Odd Fellows and Shepherds

Long before the welfare state, trade unions, NHS or personal insurance, people joined together in 'Friendly Societies' united in the concept of mutual assistance should a fellow member fall upon difficult times. Malton saw its first Shepherds Lodge in October 1837, and soon after, a second was opened, followed by a third Lodge at Old Malton. These first two Lodges at Malton were called the Victoria and Milton Lodges [1] Early in 1899 the annual report of the Free Gardeners in Malton was published [2]. It showed a net increase of six to the adult membership to 320, and there were 62 members in the Juvenile Lodge. The report went on to illustrate the benefits paid to members. £219 16s 6d had been paid out by the seniors' lodge to sick members, and £7 to the juveniles. Funeral review took a further £39 2s 8d., and doctor's salary £36 17s 6d. Clearly there were some reserves as the value of the Lily of the Valley Lodge was said to be £1,968 15s 3d, and of the Rose of Sharon Juvenile Lodge £51 1s 10d. In 1839 it was reported that 'The town of Malton is now pretty well stocked with secret orders, there being three lodges of Odd Fellows of the Manchester Unity, two lodges of Gardeners, two lodges of Shepherds, and the above court of Foresters. And that the females may be also accommodated, we have heard it said that a lodge of Shepherdesses is about to be opened.' [3] It is probable that sections of the community were not at ease with the secrecy in which these societies operated. This can be sensed from a number of reports in the newspapers promoting the benevolent aspects of membership. The Yorkshire Gazette dated 9th Feb 1839 carries a report of the funeral of Thomas Skelton, a Malton hairdresser, and which includes ' . . . The deceased has left a large family of young children, and we may mention it as a pleasing proof of the real and practical good and actual benefit resulting from the order of Odd-Fellows, that he been ill and unable to follow his vocation for the long period of a year and a half, during which time he had received efficient relief from the funds of the society. In addition to this his widow will receive the funeral donation of £10.' [4] Each society met in one of the public houses in the town:

  • Odd Fellows - Rockingham Lodge: The Old Globe Inn (York Herald 1 August 1840)
  • Odd Fellows - Wentworth Lodge: The New Globe Inn (Yorkshire Gazette 9 Feb 1839)
  • Odd Fellows - Milton Lodge: Rockingham Arms (Odd Fellows Directory, 1841)
  • Court of Ancient Foresters - Stranger's Refuge: Hare and Hounds (York Herald 1 August 1840)
  • Ancient Order of Shepherds - Victoria Lodge: Cross Keys Inn (York Herald, 30th May 1840)
  • Ancient Order of Shepherds - Milton Lodge: the house of Mr. Edward Wood, The Blue Ball Inn (York Herald, 22 June 1839)
  • Ancient Order of Shepherdesses - Shepherd's Delight Lodge: Black Horse Inn, Malton (Yorkshire Gazette 28 November 1840) Likely formed August 1840 (York Herald, 22 August 1840)
  • Order of Free and Ancient Gardeners - Rose of Sharon Lodge: the White Swan Inn, Malton (York Herald 1 August 1840)
  • Order of Free and Ancient Gardeners - Star of Bethlehem Lodge: the Old Talbot Inn, Malton (York Herald 23 May 1840)

The membership for the Odd Fellows Lodges in 1841 was as follows: Wentworth 178; Rockingham 103; and Milton 35 [5] Each society had its' own rules and customs. Funerals of deceased members were well supported and drew particular public interest. William Walker, a brewer's labourer, was a member of the Star of Bethlehem Lodge of the Order of Free and Ancient Gardeners. ' . . . About 50 of this brethren assembled at the lodge room, and went in procession, the pall bearers wearing white scarves, and the rest black scarves and white gloves, to the house of the deceased, and from thence to the Church, where the funeral service was read by the Rev. Mr. Thompson, curate, and after that the "oration" of the order, by corresponding secretary, Ruddock. The procession again formed and returned in the same manner to the lodge room . . . ' [6] The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes opened a Lodge known as the Sir Arthur Arfeston Masters Lodge in February 1919 at the King's Head Hotel, Malton [7].

  • [1] York Herald 4 November 1837
  • [2] Yorkshire Gazette, 11 February 1899
  • [3] York Herald, 13 April 1839
  • [4] Yorkshire Gazette, 9th Feb 1839
  • [5] The Odd Fellows Directory, 1841
  • [6] York Herald 23 May 1840
  • [7] Yorkshire Gazette, 8 February 1919

Independent Order of Rechabites

This was a Friendly Society formed to promote total abstinence from alcohol. The various local branches were known as 'tents'. The 'Bethesda' tent was formed on Thursday 25 June 1840 at the Temperance Coffee House, Norton [1] when 16 members were admitted. 'We understand the society is similar to the other secret orders having like them for its object the relief of its members in sickness, etc., but with this difference, that it is conducted on tee-total principles, no intoxicating liquors being allowed to be used at the meetings.' The funeral of Mr. George Reed, a member of the Bethesda Tent, No. 208, took place in June 1842 [2] 'on which occasion there was a numerous procession of Rechabites, both male and female, adults and juveniles, to follow the remains, and the streets were lined with spectators. The members wore white scarves and black rosettes, and they had a very neat effect.'

  • [1] Yorkshire Gazette, 27 June 1840
  • [2] York Herald, 25 June 1842


It is clear that a number of charities existed in Malton from early Victorian times.

The Malton Clothing Society was formed in 1839 by Mrs. Carter, the wife of Rev. Wm. Carter. At the first meeting approximately 270 women subscribed to the society, the objectives of which are to provide clothes for the labouring classes, and for poor females [1]

Malton Poor and Strangers' Friend Society - formed for the relief of the destitute and helpless poor in the town and borough, paid out £13 6s 3 1/2d to 220 needy families [2]

Malton Benevolent Society, was formed in 1787, and in October 1842 had 173 members. It celebrated its anniversary over dinner at the house of Mr. Charles Jepson of the Rose & Crown Inn [3] A summary of the accounts for the year to 1st October 1849 was published and it was reported that 51 members had been relieved [4]

In March 1864 the London Gazette carried an announcement for ' the dissolution of a Friendly Society called the New Malton Beneficent Society, held at the Royal Oak Inn, New Malton, in the county of York.' [5]

Bequests in 1867 to Malton Charities by the late James Smith of Barton Cottage, Malton included £20 to Malton Clothing Club, £30 to Malton Female Charity, £5 to Malton Poor and Strangers' Friend Society show that these charities continued to benefit the local community [6]

The St Leonard's Friendly Society had reportedly only been in existence one year when it had its annual general meeting at the Sun Inn in April 1859 [7]

  • [1] Yorkshire Gazette, 16 March 1839
  • [2] Hull Packet, 22 February 1861
  • [3] Yorkshire Gazette, 8 October 1842
  • [4] York Herald, 6 October 1849
  • [5] London Gazette, 22 March 1864
  • [6] York Herald, 31 August 1867
  • [7] Malton Messenger, 23 April 1859


The Camolodunum Lodge, 958, was formed on 25th January 1856. It met initially at the Talbot Hotel. It was consecrated on 18th March, 1856, when P.M. Cowling of York was installed as the first Worshipful Master. [2] In February 1857 the Lodge was able to meet in its' own accommodation in Yorkersgate, when Z. Mennell was installed as Worshipful Master. [1] In 1863 the Camolodunum Lodge was assigned a revised number, 660. Mr. Thomas Taylor, who carried on a grocer and provisions business in Castlegate, and confectionery and refreshment rooms in Yorkersgate was initiated in the first year. [3] Other members joining or initiated in the first year were: Rev. E. Day, R.H. Bower, R. Jones, W.C. Copperthwaite, Samuel King, Edwin Donkin, Samuel Walker, Samuel Walker, William T. Colby, Thomas Walker, Thomas Buxton, R. Bankes, William Love, Walter Taylor, H. Smithson, John Marshall, Rev. Daniel Ace, Thomas Taylor, Kirton Waudby, William Wilson, William Spaven, Digby Cayley, William Snow, John Staniland, Samuel Waud, William George Searle. [4] Worshipful Masters were generally installed at the annual meetings which took place each January or February. The following held office for the years shown. My thanks to David Batley for completing what I could not glean from the newspapers.

  • 1856 Mr. Cowling
  • 1857 Z. Mennell
  • 1858 W.C. Copperthwaite
  • 1859 R. Jones
  • 1860 S. King
  • 1861 J. Smith
  • 1862 S. Walker
  • 1863 J. Brown
  • 1864 J. Staniland
  • 1865 R.H. Bower
  • 1866 C.G. Bond
  • 1867 J. Marshall
  • 1868 A.J. Taylor
  • 1869 W.C. Copperthwaite
  • 1870 Joseph Sowray
  • 1871 W. Wilson
  • 1872 W.H. Rose
  • 1873 G. Russell
  • 1874 C.H. Priestley
  • 1875 John Hudson
  • 1876 Robert Bankes
  • 1877 Thomas Clough
  • 1878 William King
  • 1879 William King
  • 1880 A.W. Walker
  • 1881 John W. Marshall
  • 1882 W. Constable
  • 1883 Richard J. Smithson
  • 1884 J.D. Dodsworth
  • 1885 Thos. M. Goldie
  • 1886 John B. Nicholls
  • 1887 James Buckle
  • 1888 Moses F.W. Williamson
  • 1889 W.R. Metcalfe
  • 1890 W.H. Rose
  • 1891 R.G. Lucas
  • 1892 Rev. E.A.B. Pitman
  • 1893 W.J. Marshall
  • 1894 E.K. Spiegelhalter
  • 1895 S. Wallgate
  • 1896 John Spanton
  • 1897 R.S. Pears
  • 1898 W.G.T. Rase
  • 1899 Samuel Ridge

The King Edwin Chapter was instituted in 1868. The warrant authorising its foundation states: 'We do hereby, with the consent of our said Grand Chapter grant unto the said companions this our charter of constitution to be held and attached to the warrant of Lodge No 660 called the Camalodunum Lodge with full power for them, their companions, and successors, to open and to hold a chapter of our order at the Freemasons' Hall, New Malton, Yorkshire, or at such other place, and such time as our said companions and their successors shall with the consent of us and our successors, grand officers for the time being, think meet. The first chapter to be opened on Wednesday the 11th day of December, now next ensuing by the title of the King Edwin Chapter. [3]

  • [1] Yorkshire Gazette, 24th February 1857
  • [2] Malton & Norton Gazette, 5 April 1856
  • [3] York Herald, 2nd December 1893
  • [4] Yorkshire Gazette, 3 March 1928

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