From AD 1445 Whitby’s market was held opposite the bridge at the foot of Flowergate. In 1640 the market moved to the east side of the river and in 1788 the town hall seen today was built by the lord of the manor, Nathaniel Cholmley. Its function was dual; firstly to act as a tollbooth for collecting rents and taxes due to the Cholmley family by their tenants, and secondly to house the court-leet which sat to settle disputes and prosecute petty offenders. This usually sat twice yearly and was presided over by the lord of the manor’s steward. Those found guilty often endured spells in the town stocks sited in the square outside.
Sunderland engineer Jonathan Pickernell