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Northallerton is the County town and administrative centre of North Yorkshire. It owes its origins, growth and importance to its position in the centre of the Vale of York, on the main communications route between the south and the north, and as the market nucleus for a large rural area. It is thought that the Romans had a signal station here on its Imperial Postal system at this spot and indeed a minor route between York and Hadrian's Wall ran close by, through what eventually became Brompton Parish. However, the town is Saxon in origin. Later in the 10th century Danish insurgents settled at Romanby and Brompton.

Its position on a major route way brought death and destruction to the town on many occasions. In 1069 the whole area was laid to waste by the armies of William the Conqueror and was still waste at the time of the Domesday Book. It later suffered at the hands of the Scots in the campaign which became the Battle of the Standard, fought largely in Brompton Parish in 1138, During the Civil War of 1642 to 1649 the town gave shelter to King Charles I on two occasions whilst the army of the Duke of Cumberland rested there on its march to Scotland during the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

In the golden age of coaching, Northallerton had four coaching inns along its High Street serving passengers and horses using several routes to the north. With the arrival of the railway in 1841 the town maintained its importance as a communications centre. The line from London to Edinburgh via York and Newcastle passed through the town, as did the line linking the industrial West Riding with the port and steel town of Middlesbrough.

Northallerton became by Royal Charter, the first charter was granted in 1200, and became the market centre for the area and also drew traders from further afield to its four annual fairs but know reduced to two. Cattle drovers bringing cattle horses and sheep from Northumbria and Scotland regularly came to the town. The original cattle market was by the Church, but sheep were sold on the High Street until the early part of the 20th century. With the arrival of the railway the mart was built close to the station, but this later closed and today the cattle market is held at the Applegarth.

The Quarter Sessions for the area were held in the town from the 17th century, in various buildings including the Tollbooth, the guild Hall and Vine House, but eventually a Court House was built in East Road in 1875, close by to a House of Correction that opened in 1783.

When the Poor Law Union system was introduced, a workhouse was established in the town to serve the three parishes in the area. This building is now part of the Friarage Hospital. When in 1856 the North Riding Constabulary was founded, one of the last County forces to be formed, Northallerton was selected as its headquarters, operating initially from premises in East Road.

With this history of local administration, Northallerton became the obvious location for the headquarters of the North Riding County Council, and so in 1906 a purpose built structure was built on the site of the old racecourse to the south of the town.

 

Text for this page kindly provided by Colin Narramore
  


 

  
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