Thomas Sadler

c1860-1909 It is with regret that we record the death of Mr. Thomas Sadler, of East Mount, Malton, who passed away on Saturday morning after a long and painful illness. Deceased was in his 49th year, and had resided in Malton all his life. For many years he kept the Clarence Vaults, Wheelgate, but about a year ago he gave up the licence to devote himself to farming. He was for many years a member of the Malton Urban Council, from which he retired last month owing to continued indisposition. Mr. Sadler was one of the oldest members of the Gun Club, of which he was also secretary, and he acted as treasurer of the Malton United Football Club, and chairman of the Nationall Old Guard. He was connected with the constitutional Club, the Licensed Victuallers’ Association, and the Cowkeepers’ Association; and he also integrated himself in other places of local life. He leaves a widow and grown-up family of two sons and one daughter, and much sympathy is felt with this family in their bereavement.
The respect and esteem in which the deceased was held was demonstrated by the large attendance at the funeral on Tuesday. The internment took place at the Malton Cemetery, and the service was conducted by the rev. H.J. Drummond
See full report for list of attendees etc
Yorkshire Gazette, 24 April 1909


John Scott

1794 - 1871 John Scott is one of the most familiar of names to me, but I never saw this wizard of the North whose name is always linked up with the history of Malton, and especially with the training stables at Whitewall. I am informed that the first Malton trainer was a John Hutchinson, of Hutton Rudby, but certainly the best known of all was John Scott. It has been said that he brought to the town a name and fame in the sporting world of which no other place could boast. Whether that be so or no, others are more competent to judge, but true it is that” John Scott, of Whitewall,” is still a name to conjure with throughout the country.A proof of the general interest felt in the Whitewall establishment lies in the fact that when the Yorkshire Union of Mechanics Institutes visited our town in 1894, two special visits were arranged for before the business of the day commenced – one to the abbey church of St. Mary, and the other to the training establishments at the foot of Langton Wold! (In 1862 the wold was partially enclosed, the old training ground and racecourse, known to have existed from the early part of the 17th century, being ploughed out.) In the same connection, a few older residents will remember that the late Mr. Hy. Smithson published “The Whitewall Galop,” and dedicated the song to John Scott, Esq.
John Scott was born at Chippenham, near Newmarket, in 1794, and when only 13 years old was entrusted with a mare, Tenbones, with which he won a £50 plate, and also sold the horse for a good price. He came to Malton in 1825, and at once purchased one Whitewall House. His first Derby win was for Mr Bowes (founder of the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle), with Mundag, in 1833, and this was followed by an immense number of successes, which will be found duly chronicled in the pages of the history of sport.
On John Scott’s death, it was stated that given his own time for a particular race, it was almost a matter of certainty that his horse would go to the post with the “Whitewall polish” on him. Everything he did was carried out on a princely scale, and at the same time he gave an equally cordial welcome to the humblest of his friends as to the Prime Minister of England who once stayed under his roof.John Scott had many protégés. One of these, the late Robert Peck, gave his name to a famous school of men (in sporting circles), among whom was numbered the late Lord Grenville.John Scott died very suddenly in October 1871. Only a few days previously, he had gone on to the walled in his brougham to superintend the training of some animals under his care. As the funeral passed through the town, flags were flying half-mast high from the mills, and the churches rang muffled peals. The expressions of sorrow were heartfelt and universal, and not merely in the locality, for a subscription was started in London for a public monument. I believe that this idea was carried out to a satisfactory conclusion, but my memory fails to suggest the form which the memorial took.
SPECTATOR. Maltonians of Bygone Days, X, Yorkshire Gazette, 7th January 1911

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W.G. Searle

One of the great events in the history of our town was the decision of Norton to conduct its own local government. In the negotiations necessary for this step, and in the early days of Norton’s independent existence, the late Mr. W.G. Searle was one of her skilled advisors. On this ground, as well as because of his previous public service in Malton, his business ability, and his deep interest in all local movements, Mr. Searle’s memory deserves to be kept green.
It was so long ago as 1869 that the then Malton Board of Health first received Mr. Searle as a member for the Norton Ward, his seat being that just vacated by Mr. Robert Wyse. From the first Mr. Searle was regular in attendance and showed much zeal in performing the duties of his once – so much so that no one was surprised when in 1888 he was elected Chairman of the Board. Doubtless he would have continued to fill this office with honour for long years, but in September 1889 Norton took the step already referred to.
At the first election of the Norton Board of Health Mr. Searle headed the poll in a contest in which there were seventeen candidates for nine seats. Naturally he became the first chairman of the new Board, and four years later when the Urban District Council was formed, he was elected to the same office which carried with it the honour and responsibility incident to serving as a magistrate.
I have been told many times how Mr. Searle’s fellow members of the council relied upon his never-flagging and able conduct of public business. At the time of his death Mr. Wallgate said: “He was always ready to do his duty without fear or favour.” Many improvements were carried out during his regime.
Other offices held by Mr. Searle included the Chairmanship of the Norton Burial Board and a Directorship of the Malton Gas Co. He was a Freemason, served more than once as Churchwarden of St. Nicholas Church, and took a prominent part in the local work of the Conservative party.
In business Mr. Searle proved himself far-seeing and able to cope with new conditions. He largely extended his grocery and wine and spirit merchant’s business – both of which, I believe, had been taken over from his uncle, Mr. Robert Searle.
The growth of Mr. Searle’s business may be illustrated by the fact that, in the recollection of many Nortonians, there was a time when if you went to his shop for half a stone of flour and had not a bag with you uou would be told to go home for one! It is only necessary to compare this way of doing business with the very different methods of to-day to show what an advance has been made. The present sign over the shop contains another suggestion of progress. The business is still managed by Searles, but they are the grandsons of the subject of this sketch.
Busy men rarely have many recreations. In Mr. Searle’s case I have been told that his favourite outdoor exercise was walking; and that indoors he loved nothing so well as a game at merrills.
In private life, Mr. Searle had many friends. At his death, in March of 1887, aged 78 years, he left two sons and three daughters. One of the latter married the late Mr. Samuel Chadwick, whom we all remember as a leading man of science among us; and another Mr. George Reed, the manager of Beckett’s Bank.

SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, No 19, Yorkshire Gazette, 20th January 1912

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E.F. Sewell

c1822 - 1895 One of the families which has not been represented in Malton by actual residence for many years, but which once took a leading part in the progress of our little town, is that of the Sewells, now of Whitby. Abraham Sewell was a grocer in the shop at present occupied by Mr. Clarke. He had come to our town from Yarmouth in 1836. His third child, Joseph, once tried to establish a school at Pickering. He was the first ‘Friend’ foreign missionary – to the island of Madagascar – and later on in life was the editor of the ‘Friend’ periodical. Another son, Edward fuller Sewell, succeeded Abraham Sewell in the grocery business at Malton, and married a sister of the late Mr. Henry Taylor.
Although Mr. E.F. Sewell and his family removed to Whitby about 44 years ago, they left behind them certain marks upon the life of Malton. Among these perhaps the chief one was the “Malton Messenger,” in the starting of which Mr. Sewell, Mr. Ishmael Fish, and Mr. Henry Smithson, were the most strenuous workers. Mr. Sewell was an ardent Liberal, as were his companions, and it was the intention of the trio to establish a robust Liberal organ for the town and district. This they succeeded in doing with the aid of other gentlemen, and the political colour of the newspaper remained unchanged until about 1885, after which it gradually approximated more and more to the Conservative faith.

Mention must also be made of Mr. Sewell’s earnest advocacy of the temperance cause, an interesting evidence of which still exists in the building in Finkle-st., now used as a Church Institute. Mr. Sewell was one of a band of Malton men and women who, when the Primitive Methodists built their present chapel, secured the old one as a Temperance Hall, and, if memory does not betray, there used to be an inscription in the small room behind, written by George Dinsdale, and ending up with the words, “God speed thee Edward on thy way.” That particular room was used by the Town Mission for Sunday evening services. The names of Mr. and Mrs. Witham, Mr. Henry Taylor, Mrs. Hardwick, and Mr. and Mrs. Crisp naturally come to the mind in connection with those long-past services.

At Whitby, Mr. E.F. Sewell purchased a retail and wholesale grocery business – the wholesale portion of which has grown to large dimensions as the years have passed on, under the management of Mr. J.T. Sewell, the present head of the family. Mr. Sewell’s powers of heart and mind quickly came to be appreciated in Whitby. In Temperance work, in the Y.M.C.A., in the teaching of peace principles, and the propogation of Liberalism his help was invaluable; and as long as Whitby remained a Parliamentary Borough much of the inspiration of the Liberal work was due to him. The sons and daughters who grew up round him and his wife followed his lead, and in their turn contributed to the welfare of the town and district.

My latest remembrances of Mr. Sewell are connected with the time when he was an old man, much crippled by illness. It was then that I learned how great a character he had. To me he was something of the prophet, seeing far into the things whose fringe even was complex to myself. He also possessed the mind of the poet – able to interpret mysteries to others. He himself wrote some excellent verse, notably a poem on St. John, probably inspired by F.W. Myers’ “St. Paul.” Several extremely thoughtful papers on religious subjects were published by him in various periodicals. The fact is that Mr. Sewell was a profound thinker, and it would have been well if circumstances had allowed him to give more of his time to constructive work of this character. He died in 1895, aged 73 years.
SPECTATOR Maltonians of Bygone Days, XX, Yorkshire Gazette, December 17, 1910

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Shepherdson Family

Isaac Shepherdson was a fellmonger (dealer in skins) and lived to be 91, dying in 1909. He married Mary Crow in 1843. They had children including a son, also Isaac (married 1878). In 1882, he sued his son for two guineas. The son had got into trouble and was facing gaol, being fined £2 2s. He asked his father to loan him 2 guineas, which he did. In court the son denied ever asking for the money – verdict for the father, at 10s per month [1]. Isaac senior was clearly a colourful character since a number of other brushes with the law are reported in the newspapers. In 1859 he was witness at a Coroner’s Inquest on the death of a Mr. Jennings of Burythorpe whose body had been found in the river. Isaac was examined, and two other witnesses gave contradictory evidence suggesting his cart had been used on the night that Mr. Jennings had gone missing. A verdict of ‘found drowned, there not being sufficient evidence to implicate any one’ was returned [2]. In 1861 he was charged with exposing the carcase of a horse in the street [3]. In 1862, when charged with being drunk and riotous in the public street, Isaac was described as being ‘an old and frequent offender’ and sent to prison for 7 days [4]. Isaac’s wife Mary in 1852 answered a charge of assault and beating one Mary Blackburn and was fined 5s with 11s costs [5]. In 1867, Isaac and Mary were both charged with being ‘drunk and riotous in Newbegin at half-past twelve on Sunday morning last’. They were described as both being old offenders, and have been frequently in custody on various charges for several years past. On the night of the offence Isaac was taken to the lock-up but Mary and a daughter interfered. Mary was also taken to the lock-up. The magistrate considered Mary to be the worst of the two and fined her £1 with an alternative of 14 days imprisonment. Isaac was sent to gaol for 7 days [6]. In 1883, an amusing case was heard when Isaac who was described as being ‘a man of means, and a well-known character at all the hunting and racing stables in the district’ was charged with ‘being drunk whilst in charge of a horse and carriage’. At the trial he had the court in laughter when responding to the charge including saying “I hev been in the trade fifty years and we hev to tak sumthing at tahmes for t’bad smells we hev” [7]
In October 1865, along with son William, then only 19 and who had just finished a sentence for horse stealing, was indicted for stealing a sheep [8]. William was ‘on the receiving end’ in 1871 when he brought an action in the Police Court for assault [9].
At their meeting on Wednesday, 29th May 1872 the Malton Board of Health decided to bring proceedings against Isaac for carrying out the trade of fellmonger without a licence [10].
Son Isaac, was charged with assault at the Malton Petty Sessions in 1875 [11] and in July 1880 at the Yorkshire Summer Assizes was sentenced to nine months imprisonment with hard labour (having already been in custody for three months) for ‘feloniously cutting and wounding, with intent to commit grievous bodily harm’ William Johnson, a gamekeeper in the employ of Earl Fitzwilliam, during a poaching incident at Malton [12]. In 1902, Isaac, with five others was charged by the Malton Urban Council with ‘trafficking in unsound and unwholesome food’ [13]
[1] York Herald, 16 November 1882
[2] Reynolds’s Newspaper, 12 June 1859
[3] Yorkshire Gazette, 7 October 1861
[4] Yorkshire Gazette, 20 December 1862
[5] Yorkshire Gazette, 6 March 1852
[6] Yorkshire Gazette, 8 June 1867
[7] York Herald, 5 February 1883
[8] Yorkshire Gazette, 21 October 1865
[9] York Herald, 16 September 1871
[10] York Herald, 1 June 1872
[11 York Herald, 10 May 1875
[12] York Herald, 24 July 1880
[13] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 1 October 1902


George Slater

It is with some reticence that I write of Mr. George Slater. The fact that he was so retiring in character, and thought so humbly of his own powers, suggests that he might have preferred to be left out of this gallery of local portraits. On the other hand, Mr. Slater was so true a citizen, so genial a neighbour, and so skilled a worker, that no record of Malton worthies would be complete without him.
A good test of the force of a personality is the way in which it impresses an average memory such as my own. Now if, when I cross the Mount, my mind turns towards the Slater family, at once I seem to see the tall, strongly-built figure of Mr. George making his way, with that slight unevenness of walk which everyone must have noticed, either from or to his house, The Laurels. And it does not need much effort of imagination to hear the cheery greeting with which he always honoured his acquaintances, and to feel again the assurance that in the person of George Slater one was meeting a sincere dependable and truth-seeking man.
In these facts lies the reason why I am glad to write these lines. Whatever success may attend our efforts in life, none is to be desired more than the formation of a true and open character. Parliaments may legislate, Urban Councils may carry out improvements at a minimum cost to the rates, but the best of all work (indeed the quite essential work of the world) is done by the contact of a personality like that of Mr. George Slater with other personalities.
John Ruskin once said: “The nobleness of life depends on its consistency – clearness of purpose – quiet and ceaseless energy. All doubt and repenting, and botching and retouching, and wondering what it will be best to do next, are vice, as well as misery,” This “quiet and ceaseless energy” was conspicuous in the subject of this sketch. Perhaps Mr. Slater learnt this particular secret of life from the plants which he loved? At any rate, many of us would do well to go to nature continually to learn this lesson.
I do not remember that Mr. George ever served on a local public body, unless it be that he took a part in an educational work of the town. He was, however, an enthusiastic member of the Naturalists’ Society, along with his brother, Mr. Matthew, whose presence among us to-day we so much value. Here, Mr. George’s work was mainly in relation to the science of botany and meteorology. I always regret that we have not more naturalists in our town to cultivate that interest in and love for nature which was so marked a characteristic of the subject of this sketch. Thirsk is far in front of Malton in this matter.
In business, as everyone knows, Mr. George was a partner in the well-known Slater firm, and was invariably to be found on duty in the shop at the corner of Yorkersgate and Railway-st., now in the occupation of Messrs. Longster. When Messrs. Russell and Wrangham combined forces in 1897, Mr. Slater became a director of the new firm.
When Mr. Slater died in November, 1904, in his sixty-fifth year, a widow and grown-up family, with innumerable friends, mourned his loss. One of his daughters married Mr. Alfred Smithson, the architect. His two sons left Malton some time ago.

SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, VIII, Yorkshire Gazette, 18th November 1911

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William Small

Death has removed another well-known Malton resident in the person of Mr. William Small, of Saville-st. For many years the late Mr. Small had been associated with the temperance and commercial hotel which bears his name, and the establishment was largely patronised by agriculturists and commercial travellers. The market day dinners were quite an institution, and for the first time for several years the hotel was closed on Tuesday, when the funeral took place.
Mr. Small was a native of Pickering, and for 25 years he was farm manager to Mr. Thomas Sowersby. About 35 years ago he removed to Malton, where he began the business with which he had been connected ever since. For some time he had not enjoyed good health, and he died late on Friday night. His wife predeceased him about three years ago.
In an appreciative sketch which appeared in the Malton Wesleyan Magazine, the writer of the article stated that although Mr. Small never failed to show appreciation of changes when he thought they were beneficial, he was never afraid of expressing his disapproval of anything that he considered an innovation in the wrong direction. “The average Yorkshireman is considered very shrewd, and this characteristic has been a strong feature in the life of Mr. Small. There is no mistaking the position he took up. All honour to him for his steadfastness. Throughout his long life our friend has been true to his convictions – and the proverbial ‘wagon and horses’ can hardly move him when his mind is made up.
“Now a man with grit of this type is going to accomplish something useful during his career, and such has certainly been the case with Mr. Small. If Robbie Burns is right when he says (and there is no doubt about it) that ‘An honest man’s the noblest work of God’ then our friend belongs to the true nobility, for there is no mistaking the sterling honesty of his character.”
During the whole of his residence at Pickering he was a loyal and active member of the Wesleyan connexion. He attended regularly for 25 years one of the classes belonging to the society in Pickering, and very rarely did he absent himself from the other services of the church. “in all other matters, relative to the church’s life, for the furtherance of the work of God, he threw his heart and sould into them, and a Pickering friend, who has known him for more than 40 years, speaks very highly of his work in connection with the Wesleyan Church there. That kind of spirit and work was a fitting preparation for the efforts he and Mrs. Small put forth on behalf of the Malton Church. Coming to the Malton Circuit, he at once found a congenial sphere at the Malton Chapel..”
For twenty years Mr. Small was one of the day school managers; he served terms of office as society and poor steward and for several years he was chapel steward for Malton, as well as being a member of the Malton Trust.
The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon, the first part of the service being conducted at the Malton Wesleyan Church.
There was a large attendance, and the service was conducted by the Rec. C. Denham, who also read the commital prayers at the graveside at the cemetery. The coffin was of plain oak, with brass furnishings, and bore the following inscription:- “Wm. Small, died Jan, 21st, 1911.”
The chief mourners were Mr. M. Wood, Mrs. Kershaw, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Miss Boulton, Miss Whittaker, Mr. Benham, and Miss E. Whisker. There was a large attendance of friends of the deceased, including Messrs. G.W. Ashton, W. Botterill, J. Estill, J.J. Taylor, W.W. Fisher, T. Fairburn, N. Beal, R. Snow, J. Snow, T. Leefe, D.S. Blair, A.S. Ash, J.T. Parkinson, H. Young, A. Barnes, T. Eddon, W. Coatesworth, and G. Wilson.
Mr. J.D. Dodsworth, Malton, was the undertaker.
Yorkshire Gazette?, 18 January 1911

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Joseph Smith

One of the most remarkable of the regular country visitors to Malton several years ago was Mr. Joseph Smith, of South Holme, near Slingsby. He was a farmer with more than the ordinary farmer’s interest in and knowledge of the land and agriculture; he was also an educationist, a temperance reformer, and a local preacher. Furthermore, he took an active part in the local government of the district, becoming one of the first County councillors.
I remember the time when I stood in considerable awe of Mr. Smith, for he was tall, held himself erect, was decisive in speech, end evidently a leader of men, but those who had the pleasure of his acquaintance knew how delightful his spirit was and how glad he was to join in fellowship with all mankind.
Mr. Smith was born in 1823 at Wildon Grange – a home famous for its Nonconformity, for it was here that Isaac Lindley, one of the friends of George Fox, and other Quakers from Oldstead and the neighbourhood, persisted in holding meetings, for which they were sent to prison by Lord Fauconberg. In Mr. Smith’s youth the family removed to Bridge House, Normanby, and from thence to Risboro’, once the home of the Rowntrees. The remainder of his life, with the exception of a few years at Eastlands, Huggate, was spent at South Holme. One of the most interesting of Mr. Smith’s boyhood experiences, was his friendship with the Pickering poet, Costello, whose “Auld Isaac” he wrote down from dictation.
Mr. Smith’s special title to our remembrance lies in the fact that he was vitally interested in village life. He never grudged time and money devoted to the advancement of the material and moral well-being of his neighbours, and I hope that all who read these lines may consider whether they cannot do more than they are doing in villages and in town to follow in his footsteps.
I have said that Mr. Smith was a local preacher. His first sermon was delivered at Wrelton in 1846, and in 1847 his name appeared on the Wesleyan plan. From that time onward he was busy in the work, and was also much in request for addresses at missionary meetings, Sunday school anniversaries, funerals, and so forth. He gave informing lectures on Cromwell, Bunyan, Wesley, Christianity, and other subjects. He was one of the first Wesleyans to suggest that there should be women representatives to the annual conference.
The extent of Mr. Smith’s influence and the real power of his character are shown by the fact that in 1880 he was asked to enter Parliament for the East Riding of Yorkshire. I have always understood that Mr. Smith was a robust Liberal, so that the fact that on one and the same day he was asked to go to Westminster by the Conservatives as well as the Liberals implies a most unusual confidence in his character and attainments! Had he accepted the suggestion made to him, our countryside would have lost one of its best helpers, but Parliament might have gained another such member as the late Mr. Albert Pell – a fellow agriculturist of great mark.

SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, Yorkshire Gazette, 15th February 1913

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Henry Smithson

The name of Mr. Henry Smithson deserves to be honoured in our town, if only for the fact that to him, along with the Rev. Ishmael Fish, Mr. E.F. Sewell, and others, was due to the founding of the first of our two local newspapers - the "Malton Messenger and North and East Ridings Advertiser" - in January of 1854. Up to 1878 this newspaper bore the imprint "Printed and published by the proprietor, Henry Smithson, Printer, Bookseller, and Stationer," whilst an advertisement on the first page set forth the many articles to be purchased in the shop in Yorkersgate, including an almanac "suited to the palace, farm, counting house, and the cottage."
I doubt whether Mr. Smithson ever wrote the leaders for his paper, unless these were on "horsey" topics, for as I have often been told he was more at home in a show ring than he was in a newspaper office. I should suppose that many of the political articles of those days were written by Mr. Sewell, and the general leaders by Mr. Fish. As I write this down, I have before me a copy of the paper for 28 January, 1865, in which there is a leading arcticle on the then Archbishop of York's speech at Sheffield inaugurating a movement for erecting seven additional churches in five years.
Mr. Smithson's strong points were tact, business capability, and the power of associating other qualified persons with him in his ventures. He was, of course, a good Liberal, and his newspaper upheld the Liberal traditions of the borough.
Above all things, Mr. Smithson was interested in horses. The "Messenger" of those days, although considerably smaller in size than its descendant to-day, gave more actual space to sport than is done now. In the sporting columns contained in the isaue already referred to, it is chronicled that Mr. I'Anson within the last two months had sold three horses for the extraordinary sum of £18,500. Mr. Smithson was naturally one of the most interested spectators of our local agricultural show, and usually figured prominently in the toast list. I ought not to omit to state that he was one of the postal reformers of those days.
Mr. Smithson lived over his business premises, as most Malton tradesmen did at that time. Many a joke could be recorded in connection with his employees. One of these in particular is in my mind. A certain "Messenger" compositor possessed by a strong desire to sample his employer's cellar, was fairly caught in the act by Mr. Henry, who made no more to do but fetched his hunting crop, and soon had the delinquent back again in the printing office at his "frame." No further notice was taken of the act, and Mr. Smithson got a good deal of personal enjoyment out of it.
When Mr. Smithson died, in April of 1879, aged 58 years, he left a considerable family, some of whom sitll reside in Malton to-day. His brother, Mr. Richard Smithson, took over the management of the business in Yorkersgate for the then executors - Mr. Thomas Leefe and Mr. Robert Boulton - and continued in the position with increasing success until he purchased the old-established book selling and printing business in Castlegate.
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, No 21, Yorkshire Gazette, 3rd February 1912

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Henry Smithson

(Obituary) Obituary
Printer, stationer and proprietor of the Malton Messenger, died 25 April 1879, funeral procession 'nearly a quarter of a mile in length.' Member of Camalodunum Lodge of Freemasons. Largest funeral in Malton for 20 years. Funeral Report, Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 1 May 1879.


Richard Smithson

Mr. Richard J. Smithson was one of the kindest warmest-hearted men who ever lived. I have little hesitation in saying that he thought almost too much of others, and certainly none in asserting that he thought too little of himself. The consequence was that, although possessing wide knowledge of newspaper work and allied businesses, and an able man in other directions, he did not derive from these gifts, as much advantage as he ought to have done. To my mind this is, after all, a laurel wreath to be laid on Mr. Smithson's grave - it is praise, not blame.
I never met a single individual who did not heartily like "Mr. Richard" - and I have met a good many persons who took advantage of his good-nature when they hardly ought to have done so. He would do anything he possibly could to oblige anybody - whether the person concernd rolled up to the "Messenger" office in carriage and pair, or slouched into the whop clad in rags to plead for help on the ground that he was a printer out of a job, or a Freemason in low water.
I don't remember seeing Mr. Smithson angry with anybody, and my prevailing impression of him is that whether the sun shone or the rain came down in deluges, whether he was feeling excellently well or was lying ill in bed, he was always the same grandly optimistic man, wearing his "morning face of happiness" because he believed in God and good and refused to allow himself to be brought to disbelieve in the least worthy of his fellow creatures.
During Mr. Smithson's time, the inner office in the "Messenger" building was a place to which men gravitated not merely for business purposes, but in order to come into contact with the large-hearted person who worked there; and of the many people who came to see Mr. Smithson, although there we're good men among them, titled and learned men too, I doubt whether there was one who was really the peer of the modest, unassuming business head of the establishment. What the effect of his influence was upon those obtuse, strong-willed individuals who seemed to exist only for their own happiness and benefit, I cannot say, but am fain to believe that even in those difficult cases, he made some headway!
Although Mr. Smithson loved the country, he hardly ever allowed himself the pleasure of a holiday. Sometimes he would go over to Castle Howard to see his old friend, the Rev. R.G. Fish, and occasionally other friends would tempt him away for a day. I seem to remember that he was always ready with his 'cello to help the Malton Choral pro there societies; he was an earnest Churchman and for a long period was one of the St. Leonard's churchwardens; he was also a zealous Mason.
Mr. R.J. Smithson, who was one of the founders of the "Malton Messenger," was born at Malton, where his early business experience was gained in association with his brother Henry and his widowed mother, nee Allen. For a considerable time he managed one of the best weekly newspapers in England, the "Derbyshire Courier," at Chesterfield. I believe he was one of the first post masters at Post Office Corner, Malton. On the death of his brother Henry, in 1879, he took his place and conserved and developed the "Messenger" business in the interests of his nieces and nephews. A few years before his death he purchased the old-established printing, book selling, and stationery business in Castlegate, and was making a valuable little propery when he passed away somewhat suddenly in April, 1897.
SPECTATOR. Maltonians of Bygone Days, XII, Yorkshire Gazette, January 21st 1911

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John Snarry

One of the best known families belonging to Norton is that of Snarry. The father of Mr. John Snarry was a breeder of race-horses, thus helping to build up the reputation which Norton and Malton have achieved throughout the whole country in connection with our national sport. He was stud groom to the late sir Tatton Sykes, in consequence of which several noted blood mares passed through his hands. One of his brothers was Mr. James Snarry, of Musley Bank, who owned the famous Lily Agnes mare. Mr. John Snarry himself possessed race-horses, the late Mr. C. Lund being his trainer.
Mr. John Snarry was born at Malton in 1828, when the town presented a much less up-to-date aspect than it does now. He attended a school in Saville-st. kept by Mr. Marshall, and on leaving there was apprenticed to a blacksmith named Maw, at Thornton-le-Dale, where he stayed for seven years. During this time he became much interested in the veterinary side of his work, and eventually went to Edinburgh Veterinary College, where he studied under the celebrated Prof. Dick. Although he worked hard, he only got his degree after leaving college. He came back to Malton and started a shoeing forge in Saville-st. He was so proficient at his work that people from all over the country sought his assistance, especially in connection with the agricultural shows. By this time he had gained a large veterinary practice, and therefore took veterinary premises in the Market-place, familiar to many of us as the present dispensary.
For some years Mr. Snarry occupied the position of official inspector of cattle diseases, etc., for the East Riding County Council. His fame throughout the agricultural world of Yorkshire was extended by this enterprise in fitting a wooden leg to a cow. I distinctly remember how almost every newspaper in the country wrote up this somewhat extraordinary feat, and the name of Snarry became better known than ever. What was the fate of the cow I do not remember, but presumably the wooden leg enabled it to fulfil its life work. Neither do I remember whether the owner of the animal showed it for profit. If so, I am sure he must have had a very satisfactory financial reward.
Mr. Snarry was a member of the Wesleyan Methodist body, but took little part in religious or other public work. He moved from Malton to the Arabian House, Norton, which he purchased and where he died in January, 1899, aged seventy-one years. For some time he had not been in robust health, chiefly owing to an accident which happened to him outside Malton station, on the thirst line, and for which he obtained damages from the North-Eastern Railway Co.
Mr Snarry was three times married. His first wife was Elizabeth Baker; his second wife her cousin, a daughter of the late Mr. S. Baker, of Thornton; and his third wife, Miss Addinell, of Ulleskelf. Of the considerable family which survived him, three sons adopted the veterinary profession. His eldest son was a draper in Norton for some time. Another so is Mr. Baker Snarry, the saddler; ant the third, Mr. Arthur Snarry, a printer and stationer with the "Grimsby News" Newspaper Co. Probably no Maltonian is without knowledge of one or other member of a family which has been for so long connected in a prominent position with the life of the district.
SPECTATOR. Bygone Maltonians, III, Yorkshire Gazette, October 26th 1912

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William Snow

One of the eldest of our Malton businesses is that carried out at Butcher Corner by Messrs. William Snow and Sons. Two brothers founded the business, one of these being the late Mr. William Snow, father of our respected townsman, Mr. Richard Snow. He was a staunch Wesleyan, held many offices in his church, including the responsible post of Sunday school superintendent, and was one of the committee which erected the ministers' houses on the Mount. Formerly, it will be remembered, the ministers lived in Saville-st., near the chapel.
Mr. Snow did not occupy many public positions in Malton, but he was a leading worker in the Malton and Norton Town Mission, and president of the Malton Total Abstinence Society at the time when the Temperance Hall was purchased from the Primitive Methodists and began to be used in many ways for the good of the town. He was, I believe, one of the ten committee men who carried through this work. He was a member of the Independent Order of Good Templars and the first chief of the Malton Rechabites Lodge. He joined the Malton Lodge of Freemasons at its institution in 1856. In company with the late Mr. H.M. Russell, he frequently addresses temperance meetings in Slingsby, and the other Street Villages.
One of the great things to be said of Mr. William Snow is that he was a diligent and faithful worker, and that his Christianity showed at its best just where it ought to show, in the daily routine of his business, and when suffering overtook him. Those who visited him in his illness have testified that he was strong in the faith as a result of his normal habit of devotion. I have been told that, however busy the day, Mr. Snow always found time to retire for prayer and meditation to particular room in his shop premises. One of the hymns which specially appealed to him - as, I believe, it did to the late Price Consort - was "Rock of Ages."
There are many men who to-day occupy good positions in the drapery trade, chiefly as a result of the excellent training given to them in the well-known establishment at Post-Office Corner.
Mr. Snow died at Filey in February of 1891, and was interred in the cemetery at Old Malton. It is out of such men as Mr. Snow that there comes the abiding strength of a town such as ours; that steadiness and resourceful-ness which keeps a community straight in times of adversity, excitement, and prosperity.
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, No 25, Yorkshire Gazette, 9th March 1912

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William Snow

(death of an old Freemason) Yesterday the death was announced of Mr. William Snow, draper, of Malton and Filey. Deceased, who had been in business in the town over 45 years was well known and highly respected. For ten years he had been a great sufferer of paralysis, which was the ultimate cause of his death at the age of 73 years. Throughout his whole life he had been connected with the Wesleyan Methodist body, and had served in all the chief lay offices of the connexion at Malton. He was also one of the oldest Freemasons in the borough, being one of the ten remaining members who were initiated when the Camalodunum Lodge opened in 1856. The internment will take place at Malton on Monday noon.
York Herald, 31 January 1891


William Snow

(family research) Draper of Malton and Filey, born in Harewood, died 30 January 1891. Had a large drapers store at Butcher Corner. The 1881 census shows him running the business in Filey with his son, James. The Malton store being run by son Richard. The youngest son, Charles Metcalfe Snow, married Annie E. Towse at the Parish church, Filey, on Thursday, 10th March 1898 [1]. William was in business in the town over 45 years and was well known and highly respected. In 1845 the business seems to be known as W. & C.E. Snow Drapers, Mercers etc., Malton, as they are 'in want of a respectable youth as an apprentice' [2]. 'In April 1850, he is advertising for an assistant 'unexceptional reference is required' [3]. The 1861 census shows him with an assistant and 6 apprentices - presumably a sizeable business.
[1] Hull Daily Mail, 11 March 1898
[2] Yorkshire Gazette, 26 July 1845
[3] York Herald, 6 April 1850


John Soulby

c1833 - 1906 Mr. John Soulby’s portly presence and cheery, albeit discriminating, manner were badly missed in Malton when he died. To myself he was as necessary to any picture of our town as was the Literary Institute, which, by the way, owed a good deal to his judgement, and of which he was president, and then for life, vice-president.
I think this feeling was really owing to the fact that Mr. Soulby took such a genuine interest in everything which concerned the well-being of Malton – and this was so universally recognised that even the strongest of our teetotallers would often be found working hand in hand with Mr. Soulby, the wine and spirit merchant.
I first remember Mr. Soulby and his family when they lived at Cherry Farm, a much more picturesque building than the one which now stands by the footpath from York-rd. To the end of Hutton-lane. I expect that whilst there he cultivated that love for the country which made him a leading member of the Naturalists’ Society, and his practical interest in farming is shown by the fact that in 1866 he founded the North Riding Chamber of Agriculture, a work which has been carried on so well, under a slightly different scheme, by his son, Mr. A.E.B. Soulby. On Mr. John Soulby’s retirement from office in the Chamber of Agriculture, the members marked their appreciation of his work by a presentation of handsome silver plate.
No better instance of Mr. Soulby’s interest in local affairs (he was now living in Malton itself) could be cited than the valuable evidence he supplied to the Royal Commission on Canal Traffic anent the state of the Derwent navigation; and his success in obtaining the piece of waste ground at the end of East Mount for an Archery and Lawn Tennis Club shows that in smaller matters he was equally alert. I believe, too, that we owe our excellent tarred footpaths, a mile out of town, to Mr. Soulby’s initiative.
A significant instance of Mr. Soulby’s acute sense of what what was due to those who laboured for others is afforded by a letter which he wrote to this newspaper in 1891, in which he emphasised the inconvenience caused to himself and other jurymen, by the arrangements then made, both in time and place, and ironically animadverted on the wretched payment accorded for the work done. I have frequently wondered whether this and other letters had anything to do with the building of the new Court House in Malton.
Mr. Soulby died on 26 November, 1906, aged 73 years.
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, XVI, Yorkshire Gazette, 30th December 1911

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Matthew Spiegelhalter

If all Maltonians had read and remembered the words of the great novelist - "because I may be mistaken. I must not be dogmatic and confident, premature and imperious. I will not break the certain rules of charity for a doubtful doctrine, nor an uncertain truth" - I think that as a community, we should have benefitted more than we actually did do from the undoubted talents and public spirit of Mr. Matthew Spiegelhalter.
I confess that when a child I was rather frightened of the somewhat absorbed-looking old gentleman, who spoke os rapidly, with a foreign accent, and with such emphasis. And there were many older than myself who, just because Mr. Spiegelhalter looked at things inquiringly - whether the matters involved were doctrine, or politics, or education - seemed unable to derive help from him.
All this is a great pity and should make us careful not to make the same mistake to-day.
Mr. Spiegelhalter was born in 1823 at Eisenach - so closely associated with the fame of Martin Luther, for here the lad sang ballads from door to door and was cared for by good Ursula Cotta.
About 1847 he opened a small jeweller's shop in Newbiggin, and later on, joined by his brother John, travelled through the north-east of Yorkshire with clocks, watches, and jewellery. He was a clever mechanic, ingenious and resourceful. Presently he removed to the market-place, and again to Yorkersgate, where he eventual purchased Mr. Newby's business. He continued to direct those until, feeling too old for regular work, he gave the reins into the hands of his capable son, Mr. Edward, who has made a name for himself among present-day opticians. The only other child, Mr. Cevil Spiegelhalter, is engaged in the Continental Guide office of Messrs. McCorquodale at Leeds.
Mr. Spiegelhalter was devoted to art, and, I believe, during a visit to Italy, purchased several pictures which were said to be of value. These he hung round his little shop in Railway-st., and, being short of room, suspended several from hooks in the ceiling as a framer disposes of cured bacon! I rather think that he was less successful in finding good markets for his spoil than in making the purchases.
I have been told that he sometimes gave commissions to purchase from the Italian monasteries, and that he bought pictures from Belgium. Undoubtedly his finest purchase was "The goddess of fruit," said to be by Rubens, but this picture slipped out of his hands at considerably under value.
Mr. Spiegelhalter, like his father-in-law, Mr. William Sutherland, was a Unitarian. He held advanced views on education and other subjects, including funeral reform. He was one of the few Maltonians who have left instructions for their bodies to be cremated, and his relatives carefully respected his wish to be carried out of the town by road, in memory of the time, sixty-two years before, when he had entered it on foot.
Mr. Spiegelhalter was a great student of Ruskin and Tolstoy.
My last remembrance of Mr. Spiegelhalter is when I prowled around among some dusty old books he had for sale on Railway-st., and purchased from him two copies of Bohn's Library. The thought was with me then that the bookseller was more interested in the message of his books than in their sale price - and I fancy that this is one of the great things which can be said of the whole life of this Maltonian. Peace be to his memory!
SPECTATOR. Maltonians of Bygone Days, 2, Yorkshire Gazette, 7th October 1912

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Matthew Spiegelhalter

REMAINS of DECEASED CREMATED AT HULL
Few persons were better known in Malton than this gentleman, who died at Malton on Friday morning of last week, in the 84th year of his age. His abilities, his quaint personality, and the great interest he had taken for 60 years past in the life of the town had kept him prominently before the public, and he was known beyond the confines of Malton. As his name would indicate, he was not of English nationality, but he had become a naturalised Englishman, in legal form.
He came to Malton from Eisenbach, in the black Forest district of Germany, and about 60 years ago he opened a small jewellery and watchmaking business in Newbegin, Malton, in the shop now occupied by Mr. Gascoigne, tailor. Subsequently he was joined by his brother, John Spiegelhalter, and they used to travel the North-East of Yorkshire district with clocks, watches, jewellery, etc.
Deceased was also a very clever mechanic, and very ingenious. He made good progress in business, and in a few years removed from the small shop in Newbegin to larger premises in the market-place. Subsequently, on the death of Mr Newby, jeweller, Yorkersgate, he urchased the leading jewellery establishment in Malton, and conducted it until he handed it over to his son, Mr. Edward Spiegelhalter, the eminent optician, etc., who still owns the business.
Mr. Spiegelhalter died very suddenly, but as he had for some time suffered from heart weakness the event was not unexpected. Deceased was a strong believer in cremation as the best means of disposing of the body after death. Years ago, when the subject was first prominently brought forward by the establishment of the Woking Crematorium, deceased advocated it in a debate before the members of the Malton Literary Institute; and before his death he expressed the wish that his remains should be cremated. In carrying out this, his last desire, the relatives had the body conveyed to Hull on Monday morning.
In politics the deceased was a Conservative, in religion a Unitarian, but he was very broad-minded and liberal in his views; and as he was a well-read and most intelligent man, an hour’s discussion with Matthew Spiegelhalter could not fail to produce useful information and not a little quaint pleasure.
December 1906?


Dr Richard Spruce

Among the men associated with Malton whose names are known the world over none is more deserving of notice than Richard Spruce, a native of Ganthorpe, near Terrington. His fiftenn years’ journey of exploration in South America were richer in results than almost any other similar journey recorded of recent years. Germany rewarded his services (in 1864) by conferring upon him, through its oldest scientific body, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Mr. Spruce’s father was a schoolmaster at Ganthorpe and afterwards at Welburn, and his mother was a near relative of William Etty, the eminent York artist. In his seventeenth year, Dr. Spruce wrote out a list of plants, comprising 403 subjects found in the Ganthorpe area; and three years later he drew up a list of the flora of the Malton district which is, I believe, now in the possession of our respected townsman Mr. M.B. Slater. A favourite hunting ground of his was Slingsby Moor, and here he vowed that the study of plants should be the great object of his life. That act of consecration may well be compared with Wordsworth’s vow recorded in the “Prelude.” For four years or so Dr. Spruce explored the district around York, where he occupied the position of Mathematical Master at the Collegiate School. Later on he spent a good deal of time on the North Yorkshire and Eskdale Moors – an account of which journeying appeared in this newspaper two years ago.
Dr. Spruce went to South America in 1849, the account of his journeying there being full of scientific interest as well as that kind of adventure which grips fast hold of the general reader. The full story is told in two lavishly illustrated volumes edited by his friend Dr. Russell Wallace, with help from Mr. Matthew B. Slater. One great piece of his life’s work was the search for seeds and plants of Cinchona Succirupra, for cultivation in India, and whilst doing this his health was seriously affected.
Standing on Coneysthorpe Green, overlooking the modest house in which Dr. Spruce arranged his papers, wrote out many of his observations, and passed the last years of his suffering but earnest life, the mind is insensibly drawn to contrast the simple beauty and quiet of the region in which Dr. Spruce was born with the vast, wild and dangerous forests, and mysterious mountains amid which so much of his life’s work was done.
Dr. Spruce died at Coneysthorpe on 28 December, 1893, and his body was laid to rest in the churchyard at Terrington by the side of his father and mother. It is characteristic of the man that he left a letter giving instructions that his funeral should be carried out in the simplest possible way.
SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, No 31, Yorkshire Gazette, 27th April 1912

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Sir Charles Strickland

I never cease to deplore the loss of sir Charles Strickland, for he was unique among local men in person and character. Malton should have been prouder of him than she was, but possibly he was too direct of speech, in character too independent, and too devoted to his hobbies for ordinary townsfolk to appreciate him fully. He understood how to manage an estate, was an M.A., a devoted and enthusiastic student of Natural History, and although the product of generations of Whigs (did not Stricklands represent Malton in Parliament for many years in the liberal interest?) was as thorough a Conservative of the individualistic type as you would find in a long day’s walk. It often seemed to me that Sir Charles almost held the theory of Divine Right as pertaining to the English landowner, in proof of which startling statement I quote a portion of a letter written by him to his tenants in 1855, when a General Election was impending:
“The right to vote cannot possibly do you one pennyworth of good and may do you some harm, and the people who have given you the right know this as well as I do, and have only done it because they think it may help themselves in the scramble for office and power. The great heap of rubbish which the House of Commons publishes every year under the name of Statutes at Large (and which it tells you that you are supposed to know and understand) is a disgrace to a Christian and civilised country. A friend of mine, whom you may also know, once said some rather sever things of the Scribes and Pharisees of his day who lay grievous burdens and heavy to be borne, in the shape of laws, on other men’s shoulders. The great object of all parties, especially of the Radicals in our present day, is constantly to make larger the ever-growing army of Government inspectors and paid officials, because it makes more places and more pay for them to give to their friends ... ... If you wish to vote for a member of Parliament, vote for someone whom you know to be an honest and a gentleman; and if you do not know anything of the candidate, ask for information of someone whom you know to be an honest man and a gentleman, and vote as he tells you to do ... ...
Listen to me who live among you and spend my money amongst you, and who am, as you know very well, the friend of everyone in whatever rank of life he may be, who behaves like an honest man and a gentleman. Listen to me, because I tell you the truth, which alone can make or keep you free,”
This communication shows that, although Sir Charles might be styled an upholder of Church and State, it was a Church and State strictly according to his own ideals. I differed from him on political and social questions, and am not in harmony with the claim involved in the closing lines of the letter I have quoted, but I wish to say that Sir Charles’ life bore witness to the fact that he constantly considered and sought to effect the welfare of his tenants. Many of us are opposed to that condition of things which allows us over half the area of the United Kingdom being owned by only 2,500 persons, but Sir Charles Strickland was one of the best examples of his class, and did something to exalt it in the eyes of those who, rightly or wrongly, are doubting the usefulness to the country of the large private ownership of land.
The late Baronet’s face and figure were familiar to all Maltonians: he possessed teh profile of a ruler of men, strong and beautiful enough to triumph over the neglect which was shown in dress and carriage. Those who did not know Sir Charles, and only looked at his clothes, sometimes mistook him for an impecunious artisan in search of work!
He lived to a ripe old age, and grew more and more fond of his flowers and less and less sympathetic towards modern social movements. Apparently, he believed increasingly that the old was better than the new. When he died he was genuinely missed in the neighbourhood for although the views of some of us were wides as the poles removed from his, there was that in the baronet’s character which could not fail to call out admiration from all.
Sir Charles passed away in January of 1910, and was succeeded by his son Walter, the ninth baronet.
SPECTATOR

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William Sutherland

The memory of old Mr. Sutherland is green in but a few minds to-day. When I knew him he seemed an aged man, and was doing little work save reporting special events for the local newspapers (his reports, by the way were usually so long as to be the despair of the editors), and walking round the town to chat with one and another of his cronies. But Mr. Sutherland’s memory deserves to be honoured because he did what few men have the courage to do – cut himself loose from loved associations, and for all I know from a certain means of livelihood, at the demand of conscience. If his influence was limited and if his powers were not of the highest order, such a deed as this deserves to be recorded in letters of gold.
The subject of this sketch was more than once the target of the local humourist, but I remember hearing how a well-known Malton wag overshot his mark when he said to Mr. Sutherland, in the shop of a tradesman: “If I had your benign and heavenly countenance, I should not trouble to go to heaven at all” – for whilst all of us who remember old Mr. Sutherland’s features will understand what was intended to be the sharp cut in this sentence, we are equally certain that his spirit was too good and beautiful to be vanquished by an arrow of such boorish make.
Mr. Sutherland was born in Kent, but brought up in Melton Mowbray. He started life in Sheffield as a schoolmaster, but came to Malton a year after the accession of Queen Victoria. Here for some time he was on the Wesleyan plan as a local preacher, but becoming convinced that the theology of that day was lacking in truth, he ceased association with that body, and shortly afterwards became minister of the Unitarian Church at Flag, in the Peak country. From there he moved to Wilton, near Hull, and in 1860 to Norton. It was at this period that he commenced his active association with the Unitarian Chapel, in Malton, which, by the way, dates from 1715. He also formed a connection with the local papers, and was secretary of the Camalodunum Lodge of Freemasons for five years. In 1875 he removed to Devonshire and spent eight years as minister of the Topsham and Gulliford Chapels, but returned to Malton in 1883, no doubt largely because of the fact that his daughter, Mrs. Spiegelhalter; resided there. He then resumed some of his reporting duties, and was for a short time secretary to the Farmer’s Club. He died in his 74th year (July, 1889) and I was one of the many Maltonians who felt sincere regret at his passing.

SPECTATOR Bygone Maltonians, No 17, Yorkshire Gazette, 13th January 1912

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