Malton - the Farm

By Sue Miller

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Malton - the Farm' page
Medieval Malton

In the 13th century Malton was a separate parish, between Orwell and the River Rhee, and the farm there has to this day been known simply as Malton, not as Malton Farm. It seems likely that Malton was being farmed as a single estate by the late 14th century because the parish was said to be depopulated by 1428.  Christ’s College, Cambridge owned the land from 1509, under the will of the college’s foundress, the Countess of Richmond, until 1978 when they sold to their current tenants, the Marr family.

Most of the estate was surrounded with a hedge by 1594, leaving a further 192 acres outside in the open fields of Orwell and the land was divided between several tenants until, by 1837, Malton was being run as a single farm of about 450 acres.

Photo:Malton in 1837

Malton in 1837

A Yorkshire farmer takes the tenancy in 1900

The Roads family, from Buckinghamshire, farmed Malton from the mid 19th century until 1900 when Joseph Marr brought his large family from Hunmanby, E.Yorkshire, to take the tenancy. (His daughter Ethel’s account of this move can be seen in our Memories category.) 

Wartime prosperity

Photo:Malton in 1941

Malton in 1941

The National Farm Survey of 1941 shows that Malton was prospering as a ‘mixed’ farm, with a concentration on cereals, beans and root crops, but with thirty-six acres of permanent pasture for its thirty-eight cattle and calves.  Ninety pigs and 130 poultry completed the livestock tally and twelve full-time workers were employed on the farm.  Malton was well mechanised with four tractors and a steam engine, and two combine harvesters were obtained under the Lease Lend scheme at the end of WW2.

Malton’s prizewinning livestock

Joseph Marr’s successor, Charles ‘Chil’ Marr, was a keen and very successful livestock farmer and Malton pigs and cattle were regular prizewinners at local fatstock shows in the 1950s and 60s.  However, his son Peter had no interest in keeping livestock and was too busy cultivating Trinity Farm, Barrington, as well as Malton, so when Chil became seriously ill in 1967 all the livestock were sold.  Peter continued to farm Malton as a tenant until Christ’s College offered it for sale in 1978.

More than fifteen generations of tenant farmers at Malton come to an end

Peter Marr bought the farm in1978, but sold the house and most of the land to a businessman who in 1992 attempted to establish an exclusive golf course on part of the land and went bankrupt.  The golf course was completed by another company and traded under various names until 2014, but is currently closed.

Malton’s arable land was sold and split between three neighbouring farmers, while the farmhouse and most of its outbuildings were sold separately and had no further connection with agriculture.  Richard Hoole of Rectory Farm, Orwell owned and farmed about 380 acres of the land for a while in partnership with Joseph Marr’s great grandson, the late Charlie Marr, working a simple rotation of wheat and oil seed rape with some sophisticated machinery that enabled them to dispense with paid labour.  On Richard’s retirement his Malton acres were bought in 2013 by businessman and landowner Bo Ivanovic and cultivation was carried out for him by Rand Brothers, agricultural contractors. Rand Brothers became the owners of the Malton land in 2015 and will be establishing a herd of pedigree Angus cattle on the former golf course in Spring 2016.

This page was added by Sue Miller on 21/01/2015.

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