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"The History and Annals of Northallerton, Yorkshire, with notes and voluminous Appendix, compiled from authentic and reliable sources" was written by the Reverend J.L. Saywell, F.S.Sc and was published in 1885. The book contains over 300 pages with 4 pages of photographs and several drawings (mainly coats of arms).
This is a very unusual book in that it has no Contents, no Index and no numbered Chapters. The main part of the book is written in a continuous time-line from Saxon/Domesday times nearly up to the date of publication. The huge Appendix is in two parts, the first being written on a time-line similar to the main part the book, and the second containing miscellaneous items.
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A transcription of the Preface of the book:
The necessity for a new edition of the History of Northallerton is the compiler's apology for issuing the present work. An historical work is necessarily one which must from time to time be enlarged and improved. The histories by Gale, Langdale, and Ingledew have come and gone, having served their day and generation ; and the compiler trusts that the same kind consideration and patronage will be extended to him and his work as were enjoyed by his predecessors. It is hoped that the " History and Annals of Northallerton " will he found more complete, reliable, and interesting than any previous history of the town : much new and important matter has been added, and the whole brought down to the present date. With a view to a continuation of the work by other hands at some future time, and to preclude the necessity of an index, the compiler has arranged his information under successive years, care being taken to eliminate everything of an unim- portant and uninteresting nature. If the work tends in any degree to maintain the prestige and reputation of the " capital of the North-Riding," to which title Northallerton has an undoubted claim, the compiler will be amply rewarded. To all those who have encouraged and assisted him in the work he begs to return his most sincere thanks.
J. L. S. ACKWORTH,
A list of the miscellaneous parts of the Appendix:
- Northallerton Fairs
- Church Bells
- Romanby Chapel
- St. James Hospital, Romanby
- Religious Houses
- Parish Registers
- Extraccts from a Lecture
- Sir Hugh Smithson
- Hair powder certificates
- Glebe Lands
- Quarter Sessions
- Jewish Documents
- Census list
- Vicars and Curates
- Other ministers
- Poems and Ballads
A short review of the book by Nancy McLaughlin:
In 1881 Reverend Joseph Saywell, author of “The History and Annals of Northallerton” was a 27 year old curate, unmarried, and boarding at the Northallerton home of bootmaker Joseph Tyerman. Just four years later, his book “Annals” was published. By the year 1891 Saywell had acquired a wife and two children, and left Northallerton to become curate of the parish of Middelton Tyas.
During his brief curacy of the parish of Northallerton, Reverend Saywell must surely have devoted many hours to the study of “authentic and reliable sources” upon which he has based this work.
This is no ordinary parish history. There are no chapter headings and no index. Information has been arranged chronologically, with marginal headings and dates to guide the reader. The lack of an index is of no consequence, the "find" feature of Adobe Acrobat being all that is necessary to locate specific entries.
Within the main section of the book, and also in its "voluminous appendix", are to be found many items of interest to the family historian - items not easily found elsewhere. Perhaps your ancestor paid the Hair Powder Tax of 1795? Or maybe you trace back to one of those executed at Northallerton in 1572? We can read of antiquarian Ralph Thoresby's account of his visit to Northallerton in 1703; or of Grammar School master Thomas Smelt's addiction to drink!
"Annals of Northallerton" is virtually crammed with information and names, - an amazing book, and one to be read, digested and enjoyed many times over.
Nancy McLaughlin, March 2005.
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