right. Once a cannon stood here, claimed at Sebastopal by allied armies in the Crimean War 1855. It originally stood in the Market Place until 1883 when it was moved here along with a German gun from WW1; they both went for scrap in WW2 along with the iron railings that surrounded the plot. The present War Memorial commemorates the lives of those who died for our country during both world wars.
12 Opposite the War Memorial you will see the Mount Hotel. This was once Prospect House, built in 1865-66 and shortly after completion it became St. Michael's School, a private establishment for girls both boarders and day scholars between the ages of 5 and 17.
13 Walk back down Yorkersgate passing the Vanburgh Arch (Stable Block Gateway) on your left. It is thought that it once led to the Talbot stables. It is built in the style of the famous Vanburgh who designed Castle Howard, although recent studies have revealed it to have been built 1800-50s long after his death. In the yard are the largely intact late Georgian stables, as well as an early coach-house.
14 Carry on down Yorkersgate taking the first left up Market Place. Along here you will come to the Green Man dating from the 18th century. As you can see by the style this was once two separate inns but in 1977 the Fleece Inn or Golden Fleece, situated next door that dates back to the 15th century, was incorporated into the Green Man. In 1830 Margaret Peckett stole money from the landlady and staff at the Fleece and received 6 months hard labour at Northallerton Jail. She then stole from a stagecoach, was caught and taken to York Castle where she escaped in 1834, was recaptured and sentenced to 14 years transportation to Australia.
15 Further along this side of the Market Place, is the King's Head, once the principal inn in Malton. It is said that between 1715 and 1730 contested elections took place here from a balcony that is no longer evident. In 1913 the building was gutted by fire and its unusual crooked chimney was destroyed.
16 Carry on along Market Place until you reach the red pillar-box and phone booth then turn left to walk down The Shambles. These shops were built mainly for butchers that originally traded from a meat market sited along the north side of St. Michael's Church when the Cattle Market was in Market Square. When the Cattle Market moved to the present location in 1826 so did The Shambles. At one time there were 33 butcher's shops in Malton and 13 of them were here.
17 Straight ahead you will see the Cattle Market and sheep pens. This area is due to be developed in the near future and the cattle market after almost 200 years here will probably be moved to another location.
18 Walk straight on until you come to the white inn, the Spotted Cow; this Grade II listed building is more than 300 years old with traditional cruck-framed construction. A police station was once attached to the building and the prison or lock up was situated in Finkle Street.
19 Turn right into Victoria Road and you will see the Old Police House, a red brick building that became the new police house and prison about 1893. In 1901 a courthouse was added to the right. Prior to this, prisoners were taken to the court at the town hall to be tried. It is now the Old Police House Dental Practice and the Red House Dental Practice.
20 Carry on down this road until you reach the first right turn. You will see the Middlecave sign on the wall opposite, turn right here into Spital Field Court and then left into Spital Street and follow the road down to Newbiggin. This street was built outside the old town walls and the name was meant to represent a 'New Beginning' or 'New Building' for the town.
21 The white building on the opposite side of the road is the Blue Ball Inn, an old cruck house dating from the 16th century; it originally had a thatched roof. It has been an inn at least since 1823
22 Turn right onto Wheelgate then immediately right again up Finkle Street. On the left side is a private car park. This is where Malton lock-ups stood, known as 'Black Holes' there were two of them, as men and women prisoners were detained separately. They were narrow places with small iron gratings on the door and a bench for the prisoner to lie on. They were locked up until they could be tried at the Town Hall or transported to Northallerton, handcuffed and chained to a cart. There is a tale that young boys would beg ale at a public house, place a churchwarden's pipe in the keyhole of the lock-up door and then pour the liquor down the head of the pipe for the prisoner to drink. A local innkeeper used to supply them with food. The lock-ups were demolished in 1893 when a new Police House, prison and court room were built in Victoria Road.
23 Carry straight on and look across to Newgate, the road on the right. The Black Bull that once stood there was demolished to make a road. Still on Market Place you will see HSBC Bank also on the right. Previously it was the Old Angel Inn, a building that was probably medieval in origin. When it was demolished in 1791, a discovery of Edward II coins was made, and the remains of earlier buildings were found under the cellar.
24 You will see the prominent building in the Market Place that is the old Town Hall, dating from the 16th century. Important announcements were made from the stone balcony such as the results of the General Election. In the parliamentary reform of 1832 Malton was six heads short to keep two MPs. That evening three women had twins and the second member was then allowed to sit until 1865. The arches inside the building were once open and an infamous Egg and Butter market was held there regularly. The Justices Room above was enlarged in 1856 and nearly destroyed in the fire of 1877. Until the recent restoration it housed a museum but at present it is unoccupied.
25 Here in the Market Place, on Michaelmas Day there would be a fair opened by the Borough Bailiff and accompanied by the town crier. They would arrive on horses dressed in red gowns with shiny top hat and boots. The town crier would read a proclamation on the Town Hall steps. The Court Leat and Court Baron would try all cases, which arose in the fair at a court of Pie-Powder held within the market or fair precinct. Stallholders would be called upon for jury service to settle disputes over slander, battery or any other complaints such as the quality of goods sold. There would be a long stall at the bottom of the market place where everything possible would be on sale. At the Martinmas Hiring a band known as the 'Wombwells' would appear and there were side shows of 'fat ladies' 'skeleton men', 'dwarfs', etc. and one or two boxing booths. From the Black Bull, where Newgate is now, to the King's Head young men and women would stand in rows hoping to be selected by farmers to be their servants.
26 Walk around the Town Hall then across the Market Place and onto the pavement where the post office is situated. Follow the path back to Paley's, green grocers where the walk began. Continue into the car park at the left side of the shop and you will see the Milton Rooms. They were built in 1931 by the Fitzwilliam's and it was named after their family home in Peterborough. Underneath is the 19th century Masonic Rooms still in use today. The Old Globe Inn, which had stood here for 200 years, was demolished to make room for it. At the back of this building is the Subscription Rooms on Yorkersgate. The Fitzwilliam Estate presented the Milton Rooms to the town in 1948 and it has since been the venue for concerts, dances and many other social and community events.
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