Malton, North Yorkshire

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Coordinates: 54°08′20″N 0°47′31″W / 54.139°N 0.792°W / 54.139; -0.792

Church Festival.JPG
Food stalls in Malton
Malton is located in North Yorkshire
 Malton shown within North Yorkshire
Population 12,520 
OS grid reference SE788722
    - London 180 mi (290 km)  S
District Ryedale
Shire county North Yorkshire
Region Yorkshire and the Humber
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town MALTON
Postcode district YO17
Dialling code 01653
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
UK Parliament Thirsk and Malton
List of places

Malton is a market town and civil parish in North Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the North Riding of Yorkshire, the town is the location of the offices of Ryedale District Council and has a population of around 13,000 people.

It is located to the north of the River Derwent which forms the historic boundary between the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire.

Facing Malton on the other side of the Derwent is Norton. The Karro Food Group (formerly known as Malton Bacon Factory), Malton bus station and Malton railway station are located in Norton-on-Derwent.

Malton is the local area's commercial and retail centre. In the town centre there are small traditional independent shops and high street names. The market place has recently become a meeting area with a number of coffee bars and cafés opening all day to complement the public houses.



The town stands on the site of a former Roman settlement, although no firm conclusion has been agreed upon as to where this settlement actually was. The uncertainty surrounds, in particular, the exact location of the Roman town of Derventio. Contradictory records describe Derventio as being either 7 miles (11 km) or 17 miles (27 km) east of York. The former is consistent with the site of a Roman settlement known to have existed in proximity to the current village of Stamford Bridge, in which case the settlement at Malton is more likely to have been Delgovicia. The latter places Derventio at Malton.

If there is still academic debate about the name, what is certain is that Roman Malton was, from the second half of the first century, a busy and a lively place. Consisting firstly of the important cavalry fort whose remains lie in Old Malton under the former pasture land known as Orchard Fields, right beside a disused railway cutting, it eventually extended to include an adjoining area of civil settlement or vicus on the north bank, immediately south of the fort and sited above the necessary river crossing or bridge(s) below. Right opposite, on the southern side of the modern river Derwent (whose name is immediately traceable back to that Derventio commonly suggested as most likely place name in Roman times) was an area of 'grid iron' street planning and metal workshops which we know from an inscription included a goldsmith’s shop managed for its owner by a young slave. These ‘planned’ Roman streets on the south bank therefore seem natural precursor to the more industrial atmosphere and activity which modern Norton still retains today, whilst Roman Malton across the river could boast at least one fine townhouse that was furnished with painted walls, mosaic floors, heated rooms and sculptural architectural decoration, examples of which are held by Malton Museum, but are not on public view. The Museum's premises in the Old Town Hall closed at the end of February 2012, and the Trustees are currently looking for a new home for the collection.

Likewise, what we know of Roman horse-keeping activity seems to echo modern Malton’s continuing reputation as another Yorkshire town significant for racehorse breeding and training. Derventio itself was a strategically important cavalry fort, 17 miles from the Legionary fortress at York (Eboracum) and standing at the very hub of Roman road networks extending right across North and East Yorkshire. Its known garrison, the Ala Picentiana, was a regiment or cavalry 'wing' of some repute, one arguably traceable from its first being raised in Gaul (modern France) under Julius Caesar himself; to its later serving in the Balkans (under a man called Picens whom the regiment is believed to be named after) before eventual posting to Britain. Marcus Claudius Bassus was a known commander of the regiment whilst in Malton, but another man called Candidus and his own links with the Ala at Derventio receive permanent record in a beautifully lettered fragmentary dedication stone set up by the unit commander outside the south-east gate of the fort, then eventually found in 1970 before going on display in the Old Town Hall today.

As well as York itself, their road network shows us what key strategic and social links there were for Malton to the only other important Roman town located within the territory of the local Celtic tribe, the Parisii; namely their tribal capital, Roman naval-base and major ferry-crossing sited at Brough-on-Humber (Petuaria). As the historical novelist Clive Ashman so vividly puts it in MOSAIC – the Pavement that Walked (Voreda Books), his fictionalised account of not only the true-life, 1948 theft of a Roman mosaic from Brough, but also the original fate of the Roman villa it came from (and of the Ala Picentiana itself): "As for the glorious Ala traceable back to Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, it is an inevitable truth that hundreds of years later there came one final day when its men rode jingling out of Derventio fort, never to be seen there again."

Once the Ala had gone, it was replaced towards the end of the Romans’ 350-year occupation by an irregular unit sent up from Brough – the Numerus Supervenientum Petuarensium. This proved just a temporary measure in what became ever darker times. From 367 AD until the last Roman troops withdrew around 405 AD, Roman Malton was attacked and ruined several times – by the end it was not much better than an enclosure of fallen rubble they were vainly cutting their fresh defensive ditches around. What they made of it all we can only guess, but we do know that these people living amongst the ruins of Roman Malton were about to enter that long period known to us now as the Dark Ages.


In the 11th century, a wooden Norman castle, Malton Castle, was built in what is now Castle Garden. This had been rebuilt in stone by Eustace de Vescy by the time Richard the Lionheart visited the castle in 1189. Other visitors included Edward II, in 1307 and Robert the Bruce in 1322. The great house subsequently became ruined.[1]

The castle site was inherited by Lord William Eure in 1544, when he was also made a baron.[note 1] In 1569 Ralph Eure built a new house on the castle site and in 1602, the house was rebuilt in much grander style. This was a spectacular property and it was described by the diarist and gunpowder plotter Sir Henry Slingsby as the rival of many other great houses, including that at Audley End.[1]

The house was subsequently demolished in 1674 and the stones divided between two sisters, Mary (who married into the Palmes family) and Margaret Eure. They had quarrelled over their inheritance and the demolition was the settlement ordered by Sheriff Henry Marwood. The Old Lodge Hotel is the remaining fragment of the original Jacobean "prodigy house" and its size hints at the grandeur of the complete structure.[1]

18th and 19th centuries[edit]

According to contemporary archives, during the 18th century attention was paid to the improving the facilities for traders in Malton, in particular for the numerous butchers, .

The town’s Shambles, currently opposite Malton Town Hall, used to be located on the north side of St Michael's Church, which still stands in the centre of the Market Place.

The town hall was commissioned in 1749. The building was first used as a butter market, butter being the main marketable product for many farmers of the day. The town hall was extended and changed at various intervals over the years.

A sure sign of a town 'up and coming' was the advertisement of a 'light coach, setting out from Leeds to Scarborough returning to Malton to dine.'

In the last year of the 18th century, there was a famine in the area, and a soup kitchen was set up in a brew house in the town. The Earl Fitzwilliam of the time subscribed to a fund, which helped provide 'good strong soup' for the hungry poor.

In 1801 the population of Old and New Malton numbered 3,788. The workhouse contained 15 elderly people and 17 children.

In 1809 Malton’s Talbot Hotel was extended and modernised with a third floor being added and new stables being constructed across the road from the hotel.

The town’s Assembly Rooms were opened in 1814, a place in which 'polite society' could mingle. According to the 1840 edition of White’s Gazetteer, it was noted that Malton's "town and suburbs have much improved during the last twenty years, by the erection of houses; and gas works were constructed in 1832." Later the 1840 York Herald reported that Malton,s streetlights were not in working order due to flooding.

The development of the local railway network flourished during the mid-1800s – the York to Scarborough railway opened in 1845 and the Malton and Driffield Junction Railway opened in 1853.

Navigation on the River Derwent[edit]

The navigation capacity on the Derwent was one of the earliest in Britain to be significantly improved around 1725, enabling extensive barge traffic to transport goods and produce.

The navigation continued to compete with the railway, having been extended as far as Yedingham after 1810. The river’s use as a highway declined only after it was bought by the Railway itself and cheaper coal began to arrive by rail, while river maintenance was deliberately neglected.


In Mediaeval times, Malton was briefly a parliamentary borough in the 13th century, and again from 1640 to 1885; the borough was sometimes referred to as 'New Malton'. It was represented by two Members of Parliament until 1868, among them the political philosopher Edmund Burke, and by one member from 1868 to 1885.

The current Member of Parliament for Thirsk and Malton is Anne MacIntosh LLB, representing the Conservative Party.


Attractions in modern Malton include the signposted remains of the Roman fort at 'Orchard Fields', and Malton Priory a Gilbertine priory. Eden Camp, a military themed museum, is located just outside the town.

Malton Museum is located at the Subscription Rooms in Yorkersgate.[2]

Both towns are known in connection with Charles Dickens, who made regular visits to the area to see his friend Charles Smithson; he also wrote the famous novel "A Christmas Carol" while staying in Malton. There have been recent revivals of Dickens-related festivals.

Malton and the neighbouring village of Old Malton provide the settings for the collection of stories told in the book, "All is Bright - A Yorkshire Lad's Christmas" by Dave Preston.

In September 2013 Ryedale District Council issued their Local Plan Strategy. The current Local Plan, produced in September 2013, supports Malton (together with Norton, its twin town on the south side of the river Derwent) as Ryedale District’s Principal Town. The Local Plan sees Malton’s historic town centre as the thriving and attractive cultural and economic heart of the area. During the Plan’s period until 2027, Malton and Norton will be the focus for the majority of any new development and growth including new housing, employment and retail units. The Local Plan establishes a level of house-building of 200 units per annum for the whole district in order to deliver at least 3,000 (net) new homes over the period of 2012 to 2027. Approximately 50% of the planned supply – around 1,500 new homes - will be directed to Malton and Norton. A further plan for employment land is proposed for Malton. Of the 37 hectares of employment land required to meet the needs of the district until 2027, approximately 80% will be allocated towards Malton and Norton. For retail development the plan reflects Malton’s role as the main retail centre serving Ryedale, and will direct most new retail and other town centre uses to Malton in order to support and promote its role as a shopping, employment, leisure and cultural centre for Ryedale.[3]

Malton holds a market every Saturday, and a farmers' market once every month. The town has a war memorial and several historical churches (Norton-on-Derwent also holds large church buildings). The town is served by Malton railway station.

Malton is the middle-ground between York, Pickering (access to the North York Moors and also a terminus of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway), Scarborough, Filey and Whitby.

The route of The White Rose Way, a long distance walk from Leeds to Scarborough, North Yorkshire also passes through.

Malton and Norton is significant for its horse racing connections, and has a number of training stables in the vicinity.

The most recent Malton Stables Open Day, held in August 2013, showcased 19 trainer stables. Writer Norman Maitland describes the history of horse racing as "being in the blood in this part of Yorkshire for generations ..." with meetings being advertised as early as 1692.

Malton was voted one of the best places to live in Britain by The Sunday Times in March 2014.

The town has an independent cinema, which also houses the World Wide Shopping Mall, and independent retailers, high street shops, cafés, [[public house]s and restaurants.

The 300-year-old Fitzwilliam Malton Estate owns and manages commercial, residential and agricultural property in and around the town of Malton. In 1713 The Hon Thomas Watson Wentworth purchased the Manor of Malton, beginning a long association between the town and the Wentworth, Watson-Wentworth, Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, and Naylor-Leyland families. A book detailing the history since 1713 was published in 2013, entitled 300 years of continuity and change: families and business in Malton from the 18th century to the present.Template:Cite this book

We Love Malton[edit]

The 'We Love Malton' campaign was launched in March 2009. It aimed to reinvigorate the town of Malton as a 'Food Lovers' destination and raise its appeal with both residents and tourists. The most recent Food Lovers Festival took place on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 May 2014 and included the chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli, The Incredible Spice Men, and The Chiappa Sisters.

Malton Community Interest Company (Malton CIC)[edit]

Formed in 2011, Malton CIC benefits the local area with donations to local organisations, including Ryedale Book Festival. The CIC also finances and provides two hours free parking in Malton's Market Place. It helps organise and fund Malton Food Lovers Festival and the Malton Monthly Food Markets. The festival is now known as Yorkshire's Finest.[according to whom?]


Malton's churches include St Michaels Anglican church and St Leonards with St Mary catholic church. There are other churches in the area.


There are two secondary schools in Malton and Norton, Malton School, founded in 1547, and Norton College. Primary education is provided by St Mary's RC Primary School, Norton Community Primary School and Malton Community Primary School.


As with the rest of the British Isles and Yorkshire, Malton possesses a maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. The nearest Met Office weather station for which records are available is High Mowthorpe, about 6 miles (10 km) east of the town centre. Due to its lower elevation, the town centre is likely to be marginally warmer than High Mowthorpe throughout the year.

Climate data for High Mowthorpe 175m asl, 1971-2000, Extremes 1960-
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.3
Average high °C (°F) 5.1
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
Record low °C (°F) −10.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 68.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 48.4 66.1 99.8 134.4 186.9 173.1 179.5 173.9 130.8 100.8 62.7 41.5 1,397.9
Source #1: Met Office[4]
Source #2: Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute[5]


Malton is on the A64, which runs from Leeds and York to Scarborough, at the junction with the A169 to Pickering and Whitby.

Malton railway station is on the TransPennine Express route, with fast trains every hour running from Scarborough to York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. Current fastest train time from Malton to London Kings Cross (with one change at York) is approximately 2 hours 33 minutes, while Malton to Leeds can take as little as 51 minutes. There are plans to re-open the old rail link between Malton and Pickering, by the heritage North Yorkshire Moors Railway that would re-create services from Malton to Whitby at a distance of 32 miles (51 km).

Malton's bus service is run by Coastliner, a division of the TransDev bus group. Buses run from Leeds and York through Malton to Pickering/Whitby, Scarborough, and Bridlington. There are also regular buses to Castle Howard and Hovingham, and a number of local bus routes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Eure family had a long and interesting connection with the area – William's son Ralph, born in 1510, defended Scarborough Castle against the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536 and became Warden of the East Marches. He was also involved in the burning of Edinburgh in 1544. The exploits of this bloody warrior are commemorated in Sir Walter Scott's poem entitled 'Lord Eurie'.


  1. ^ a b c "Malton Castle Garden". Derwent Riverside Project. 2008. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "High Mowthorpe Averages". UKMO. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "High Mowthorpe extremes". KNMI. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  • Derventio - (Malton) Roman Fort and Civilian Settlement L. Peter Wenham (Cameo Books 1974)
  • The Romans In East Yorkshire John H. Rumsby, English Life Publications 1980
  • Mosaic – the Pavement that Walked Clive Ashman (Voreda Books, London, 2008: ISBN 978-0-9556398-0-7)
  • 300 years of continuity and change: families and business in Malton from the 18th century to the present. Norman Maitland, published by Malton CIC in 2013.

External links[edit]

Media related to Malton, North Yorkshire at Wikimedia Commons