"MASHAM, is a small and respectable market town, in the parish of its name, partly in the liberty of St. Peter of York, but chiefly in the eastern division of the wapentake of Hang, North Riding ; 34 miles n.w. from York, 17 s from Richmond, 17 n.w. from Boroughbridge, 6 s from Bedale, and 10 s.e. from Middleham. The town is most delightfully situated on the western bank of the river Ure, and the adjacent country is abundantly fertile. In addition to agricultural pursuits, numbers of men are employed in the combing of wool, some of the females in manufacturing a coarse straw plat for bats, and at a distance of about half a mile is an extensive flax mill, which affords employment to many others, men, women, and children. A court leet is held annually, at which a constable is appointed ; the jurisdiction of the court also extending to the recovery of debts under 40s.
The places of worship are the parish church, and chapels for Wesleyan methodists and baptists. The church, dedicated to St. Mary, is a small but handsome edifice, in the English style of architecture, with a tower surmounted by a lofty and elegant spire. The living is a vicarage, with that of Kirkby Malzeard, in the patronage of the master and fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge: the present vicar is the Rev. George Waddington. Masham was formerly a prebend, and the richest in the cathedral church of York; it was dissolved and made a lay fee by Archbishop Holgate in 1546. The grammar school here was founded by William Danby, Esq. in 1760; there are about eighty boys, who are all stipendary pupils; there is likewise a free school for boys and girls. This place was anciently the residence of the baronial family of Scroop, to which belonged Henry, Lord le Scroop, lord treasurer, and Archbishop Scroop, both beheaded for high treason in the reign of Henry IV. The market, which is held on Wednesday, is but thinly attended. The fairs are the 17th & 18th of September, and during the spring every alternate Monday, for sheep and cattle. The parish of Masham contained, at the census taken in 1831, 2,995 inhabitants, and the township 1,276 of that number."
[Transcribed by Steve Garton ©2000 from
Pigot's directory (Yorkshire section) 1834]