The Early History
Evidence has been found of settlements on the land once associated with the farm going back to prehistoric times, with suggestions of communities of sorts from the Iron Age and Roman times. An archaeological survey undertaken in 1990, prior to the establishment of the golf course on what was part of the farm land, also identified substantial evidence of mediaeval pottery, much damaged and scattered by the plough, although little was revealed in the direct vicinity of the house itself.
Malton does not appear in the Domesday Book, although it is first mentioned in other documents as ‘Maketun’, an Anglo Saxon foundation, in 1200. The name derives from a personal name and subsequently appears as Melketon(e), Malketun and Mauketon, before finally appearing as Malton in 1363. Other spellings subsequently encountered include Maweton and Molton, also as Walton on a few maps. Malton was a separate parish, with its own church from 1216, although by 1765 at the latest it was a part of the parish of Orwell.
During the 13th century Malton was a thriving community. In 1279 the manor was owned by two brothers-in-law, Roger Thornton and Philip St Clowe, and there were registered 7 villeins, 10 cottagers and 3 free tenants. By 1428 however the population was just three, the black death and other disasters of the 14th century having taken their toll.
Roger Thornton and Philip St Clowe were married to Agnes and Amphelise, daughters of Nicholas le Vavassour who was holding a fee in Malton in 1235. They acquired the manor when Vavassour divided it into two parts in 1265.
The Thornton Estate
The Thornton half of the manor passed to Richard FitzRalph who was the son of Eleanor and Ralph FitzRalph. Eleanor was Roger Thornton’s niece, daughter of his brother Bartholomew, she had married Ralph, son of William FitzRalph of Shepreth by 1312. By 1346 the estate had passed to Richard’s brother Thomas, before it was left to Elizabeth (relationship unknown) who was married to Edmund Flambard and who owned the estate in 1349. From 1383 she held the estate as a widow until her death in 1394 when she left it to her daughter Eleanor and her husband Walter Tyrell. In turn the estate passed to their son Edward who owned it by 1428 and he then left it to his nephew Thomas Tyrell who owned it after 1442. When he died in 1477 he left the estate to his grandson, Thomas Tyrell, and his wife Beatrice, and it was they who sold their half of the manor of Malton to Lady Margaret Beaufort in 1504.
The St Clowe Estate
The St Clowe half of the manor was passed from Philip to his son Nicholas in 1302 and thereafter John St Clowe, who owned it in 1346, to George by 1378 and Edmund by 1410. His son Edmund granted the estate to his son-in-law William Horn, who was married to his daughter Elizabeth, and they owned it in 1443. When William died in 1469 he left the estate to his son Nicholas who in turn left it to his brother Thomas by 1473. Thomas Horn (alias Littlebury), in 1485, settled the estate to Thomas Oxenbridge in satisfaction of a bond on which he had defaulted. Oxenbridge then sold the estate to William Cheyne and James Docwra, who in turn, in the same year of 1492, granted it to William Felton. William’s son William then granted the estate to William Cheyne’s widow Elizabeth in 1501. Elizabeth later married Ralph Chamberlain and in 1503 they conveyed the estate to William Smith, the bishop of Lincoln, who was acting for Lady Margaret Beaufort and she received the estate in 1506, thus acquiring the whole of Malton.