Population: 20,000
Ordnance Survey
OS grid reference: SE371937
District: Hambleton
Shire county: North Yorkshire
Region: Yorkshire and the Humber
Country: England
Ceremonial county: North Yorkshire
Historic county: Yorkshire (North Riding)
Police force: North Yorkshire Police
Post office and telephone
Postal district: DL6, DL7
Dialling code: 01609
UK Parliament: Richmond
European Parliament: Yorkshire and the Humber

Northallerton is a town in the Northern English county of Yorkshire and, since 1974 the county town of the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire. It is part of the Hambleton district, and has a population of about 20,000.

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 said to be the most affluent town in the whole of England. The town is Saxon in origin. Later, in the 10th century, Danish insurgents settled at Romanby and Brompton. A fine example of English stonecarving from the period, the Brompton Hogbacks, can be found in Brompton Parish church.

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 that became the Battle of the Standard, fought largely in Brompton Parish in 1138, During the English 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 rising 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 indeed it still does), as did the line linking the industrial West Riding with the port and steel town of Middlesbrough. It is now served by Northallerton railway station.

Northallerton became a town by Royal Charter: the first charter was granted in 1200. It became the market centre for the area and also drew traders from further afield to its four annual fairs (now 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 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.

Northallerton College (formerly Northallerton Grammar School) was founded in 1326. Parts of the old school building can be seen adjacent to All Saints' Church near the north end of Northallerton High Street.

Northallerton is also famous for being the site of the Battle of the Standard in 1138. If one walks along the main road from the nearby village of Bullamoor to Brompton a monument to the battle can be found.

Northallerton Prison (now a Young Offenders' Institute) once had the world's largest treadmill.

Today, Northallerton's main commercial function is a mixture of light industry, commerce and agricultural services.

Northallerton was the first place outside London to host a Sex Pistols concert in May 1976.

Famous people from Northallerton include the mountaineer Alan Hinkes, who is famous for injuring himself whilst sneezing on chapati flour at altitude. He is widely recognised as one of the UK's best climbers.

The Allertonshire wapentake of the North Riding was named after the town.

The town is served by 2 GP surgeries: Mayford House Surgery (Doctors A W Curry, Hilary J Enevoldson, C G Oates, A W Walters, P A Ramsden, Georgina D Jackson & Morwen Rees-Jones) and Mowbray House Surgery (Doctors P J Edon, Catherine L Todd, Amanda M Eames, S W P Miers, D P E Rogers, Lorraine J Burton, J H Waldron and N D Palmerley). The Friarage Hospital (part of South Tees NHS Trust) serves the local community.

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