NORTHALLERTON, a parish in the wapentake and liberty of Allertonshire; 8 miles from Bedale. 9 from Thirsk, and 16 from Richmond. This is a brisk market town, pleasantly situated on the side of a rising ground, gently sloping towards the east. Market, Wednesday. Fairs, Feb. 14, for horses and horned cattle, &c. and a week preceding, for horses only; May 5 and 6, for horses, horned cattle, sheep, leather, woollen-cloth, &c. Sept. 5 and 6, for horned cattle, sheep, leather, &c. October 3 and 4, for horned cattle, sheep, &c. second Wednesday in October for cheeses. Principal inns, Golden Lion, and Kings Head. Population 2,626. The Church, peculiar, is a vicarage, dedicated to All Saints, in the deanry of Cleveland, (see also below). Patron, the Dean and Chapter of Durham. It returns two Members to Parliament, a priviledge first granted in the 26th Edward I. The Bishop of Durham's Bailiff is the returning officer. --There are 204 burgage houses, 92 of which are the property of the Earl of Harewood, and Herny Peirse Esq.
It appears," says Mr. Gale, "to have been a Saxon borough, and like many others to have risen out of the ashes of some old Roman station, whose name we have lost," which he thinks the adjacent hamlet of Romanby, (Romanorum habitatio) sufficiently denotes; and this is confirmed, he supposes, by the ancient intrenchments near the town, called the castle-hills, On the west side of the town stood a castle, built by Rufus, bishop of Durham, in the time of Henry I. -but in Leland's time there was not a vestige of the walls remaining. -The bishop of Durham had here a palace, strong of building and well moted, as Leland says, which stood about 200 yards west of the church, but the late gothic proprietors have not left one stone upon another.
This palace, which had become ruinous in Lambard's time, seems to be the weather-beaten castle described by a singular traveller, Richard Frank, who represents it as demolished by age and ruins of time, and serving as a receptacle for bats, buzzards, owl, and jackdaws.
William de Alverton, in the 14th year of king Edward III. gave the Austin friars 8 acres of ground in this town, to build them a church and habitation thereon. -Tanner.
On the east side of the town stood a house of Carmelites, founded by Thomas Hatfield, bishop of Durham, or according to some, by king Edward III. about the year 1354, dedicated to St. Mary. It was surrendered by Will. Wommefraye and nine brethren. The site was granted (7th of Edward VI.) to Richard and H. Vavasour. -Tanner. Here was a grammar and singing school, when in 1327, the Prior of Durham presented J. Podesay to be master of it. -The present school to which the dean and chapter of that church nominate a master, is undoubtedly by the same. It appears, however, to be of royal foundation. Gale.
Near this place, that is about a mile on the road to York, was an hospital, dedicated to St. James, founded by Hugh Pudsey, bishop of Durham, or by Philip Poictou, his successor, in the reign of Richard I. -Gale.
Here is the Register-office for the North-Riding of this county, built in 1736; and the house of correction and court room, built not many years since, &c. where the general quarter sessions of the peace for the North-Riding are held.
The market place is spacious, and surrounded with very good houses: the town is, in general, well built of brick. Here stood a castle, one of the strongest fortresses in the North of England, which was repaired and enlarged by Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, but a quarrel arising betwixt that prelate and Henry II. the King ordered this castle to be razed to the foundations. While the civil war between King Stephen and the Empress Maud or Matilda, raged with destructive fury, David King of Scotland, entering the English territory, ravaged Northumberland, Durham, and the northern parts of Yorkshire, in a merciless manner, and advancing to the very gates of York, encamped before that city. In this emergency, Thurstan, Archbishop of York, who was Lieutenant Governor of the northern parts of the kingdom, summoned the warlike nobles to the defence of their country. The barons having assembled their followers, ranged themselves under the command of Ralph, Bishop of the Orkney Islands, Thurstan's Lieutenant, and Walter L'Espec, and William de Albemarle. On hearing of this armament, the Scottish king retired from before York, while the barons advanced to Northallerton. On Cuton Moor in this parish they erected their standard, which was a tall mast, fixed in a huge chariot, upon wheels, having at the top a pix, with a consecrated host, and a cross, from which were suspended the banners of St. Peter, St. John of Beverley, and St. Wilfred. the Bishop made an oration to the army, and at the conclusion pronounced absolution of their sins to all that should fall in the war. The English, thus encouraged, waited the approach of the enemy. The Scots, relying on their superiority of numbers, rushed on to the attack; but although the King of Scotland and his son, Henry, gave, on this occasion, the most astonishing proofs of valour and intrepidity, their army was totally routed, with the loss of 10,000 men, and they were glad to retire to their own country with the shattered remains of their forces. The battle was fought on the 23d of August, 1138, and from the excitation produced by the chariot-mounted banners, obtained the designation of The Battle of the Standard. In the 26th of Edward I. this borough sent two members to parliament, but for nearly four hundred years the privilege was intermitted, and it was not till the year 1640 that it was again resumed, by order of the House of Commons. Twenty years afterwards Francis Lascelles, Esq. a member of this borough, was discharged from being a member of parliament, because he had sat as one of the judges on the trial of Charles I. The right of voting here is in the burgage-holders, which amount to about two hundred in number; the bailiff of the Bishop of Durham is the returning officer, and the patronage of the borough is in the Earl of Harewood and Henry Pierse, Esq. The present members are the Hon. Sebright Lascelles, and Henry Pierse, Esq., The municipal government of the town is vested in a bailiff, deputed and authorized by the Bishop of Durham, who is lord of the manor.
The church is dedicated to All Saints; and the living is a vicarage, in the patronage of the Dean and Chapter of Durham. The ancient institutions of this place were, a hospital, dedicated to St. James, founded by Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham, for a master, three chaplains, four brethren, two sisters, and nine poor persons; Richard de Moore, draper of Northallerton, also founded a hospital here, in 1476, for thirteen poor men and women, but some of its possessions have been alienated. Here was also a House of Carmelite White Friars, dedicated to St. Mary; and William de Alverton gave the Austin Friars eight acres of ground in the town to build them a church and habitation thereon, in the 14th of Edward III.
The manufactures of this town at present are linen cloth and leather; and the law proceedings of the North Riding are a good deal concentrated in this place. The Court House is situated at the east side of the town, where the Quarter Sessions for the North Riding are held, and in which the Bishop of Durham, the Chief Bailiff for the Liberty of Allertonshire, holds his Manor and Halmote Courts, and where the magistrates, acting for the division of Allertonshire, assemble on the Wednesday weekly, to dispense justice. The Register-office of the North riding is here. The House of Correction, which is the gaol of the North Riding, stands adjoining the court house, in which are confined from time to time from 50 to 100 prisoners. About two years ago a corn mill called a stepping mill, was erected for the employment of the male and female prisoners, consisting of three pairs of stones, a dressing mill and rollers for grinding malt which has been found to answer the purpose intended by this kind of labour. Mr. Thomas Shepherd (the father of the Keepers of the West and East Riding Houses of Correction) is the Governor, and this prison has the reputation of being well conducted. The population of the place amounts to 2626.
[Description(s) edited mainly from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson. ©2010]