York House Old Malton Abbey House, Old Malton The Old Lodge, Malton Chancery Lane Sketch by Henry Bird Chancery Lane, Malton Charles Dickens, Malton Connection

Dickens Trail, The Charles Dickens (Malton) Society

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1 Town Hall & Tourist Information Centre
A 16th Century building, partly rebuilt in the 18th Century, it had a covered market beneath the now-filled in arches and Justices room above. Now used by the award-winning Malton Museum, it contains Roman artefacts from Derventio, the Roman fortress adjacent to Old Maltongate.

2 Talbot Hotel
Charles Dickens took beverage here (a busy staging post for horse-drawn transport). On one occasion he found there was no planned onward transport to Smithson’s house at Easthorpe Hall, so he hired a hearse to take him there!

3 York House
Dickens was a great friend of Charles Smithson. York House was Smithson’s birthplace: he was baptised at St Michael's Church, Malton on Christmas Eve, 1804. St Michael’s was originally founded in c.1150 as one of two chapels of ease for the Gilbertine priory at Old Malton.

4 Middlecave Road.
Home of Mrs Jump and her husband, who lived in a little white house standing just below a beautiful clump of beech trees on the north side of what is now Middlecave Road. It is said that Dickens portrayed her as Mrs MacStinger in Dombey and Son.

5 Market Place
At the time Dickens visited Malton in July 1843, Alfred Lamert Dickens (younger brother of Charles), who was a civil engineer, was engaged on the construction of the York-Malton-Scarborough railway line, and later at the Malton & Driffield Railway Company: they had an office in the Market Place near Saville Street.

6 Chancery Lane Offices
The Smithson's had their solicitor’s offices here, where Richard, the father, and subsequently his sons, John, Henry and Charles carried out the duties of the Town Bailiff. Dickens told the Smithson family that he used the offices as the basis for Scrooge’s counting house in A Christmas Carol, and that the bells Scrooge heard on Christmas morning were those of St Leonard's on Church Hill..

7 Saville Street
Charles Dickens delighted audiences with his readings wherever he went. He read in Malton, in what was said to be a theatre, on one of his visits. Although there is no evidence of a Saville Street Theatre, there is much speculation as to where it might have been. Saville House, believed to have previously been called Ebenezer Chapel. is a possibility, or the Methodist Chapel. Alternatively there might have been an entrance through to the Corn Exchange (destined to become a cinema) from Saville Street (now an entrance into the shopping mall) and to the Subscription Rooms, which were at that time used as a literary society and reading room. Given the popularity of his readings, whoever organised this could have simply borrowed one of the town’s other chapels.

8 Railway Station
Alfred Lamert Dickens (younger brother of Charles) who was a civil engineer, was engaged on the construction of the York, Malton Scarborough Railway line and later on the Malton and Driffield Railway, which opened in 1853, (later to be called the ‘Malton Dodger’ because of the winding rail track between Malton and Driffield).

9 St Leonard's Church on Church Hill.
The bells heard by Scrooge in A Christmas Carol were those of St Leonard's Church on Church Hill. In the novel, Scrooge wakes up, and the bells of a neighbourhood church ring from six until twelve, then stop.

10 The Old Lodge
Now privately owned and transformed into a hotel, it is all that remains of a mansion built in the reign of James I, by Lord Eure. In 1674, because of a dispute over the division of property on Lord Eure's death, the mansion was demolished, with each heiress taking equal share of the stones. The Lodge has a secret staircase and a priest’s hole. Dickens would have passed here on his way to Abbey House

11 Abbey House Old Malton
Is situated behind St Mary's Priory Church. Smithson moved here in 1843 and died in 1844 aged only 39 years Dickens, in a letter to his wife Kate from the Abbey House dated 6th April 1844, described how he and the Smithson family searched high and low for a will at the office in Chancery Lane. In its unchanged interior you can almost feel the presence of Dickens frantically searching through the cupboards and desks. He wrote, "There appears to be no doubt whatsoever that he died without a will. Every place has been searched that could be thought of and nothing has been found." It is almost impossible to believe that a solicitor should die without drawing up a will but this was certainly the case. Alfred Lamert Dickens (younger brother of Charles) who at this time was living at Hillside Cottage, Greengate, Malton, was one of the administrators who extracted the grant of letters of Administration for Smithson.

12 St. Mary's
St. Mary's, Old Malton. Charles Smithson is buried in the church graveyard...

12. Old Malton Priory
Was founded by Eustace Fitz-John, in 1150 and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It was visited by Charles Dickens, who wrote on 6th July 1843 to Daniel Maclise, saying of the Malton area "For I am quite serious in saying that this is the most remarkable place of its size in England, and immeasurably the most beautiful".

13 Derwent Cottage 14 Hillside Cottage
Derwent Cottage, Scarborough Road, Norton and Hillside Cottage, Greengate, Malton are now private houses. Alfred Lamert Dickens lived at these houses during his work as an engineer.

15 Charles Smithson
The great author did not forget his friend. Charles Smithson still lives on as Mr Spenlow of ‘Spenlow and Jorkins’ in David Copperfield. On his death Mr Spenlow also failed to leave a will.

Easthorpe Hall
Home of Charles Smithson until the autumn of 1843. In a letter to Felton dated 1st September, Dickens recalled how "For days and weeks we never see the sky but through green boughs and all day long I cantered over such moss and turf that the horses' feet scarcely made a sound upon it”. His pen was not idle even on vacation, for he wrote here a poem for Lady Blessington entitled "A Word in Season" which appeared subsequently in “The Keepsake”, a fashionable annual edited by that Lady. He also wrote part of Martin Chuzzlewit. The character of Sairey Gamp is reputed to be a portrait of the housekeeper in the temporary employ of Charles Smithson. Easthorpe Hall, sadly destroyed by fire in the 1960s, was situated on the Castle Howard Road, some 2 ½ miles from Malton.

Was visited here by Charles Dickens. He wrote on 6th July 1843 to Daniel Maclise, saying of the Malton area "For I am quite serious in saying that this is the most remarkable place of its size in England, and immeasurably the most beautiful".
Dickens Trail Malton

Author:Malcolm Chalk (WWSM)