Northallerton - Encyclopedia

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NORTHALLERTON, a market town in the Richmond parliamentary division of the North Riding of Yorkshire, England, 30 m. N.N.W. from York by the North Eastern railway, on which it is an important junction. Pop. of urban district (1901) 4009. It lies in a plain west of the Cleveland and Hambleton Hills, on the Sun Beck, a small tributary of the river Wiske. The church of All Saints is a large cruciform structure, Norman, Early English and Perpendicular, with a central tower 80 ft. in height. There is a grammar-school. Among the charities are a hospital founded in 1476 by Richard Moore. There are no traces of the fortified palace of the bishops of Durham, of the White Friars' monastery founded in 13J4, or of the Austin priory founded in 1341. The town has a considerable agricultural trade, and there are motor-engineering works. In the neighbourhood of Northallerton is the priory of Mount Grace, a Carthusian foundation of 1397. It consists of an outer court entered through a gatehouse, the church and chapter-house, with other buildings lying on the north side, partly surrounded by monastic dwellinghouses. These houses, with gardens attached, also surround three sides of the cloister court, which lies north of the outer court. In the vicinity are a monks' well and a ruined chapel of the 16th century.

Northallerton (Alvetune, Allerton) is said to have been a Roman station and afterwards a Saxon "burgh," but nothing is known with certainty about it before the account given in the Domesday Survey, which shows that before the Conquest Earl Edwin had held the manor, but that the Normans had destroyed it so utterly that it was still waste in 1086. Soon after his accession William Rufus gave it to the bishop of Durham, whose successors continued to hold it until it was taken over by the ecclesiastical commissioners in 1865. As a borough by prescription Northallerton returned two members to the parliament of 1298, but was not represented again until 1640, when its ancient privileges were restored. The Municipal Reform Act of 1832 reduced the number of members to one, and in 1885 the town was disfranchised. The first account of the borough and its privileges is contained in an inquisition taken in 1333 after the death of Anthony, bishop of Durham, which shows that the burgesses held the town with the markets and fairs at a fee-farm rent of 40 marks yearly, and that they had two reeves who sat in court with the bishop's bailiff to hear the disputes of the townspeople. This form of government continued until 1851, when a local board was formed, which in 1894 was superseded by an urban district council. A weekly market on Wednesday was granted by King John to the bishop in 1205. A subsequent bishop obtained a grant of a fair on St Bartholomew's day, which according to Camden (circa 1585), had become almost "the most thronged" cattle fair in England, but is no longer held. In 1317 the town was burnt by the Scots under Robert Bruce, although the burgesses paid 3000 marks that it might be spared. In consequence they were exempted from taxes in 1319.

See Victoria County History, Yorkshire; C. J. D. Ingledew, The History and Antiquities of Northallerton in the County of York (1858); J. L. Saywell, The History and Annals of Northallerton (1885).

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