<i>The Workhouse</i>

The Workhouse

Settlement & Removal Orders

Malton parishes were responsible to pay for the relief of their own poor. Everyone had a parish of Settlement and if that was Malton and you fell on 'hard times' then the Malton parishes were responsible. If Malton parishes thought that you were likely to become a burden to the parish and did not have settlement rites in Malton then they could obtain a removal order. The removal order here is in the name of 'the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor of the United parishes of Saint Michael and Saint Leonard' for the removal of 'Jane Tasker, widow of John Tasker deceased, and her five children . . . ' since they had not gained a legal settlement there and to convey them to the parish of Saint Dennis in the City of York, being their last place of legal Settlement. Dated 1st February 1851.

My Image
Managing the Workhouse

Prior to the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 attempts to help the poor were generally at a parish level. This act however centralised the administration and defined Poor Law Unions and encouraged the development of workhouses. The Malton Poor Law Union consisted of many local parishes, each of which had a 'guardian' who was elected by local land owners and occupiers. They sat on the Board of Guardians and administered the workhouse. They also reviewed requests for 'out-relief' - payments made outside the workhouse system to those old and/or poor not living in the workhouse. Meetings of the Board of Guardians took place weekly, in the Town Hall, and the proceedings of these meetings are well reported in the local newspapers. Boards of Guardians were abolished in 1930 by the Local Government Act, 1930. The first meeting of the Board of Guardians for the Malton Poor Law Union (sixty-eight Townships) took place on the 13th January 1837 at the New Talbot Inn, Malton. [1] Henry Willoughby of Birdsall was elected chairman and Mr. Allen of Malton, vice-chairman. The first officers were: clerk, Mr. Alfred Simpson, of Malton, solicitor; treasurer, Robert Bower, Esq., (of the East Riding Bank); auditor, Mr. Chas. Jagger, solicitor of Malton. Medical and Relieving Officers were not appointed. An open letter appearing in the Yorkshire Gazette, in January 1837 from J.J. Wilcocks, Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and residing in Hovingham, solicits his appointment as surgeon [2]. Also in 1837, an advertisement was placed in the local press by Alfred Simpson requesting that anyone desirous of being the relieving officer (salary £90 a year) or Master and Mistress of the workhouse (salary £40 and £10 respectively) should attend the Meeting of the Board of Guardians at the Assembly Rooms on Saturday 28th of January at ten o’clock [3]. The Relieving Officers received requests for ‘out relief’ and kept books of account recording what had been paid. Periodically they presented their accounts to the Board of Guardians for approval and reimbursement. In August 1840, Mr. Pearson was Relieving Officer for the 'rural district' and, had expended£65 14s 8d. Mr. Rutter held the position for the 'town district' and had expended £31 11s 5d. The meeting of the Guardians approved these amounts and they were reimbursed [4]. Another responsibility of the Board of Guardians was to invite tenders and assess responses for the supply of food, drink, coal and clothing to the workhouse. In the early period the tenders were requested quarterly except for clothing which was annually. The meeting of 12th December 1840 concluded which suppliers had been chosen: Mr. John Jefferson to supply bread to be made from seconds flour, at 1 3/4d per pound; Mr. James Metcalfe to supply seconds flour at 2s 2d per stone and fire coals at 15s 6d per ton, and to supply the poor in the towns of New Malton, Old Malton and Norton with seconds flour at 2s 2d per stone; Mr. Robert Stabler to supply candles at 6d per lb; Mr. Robert Clegg to supply sugar at 9 1/2d per lb, tea at 5s 4d per lb, soap at 6s 9d per stone, rice at 2s 4d per stone and salt at 5d per stone; Mr. John Crawford to supply paupers in the workhouse with men's and women's shoes at 7s per pair and boys and girls above 9 years at 4s 6d and below 9 years at 2s 6d per pair; Mr. Robert Clegg to supply the poor in the workhouse with articles of clothing for the next 12 months [5]. Invariably, on Christmas Day, the inmates of the workhouse would be 'treated' to 'roast beef and plumb pudding, with ale to wash it down and tobacco for those who use it' and in the afternoon 'good cake and tea.' This would be funded by subscription among the Guardians [6].

  • [1] York Herald, 28 January 1837
  • [2] Yorkshire Gazette, 14 January 1837
  • [3] Yorkshire Gazette, 21 January 1837
  • [4] Yorkshire Gazette, 22 August 1840
  • [5] Yorkshire Gazette, 19 December 1840
  • [6] York Herald 30 December 1837
State of the Workhouse 1818

Proceedings of Committee appointed to enquire into the state of Spring Hall, Malton - Spring Hall 5th November 1818 The above committee inspected the state of the bedrooms and found all clean neat and in order . . . The present inmates of Spring Hall consist of, the Master, his wife, and four children, one of whom is 12 years of age, the others 10, 5 and 3 years old. Also 37 Paupers . . . The Master is also allowed a salary for the support of himself and family of £35 per year. The Master and his family also earn at his Trade of a Weaver about 5/- per week.

[Then a list of the Master's expenditure over the last year including Clothing of the Master, his wife and family £12]

[Then a menu for the week, Breakfast, Dinner, Supper]

The present Master has had the management of the workhouse during 11 years and was ? of £20 in money ? furniture on entering to the ? and during that time he has incurred a debt of £180 towards which the Parish have allowed him at various times the sum of £70, and he is now indebted to sundry persons to the amount of £100.

The 37 Paupers are listed together with their ages as: Men: Robinson 91, Watton 83, Yeoman 82, Watson 78, Hawkswell 77, Wray 77, Fenton 76, Eller 74, Cave 71, Gibb 70, Atkinson 68, Taylor 62 Women: Kinber 70, Atkinson 58, Wilson 49, Walkington 35, Gordon 21, Daltree 60, England 13, Steward 11, Steward 6, Bradley 9, Bradley 7, Moore 62, Frank 67, Farrer 28, Steward 3, Bradshaw 13, Allan 14, Welbank 14, Walkington 9, Wilson 9, Walkington 2, Turner 28, Turner 3, Turner 1/4

(Transcribed and published with permission of the North Yorkshire County Record office ref: ZPB X11 8)

Workhouse Provisions

The Malton Guardians placed quarterly advertisements in the local newspapers inviting tenders for the supply of various provisions. Samples of the goods had to be supplied with the tender and the Board would discuss the various tenders received at one of their meetings. The advertisement here was taken from the Malton Messenger, 17 September 1870.

My Image
Scandal at the Workhouse

In October 1901, the Board of Guardians revealed that the Workhouse Master, Mr. William Copley, had 'falsified accounts and submitted fictitious receipts' [1] Unsurprisingly he was suspended, and pleaded guilty at York to three charges of falsifying accounts. He was sentenced to three years' penal servitude and on hearing that broke down [2] In 1909, the then Workhouse Master, Mr. William Sherwood, committed suicide and was found dead in the store cupboard, having taken carbolic acid. He left a note to his wife in which he regretted his gambling. The jury at the inquest found he had committed suicide during temporary insanity [3].

  • [1] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 21 October 1901
  • [2] Yorkshire Evening Post, 28 November 1901
  • [3] Dundee Courier, 16 October 1909
And . . .

In 1899, an inmate of the Malton Workhouse, named Edward Medd, 72 years of age, has just had £200 left him by a deceased sister. On hearing the good news Medd forthwith discharged himself from the house, and the guardians have resolved to claim from him the cost of his maintenance therein [1].

'At the Malton Board of Guardians' Meeting on Saturday, an application was received on behalf of a woman aged 86 years of age to be admitted to the Workhouse as a paying guest. She is a native of Malton and her daughter wrote that she wanted a room to herself. The Clerk said the Workhouse was not a lodging-house, and there was no accommodation. The application was refused.' [2]

'There are at present in the Malton workhouse four persons, viz., one male, and three females, whose united ages amount to the great number of 337 years, averaging above eighty-tour years each, and one of the above individuals has been an inmate in the house for the last sixty years. Another remarkable fact is that the medical attendant, is that Mr. William Rymer, surgeon, has visited the workhouse above forty years, and for that space of time it has never had a case of fever in it. There are at present in the workhouse 133 pauper inmates' [3]

In 1909 the nurses at the Workhouse declined to carry children through the streets to be baptised at the church because they felt it was degrading. The Board of Guardians passed a resolution that all children born in the Workhouse should be baptised there, unless their parents wished otherwise. The Rev. Barclay felt that the children should be baptised at the church and wrote to the Local Government Board to this effect. The Local Government Board felt that baptism should take place in the parish church. Mr Plowman, one of the Guardians, thought it did not matter much if such children were not baptised at all (to which a number of Guardians objected). It was resolved to adhere to the original resolution of baptising in the Workhouse [4]

In July 1876 the Board of Guardians were asked by the Master whether children in the house could learn to swim at the new bathing place in the Derwent. There was apprehension among the members as if there was an accident they would be accountable. [5]

It was customary to provide the male inmates with a pint of beer at Christmas. In December 1887, Henry Taylor, chairman of the committee of the Malton Total Abstinence Society wrote to the Board of Guardians requesting 'prohibiting the use of intoxicating liquors in your Union Workhouse.' The Board resolved to take no notice of the letter. [6]

In April 1910 the board of Guardians discussed the future of a boy inmate who had expressed an interest in becoming a millionaire. After some laughter, one of the Guardians responded saying "He evidently wants to be apprenticed to Carnegie." [7]

  • [1] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 21 October 1901
  • [2] The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 21 June 1920
  • [3] York Herald, 22nd January 1842.
  • [4] Driffield Times, 4 September 1909
  • [5] Driffield Times, 29 July 1876
  • [6] Driffield Times, 24 December 1887
  • [7] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 25 April 1910

Life in the Workhouse

Many who were unable to support themselves spent time in the Workhouse. There is an excellent general account of life in the workhouse and specific information on the Malton workhouse here.

North Yorkshire County Record Office have a plan of the workhouse in 1895 reference: Malton Union Workhouse: plan 1895 (MIC 3070) (BG/ML)

The Malton Board of Guardians decided to purchase from the Earl Fitzwilliam the leasehold land and buildings at the Workhouse held from his lordship, the lease of which expires in eight years. The sum agreed upon was £700. [1]

  • [1] Yorkshire Gazette, 5 September 1896
One of Yours in the Workhouse?

If you suspect a family member may have spent time in the Malton Union Workhouse it may be worth looking at the following transcripts from the census:

It is of course possible that an ancestor did reside in the workhouse in an intervening year!

The burial registers for the Malton Cemetery (transcribed by the Ryedale Family History Group) list many people who died in the Workhouse.

It may also be worth looking at the newspaper reports of the weekly Malton Poor Law Union 'Guardians of the Poor' meeting since these are likely to mention orders for the admission and discharge to/from the Malton Union Workhouse. Such a report appears for the meeting on 31st March 1839 and mentions the orders for the admission of George Hesslewood and Mary Atkinson belonging to New Malton and that for the discharge of Thomas Welbank also belonging to New Malton [1]

  • [1] York Herald, 6 April 1839
Masters & Matrons

There were frequent changes of staff at the Malton Workhouse! This list may not be complete.

  • 1837 - Mr & Mrs Rutter (York Herald, 30 December 1837)
  • 1839 - Mr Rutter (York Herald, 27 April 1839)
  • 1841 - Mr & Mrs William & Elizabeth Rutter (1841 Census)
  • 1841 Mr. Wright recently elected (York Herald, 27 November 1841)
  • 1844 - Mr Wright (Yorkshire Gazette, 31 August 1844)
  • 1849 - Mr. Webster (reference to his daughter, Yorkshire Gazette, 25 August 1849)
  • 1851 - Mr & Mrs John Webster (1851 Census)
  • 1852 - Mr & Mrs John Lockey (Yorkshire Gazette, 6th March 1852)
  • 1864 - Mr & Mrs Livesey, appointed Saturday 4th June 1864 (York Herald, 11 June 1864)
  • 1865 - Mr & Mrs Livesey, (Yorkshire Gazette 11th February 1865)
  • 1865 - Mr & Mrs Wm. Smith, from 25th March (Yorkshire Gazette 11th February 1865)
  • 1871 - Mr & Mrs Wm. Smith (1871 Census) Resigned August 1879 after more than 15 years (Driffield Times, 6th September 1879)
  • 1881 - Mr & Mrs J. Derbyshire (1881 Census)
  • 1893 - Mr & Mrs Derbyshire (Yorkshire Gazette 24th June 1893)
  • 1893 - Mr & Mrs Wm. Copley (Yorkshire Gazette 24th June 1893 - 73 applications for the vacancies)
  • 1901 - Mr & Mrs Wm. Copley (1901 Census)
  • 1902 - Mr Frederick Turner (Malton Gazette, 7 June 1902)
  • 1905 - Mrs Sherwood, Matron (Yorkshire Gazette, 25 December 1909)
  • 1905 - Mr HR Crewdson Yorkshire Gazette, 25 December 1909)
  • 1903 - Sherwood appointed Master 10 October 1903 (Malton Messenger, 16 October 1909)
  • 1911 - Frank Cattle, temporary master (1911 Census)

1837 Advertisement for Relieving Officer and Workhouse Master

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that any Person desirous of being the RELIEVING OFFICER to the above Union . . . is requested to attend a Meeting of the Board of Guardians at the ASSEMBLY ROOMS, in New Malton, on SATURDAY, the 28th day of January instant, at TEN o'Clock in the Forenoon, when such Officer will be elected . . .

AND NOTICE IS HEREBY FURTHER GIVEN That any Persons desirous to be the Master and Mistress of the Workhouse of the said Union are requested to attend at the time and place aforesaid, when, if the Board of Guardians think proper, such persons will be elected. The Salary of the Master will be £40 per annum, and that of the Matron £10. They will reside in the Workhouse, and have their Board provided at the Expense of the Union. The Master will have to assist the Relieving Officer, and will be required to give security to the satisfaction of the Guardians for the due execution of his Office. By Order, ALFRED SIMPSON Clerk to the Board of Guardians of the Malton Poor-Law Union. Malton, Jan 16, 1837

Yorkshire Gazette, 21 January 1837

1853 Advertisement for Schoolmaster at the Workhouse

A trained schoolmaster is wanted for the Boys' school in the Malton Union Workhouse. Candidates must be Unmarried or Widowers without incumbrance, of not less than 21 years of age, and be fully qualified to perform all the Duties connected with the Office, as set forth in the General Consolidated Order of the Poor Law Board. The Salary will be £30 per Annum, or such further sum as the Committee of Council on Education may determine, with Board and Lodging in the House. Preference will be given to Candidates holding a Certificate not lower in its class than that of one of the Three Degrees of Competency of the Committee of Council on Education, or who may be enabled to pass an Examination entitling them to such Certificate. Applications, in the Hand-Writing of the Candidate stating their Age, accompanied by Testimonials, as to Character and Competency, to be transmitted to me on or before THURSDAY, the 31st Day of March instant; and all Candidates will be required to attend the Meeting of the Guardians to be held at the BOARD ROOM, in Malton, on SATURDAY, the 2nd Day of April next, at TWELVE o'Clock at Noon, when the Election will take place. By Order of the Board. SAMUEL WALKER, Clerk Malton, March 15th, 1853

The Yorkshire Gazette - 26 March 1853

1790 Advertisement for Workhouse Master
WANTED Immediately

A Perfon to undertake the Management and employment of the Poor. A handfome Salary will be given to the Person approved of. A Manufacturer will be preferred. The House is very commodious, has an excellent Spring of Water in the Yard, and a large Garden of very rich Land adjoining.

All Letters: Poft paid; mentioning fully the Terms of the Perfon wifhing to contract, with the Mode or Method intended for Employment of the Poor, to the Overfeers, or Mr. Birch, Attorney, New Malton, will be duly attended to.

Manchester Mercury, 18 May 1790

1807 Advertisement for Workhouse Master

A MASTER or GOVERNOR to the WORKHOUSE at NEW MALTON in which are usually about thirty Paupers. A Salary of Twenty Guineas a year will be allowed, together with the occupation (Rent and Tax free) of the House, Garden and Orchard, well stocked with Fruit Trees, containing nearly two Acres of Land, and worth upwards of 20L a year, making the whole annual Allowance more than 40L a year. A fair weekly Allowance will also be made for each Pauper. A Weaver, Wood-comber, or other Manufacturer, who would be able to readily instruct and employ the poor Persons and their Children to the greatest advantage, would be preferred; and none but married persons of good character need apply. All applications to be made to JOHN GOODRICK, one of the Overseers of the Poor. MALTON, Sept. 19, 1807.

York Herald, September 26, 1807

1865 Advertisement for Workhouse Master

This advertisement led to the appointment in February 1865 of Mr & Mrs Wm. Smith who took office on 25th March 1865.

My Image
©British Library NEWS2356 Malton Messenger 14 January 1865

Information in Four Categories


Lots of information about who lived here and where! Families, Malton Butchers Cricket Team, Malton People Database, Memories of Malton, Charles Dickens Connection, Town Bellman, Town Crier, Wives Wanted, Malton in the 1840s, Census including some transcriptions, 1858 List of Voters for St. Michael's, Earl Fitzwilliam Rent Accounts, Newspaper announcements of births, deaths and mariages

The Town

What was the town like in Victorian and Edwardian times? Where is/was that street? House numbering, Malton in the 1840s, Planning & Building Control, Toilets in Chancery Lane, Streets Butcher Corner, Castlegate, Greengate, Market Place, Middlecave, Newbiggin, Old Maltongate, St. Michael Street, Saville Street, The Mount, Wentworth Street, Wheelgate, Yorkersgate, York Road, Peasey Hill, Planning & Building Control, Town Guides Old Pictures and Maps, Walks around the town take in a bit of history! Land Hearth Tax, 1873 Return of Owners of Land, Property, North Riding Register of Deeds, Finance Act 1910


What businesses and industries were here? Trade Directories, Photographers, Undertakers, Apprentices, Banks, Breweries, Local Traders and Advertisements, Bankruptcy, Malton and Norton Cooperative Society, Longsters, Fitch & Co, Thomas Taylor, Public Benefit Boot Co., Shopping Week 1922, The Manure Company, Biscuit Mills, Milling, Iron Foundries, Ralph Yates, Industrial Safety

Topics & Events

What happened here both locally and in response to wider events? Baker's Chronology, New Malton Spa, Emigration, The Telephone Comes to Malton, Cemetery, Horse Procession, Coronation of Queen Victoria, 1937 Coronation Celebrations, St. Michael's School, Racecourse, Emigration, Malton Golf Course, Sebastopol Cannon, Middlecave Windmill, Traffic, Theatre, Queen Victoria's Jubilee, Coronation of Edward Vll, Longster's Spa Garden, Curling, Talbot Hotel Newspapers Historical Background, Malton Messenger, Malton & Norton Gazette, including digital copies of the first few editions from 1855 Worship Three Ecclesiastical Parishes, 1857 locations, St. Michael's, St. Leonard's, Primitive Methodists, Unitarians, Independents, Catholics, Baptists, Wesleyans, Society of Friends, Congregationalists, 1851 Religious Census Police & Fire Police, law & order, prostitution, fire brigade, fires, Fire Brigade Friendly Society Pubs & Beerhouses Brewster Sessions, landlords, Temperance movement, closure dates Secret Orders Freemasonry, Friendly Societies, Oddfellows, Independent Order of Rechabites, Shepherds and Charities The Railway Victorian Heyday, Abolition of the Turnpikes, Accidents, Station Location, Railway Crossing & Bridge, Excursions, Railway Buildings, York & Scarborough line, Malton & Driffield line, Malton and Whitby line Health The sanitary condition of Malton 1854, nuisance removal, local board of health, the Dispensary, the Cottage Hospital, Apothecaries, Doctors and Surgeons, Dentists, Galvanism, 1932 typhoid outbreak, Health & Housing in 1909, Cholera, Smallpox, Smallpox Vaccination, Typhoid, 1918 Influenza epidemic Workhouse Settlement & Removals, managing the workhouse, state of the workhouse 1818, workhouse provisions, scandal at the workhouse, life in the workhouse, one of yours in the workhouse, masters & matrons, advertisements for staff First World War War is declared, the Wider War Effort, Employment issues for local tradesmen, Zeppelin Raids, Local Recruitment Advertising and Meetings, Military Tribunals, Medals and Bravery, Casualties, War Memorial, Armistice is Signed

This website is constructed using RapidWeaver. Specific theme design, 'Aspen' is © Nick Cates Design
Site last updated 29th January 2020
Contact me