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What the Dicken's, it's Malton

Free Photos, Malton, North Yorkshire

Article By: Dave Roberts

First Published: 29 August 2011

MALTON, NORTH YORKSHIRE, one of those lovely places that causes great deal of confusion in my mind, an ancient market town with one of the most attractive Market Place's in the whole of Yorkshire, yet void of the usual throng of tourists filling it's streets, a town I go to often and I wonder why it seems to have missed out on most people's list of interesting places to visit. But then maybe that's just the reason it's so alluring for me.

In fact, I would put Malton right up there with the likes of Helmsley and Pickering in terms of its attractiveness, and with the A64 full of traffic heading for the coast and the North York Moors - Malton would seem like an obvious visit, and as an added bonus, there's also free parking on offer too.

The town of Malton is steeped in history although the detail of much of Malton's history is still hotly debated. As an example, it is known that there was a Roman settlement here in Malton, but it's unclear if it was the settlement of Derventio or Delgovicia. What is known is that the remains of the settlement are located in The Castle Garden, of Orchard Fields, in Old Maltongate. A Norman Castle was once erected here in the 11th century and in 1189 was visited by King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) - just over 50 years after the Archbishop of York had burnt Malton to the ground - to flush out the occupying Scots. Other Royal visits have included King Edward II in 1307 and then in an historical twist, Robert the Bruce of Scotland visited in 1322. The Castle Garden and Orchard Fields is now a peaceful location which is popular with local people for walks and picnics.

Malton is also well known for its connection with Charles Dickens. Dickens made regular visits Malton where he stayed with his close friend Charles Smithson. Dickens is reported to have visited Malton Market and it is widely believed that it was here that Dickens became inspired to write 'A Christmas Carol'.

I deliberately shot this selection of images from around the Market Place early in the morning (at sunrise), avoiding the bustling Saturday Market, when the town is filled with stalls and customers picking up bargains. And I do mean bargains... I was there this Saturday just past and saw a lady buy three shopping bags crammed with fruit and vegetables for only £3... oh yes £1 per bag. OK, it was raining very hard and the stall-holder was selling produce off cheap, but I am reliably informed that the £1 per bag deal is a regular occurrence, and NO - he's not paying me to write this.

The shops around the Market Place are exceptionally well preserved, there isn't any evidence of the garish modern design creeping in that often blights commercial centres, so at least this part of Malton really has kept its character. From around the Market Place there are little streets and alleyways, often cobbled and heading off in all directions, and seeming untouched by modernism, it's almost like stepping back in time, of course none of this is really a surprise to me, but it does never cease to please.

Just like Malton's much larger neighbour in York, Malton boasts it's very own Shambles, a cobbled street filled with little curiosity shops, given unusual names such as 'The Corner Cupboard'. At the bottom end of the Shambles a timber wall has been adopted by local people as a large public noticeboard - this doesn't spoil, but rather adds to the character of the place (only a few weeks ago I spotted Tom Parker Bowles here reading the notices, then browsing the shops in the Shambles).

At the bottom end of the Shambles the visitor is presented with a Crescent to the right and left which incorporates more shops, bars and hotels. Straight ahead in the centre of Market Place sits the Parish Church of St Michael's, beyond which is the Milton Rooms. The Milton Rooms has been recently renovated with the mission of creating a leading arts venue for drama including visiting and in-house productions, plus visual arts and community events. Already the Milton Rooms is attracting well known actors, musicians, poets, comedians and is a very popular venue with local people.

Other popular places of interest include: The stately home of Castle Howard, the theme park and zoo at Flamingo Land, the modern history museum focussing on World War II at Eden Camp, the North York Moors National Park and of course the Yorkshire Coast.

Unlike many market towns of its size, Malton has retained its own train station connecting the town and in fact the district of Ryedale with the national rail network. Malton sits on the main east west line connecting commuters from Scarborough to Liverpool passing through the cities of York and Leeds along its route.
There is also a bus station, again connecting Malton to the national bus networks.

Would I recommend Malton as a visitor attraction to you? No, stay away - I like it as it is... but genuinely, Malton should definitely be on your list of interesting Yorkshire places to visit, and I would heartily recommend the Saturday Market too. I'll be returning with my camera and will bring you many more pics over time.

Don't forget to click the images to see them enlarged!

 

Malton Market http://www.maltonmarket.co.uk/

Malton Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malton,_North_Yorkshire

Malton History http://www.maltonhistory.info/

 

 

 

 

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