Pubs & Beerhouses


It would appear that Malton always had a lot of pubs! According to William White's 1840 directory of the North & East Ridings in 1840 there were 22 public houses and 7 beerhouses in Malton town (though possibly not all were listed in the directory) see the list below. At some points in the town it was possible to be with a few yards of 3 or more pubs. The pubs, inns, taverns, hotels all played their part in not only providing refreshments and accommodation in a thriving market town but also hosted inquests and dinners for local groups eg Friendly Societies.

In addition there were beerhouses. Beerhouses were a type of pub that could only legally sell beer. They came into being under the 1830 Beer Act and were administered by the excise authorities. Requirements were not too demanding and anybody who would pay two guineas to get a licence to sell beer from their own home - hence the term 'beer house'. This encouraged those engaged in other trades to sell beer alongside their other activities.

Of course over they years there have been changes. The Lost Pubs Project lists pubs that have closed in Malton. Another site giving details of the changes in the pub scene in Malton & Norton is Pubs Past and Present - Malton & Norton.

We have our own list of pubs, inns, beerhouses and their licensees in which you will find references to ownership, licence transfers etc etc!

The Legal Side

The Alehouse Act of 1828 required there to be an annual licensing meeting in every town. These became known as the Brewster Sessions (brewster was a term meaning brewer). At these meetings, licences would be renewed, transferred or refused. Malton regularly had two meetings, the second to hear any appeals in consequence of decisions made at the first meeting.

In Malton, each year the superintendent of police would present a report to the Brewster Session summarising the licensing situation. This would include breaches of licences and cases of drunken behaviour. The justices at the Brewster Sessions would use this in deciding which licences would be renewed, which new ones and transfers would be granted. Landlords needed to be personally present at the meeting.

At the September 1838 Brewster Sessions, Mr. Lapish, a beer-retailer in Newbiggin applied for a spirit licence but the magistrates concluded there were sufficient spirit licensed houses without making any more. Mr. Lapish had been before the magistrates twice previously. [1]

Fully licensed pubs were administered by local magistrates, although in 1869 beerhouses too came under the control of the magistrates. The Wine and Beerhouse Act 1869 stipulated that if a landlord had been convicted of having his house open for the sale of liquor during prohibited hours, then any person present in the house at the time would be liable to a penalty not exceeding 40s. (image: ©British Library NEWS6512 Malton Messenger 18 March 1871)

In 1871 seven of the licensees were brought before the sessions and cautioned that if they were again convicted their licence would be withdrawn, and that from then on following a first caution, licences would be withdrawn. Those from Malton cautioned were James Stabler, of the Green Man Inn, Frear Storr of the Crown and Anchor, Richard Walker of the King's Head, Ann Taylor of the Spotted Cow and Charles Potter of the Cross Keys Inn. Joseph Rollinson of the Hare and Hounds Inn was told that as he had been twice convicted his licence would be withdrawn. [2]

There were frequent jailings for drunkenness, invariably of those from the working class who would tend to use the pubs and beer houses, whereas the middle class would consume their alcohol at home. Also of note was the influence of water quality - water for drinking was drawn from pumps in the street - beer was made from water that was boiled.

At the 1874 Brewster Sessions, there were said to be 34 licensed houses in the town (and a further 19 'in the country'.) Opening hours in the town were 6am to 10pm and Sundays 12.30 to 2.30 and 6pm to 10pm [3]

In 1875 out of 52 licence holders, two had been convicted. The landlord of the Old Talbot Hotel for permitting drunkenness; and the landlord of the Prince of Wales beerhouse for allowing drinking in prohibited hours. Their licences were however renewed. 76 persons were summoned or apprehended for drunkenness with 74 convicted (figures for 1874 were 90 and 88 respectively) in the division. At this time, there was an active 'teetotal' or temperance movement in the town. At the same sessions there was one application for a new licence, from Mr. Thomas Taylor, a grocer in the town who asked for a wine and beer licence for a restaurant he had opened in Yorkersgate. The opposers said that there were quite sufficient places for supplying liquor already existing in the town. Mr. Taylor's representative made the point that it was not a public-house licence that was being applied for, but one to sell wine and beer to those who came for more solid refreshment. He produced a 'memorial' signed by 5 clergymen, including the three vicars of the Malton parishes, plus the principal merchants, tradesmen, and farmers who visited the market. Mr Taylor said he would be content with the wine licence only, which was granted. [4]

Under the Licensing Act 1904, The Old Talbot (Market-st), the Hare and Hounds (Newbiggin), and the Workmen's Arms beer house (Old Maltongate) had their licenses dispensed with on 31st December 1907. Based on the last census that left one license to every 204 of the population! [5]

A correspondent to the Yorkshire Gazette in 1913 reported that certain pubs and beer houses had closed since 1840 [6] Amongst the vanished hotels that existed in 1840 are the Angel Hotel, Saville-st, Robert Groves (landlord); Black Horse, Yorkersgate, David Hick; Rockingham Arms, Wheelgate, Geo. Peterkin; White Hart, Low-st., John Miller; White Horse, Yorkersgate, Thos. Vickerman; and beer houses - William Allen, Low-st; Robert Drake, Wheelgate; Mary Harwood, Old Maltongate; William Lapish, Newbegin; William Shuter, Low-st; Henry Simpkin, Old Maltongate

In 1923 5 licences were identified for review by the licensing authorities. Among others, Superintendent Craven of the Malton police believed that the 26 fully-licensed houses, 4 beer houses and 4 off-licenses were not necessary. There were at that time 13 situated in Wheelgate, Finkle-street, Market-place and Yorkersgate. He was of the opinion that three could be dispensed with [7]

  • [1] York Herald, 8 September 1838
  • [2] York Herald, 2 September 1871
  • [3] Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 31 August 1874
  • [4] York Herald, 30 August 1875
  • [5] Yorkshire Gazette, 15 February 1908
  • [6] Yorkshire Gazette, 31 May 1913
  • [7] Malton Messenger, 10 March 1923
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The Sun Inn

From this announcement it would appear that the Sun Inn was demolished and rebuilt shortly before June 1871 (image: ©British Library NEWS6512 Malton Messenger 17 June 1871)

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It would appear from this announcement that Richard Wilson, then landlord of the Sun Inn, but also a farmer, was bankrupt at his death. This advertisement reveals what might be a typical list of furnishings and fittings for a pub/hotel at the time (image: ©British Library NEWS6512 Malton Messenger 28 October 1871)

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The Temperance Movement

The use and misuse of alcohol was evident across the country in pre-Victorian times. Gin was the most popular drink of the working class. There were two movements that tried to address this. The 'temperance movement' which supported moderation, whereas the 'teetotal movement' supported total abstinence. Both had their promoters and followers in Malton. At the same time, religious groups lobbied for the restriction of alcohol sales.

Undoubtedly the consumption of beer was partly driven by availability and custom. However, it should also be remembered that water supplies were likely contaminated particularly as towns began to support increasing populations and the consumption of beer made with boiled water was a relatively safe alternative.

A Temperance Society was established in Malton in 1832 and became a Total Abstinence Society in 1837 and reportedly had 75 members [1] The Malton Total Abstinence Society was founded in 1836 and celebrated its ninth year of existence on 7th August 1845 when '320 took tea in the Assembly-Rooms' [2]. Clearly the Teetotallers were very active as a report in early 1839 describes there being 'two public meetings last week, in the Boys' Free School-room . . . and a reformed drunkard, delivered a humorous and highly characteristic address . . . and on the second occasion . . . by another reformed character . . . We understand several persons signed the pledge' [3]. In January 1840 it was reported that in the two weeks after Christmas 38 signed [4].

  • [1] Copperthwaite Survey of Malton, 1841
  • [2] York Herald, 16 Aug 1845
  • [3] York Herald, 19 Jan 1839
  • [4] York Herald, 11 Jan 1840
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