"THIRSK, a market town and borough, in the wapentake of Birdforth, north riding, is 214 miles from London, 78 from Manchester, 23 from York, 12 from Boroughbridge, 10 from Easingwold and 9 from Northallerton. In the tenth century it consisted of only a few cottages, built by the vassals and retainers of the haughty baron, whose formidable castle first gave rise to the town. The earliest return of representatives to parliament from this town was in the reign of Edward I. after which-time no return was made till the last parliament of King Edward VI. the right of election is, at present, vested in the burgage tenures, to the number of fifty. The present members are Robert Frankland and Robert Greenhill Russell, Esquires. The municipal government of the town is vested in a bailiff, who is chosen by the burgage holders, and is sworn in by the steward of the lord of the manor, for whom he olds a court leet once in the year, at Michaelmas. The town itself is most delightfully situated, and is divided into two parts by the brook Colbeck, over which are two elegant stone bridges. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, appears to be partly ancient and partly of a modern date; it is a handsome) Gothic structure, and the view, as it is presented to the stranger in passing through Kirkgate, is extremely fine: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the gift of the Archbishop of York, and Matthew Butterwick, Esq. is the lay rector. The other places of worship are a chapel each. for the Wesleyan and independent Methodists, and a meeting house for the society of friends. Thirsk castle, built by the family of Mowbray, (and of which the only vestiges remaining are some subterranean vaults and the castle yard,) was of immense magnitude, and inferior to few in the kingdom for the magnificence of its external appearance : the foundation was laid A.D. 959, and was finished in 979. The market-day is Monday; and the fairs are Shrove Monday, Easter Monday, April 5th, Whit-Monday, August 4th, October 28th and 29th, and, the first Tuesday after December 11th. The borough and township of Thirsk contained, by the last census, 2,533 inhabitants. Sowerby is a village, in the parish of Thirsk, about a quarter of a mile south of that town, situated in a part of the county that for beauty and fertility is not often exceeded. The church, or rather chapel of ease to Thirsk, is of a venerable and ancient appearance, erected, apparently, subsequent to the reformation. The population of the township, in 1821, was 748."
Pigot's National Commericial Directory for 1828-29
by Colin Hinson ©2007