"THIRSK, a parish partly within the liberty of ST-PETER-of-YORK, East riding, but chiefly in the wapentake of BIRDFORTH, North riding, of the county of YORK, comprising the borough and market-town, of Thirsk, and the chapelries of Carlton-Islebeck, or Miniot, Sand-Hutton, and Sowerby, and containing 3502 inhabitants, of which number, 2533 are in the borough of Thirsk, 23 miles N.N.W. from York, and 223 N.N.W. from London. The conjectural derivation of the name of this place is from Tre Isk, two ancient British words, signifying a town and river, or brook. A strong and extensive castle was erected here, about 979, by the ancient family of Mowbray, on which Roger de Mowbray, in the time of Henry II., having become a confederate of the King of Scotland, erected his standard against his lawful sovereign; on the suppression of that revolt, this fortress, with many others, was entirely demolished, by order of the king. In the reign of Henry VII., during a popular commotion, Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and lieutenant of this county, is said to have been put to death here, beneath a very ancient elm-tree, which formerly grew on Elm Green. The town is situated on the road from York to Edinburgh, nearly in the centre of the vale of Mowbray, a tract of country remarkable for the fertility of its soil, and the picturesque beauty and richness of its scenery: it consists of the Old and the New towns, which are separated by a small stream, called Cod-beck, over which are two substantial stone bridges. A neat gravel walk across the fields leads to the adjacent village of Sowerby; it commands a fine prospect of the surrounding country, terminated by the Hambleton hills, and is the favourite promenade of the inhabitants. At the south-western extremity ol the town, the moat and rampart, together with some subterranean vaults, and the site of the court-yard of the castle, still exist. Within the precincts of thisacient fortress New Thirsk is situated, with its sPacl° and commodious market-place in the centre. The Ola Town, which alone is included within the limits of tne borough, is on the north-east side of the stream, and consists of a long range of cottages on each side of the turnpike road leading from York to Yarm and StocKton, and two squares surrounded by similar buildings, one called St. James' Green,where the cattle fairsare held, the other formerly comprising an ancient churcn, dedicated to St. James> of which there are no vestiges. This place is called Elm Green, from the ancient elm that formerly grew there, beneath which the members of parliament for the borough were usually elected. A small quantity of coarse linen and sacking is manufactured. Coal, which is partly brought from the county of Durham, in small carts containing from eighteen to twenty-two bushels each, is sold at a very high price, although the supply has been somewhat increased by the extension of the Darlington railway to Croft Bridge, twenty-one miles distant. The market is on Monday, and is a large one for provisions, of which great quantities purchased here are carried for sale to Leeds and other places. Fairs are held on Shrove- Monday and April 4th and 5th, for cattle, sheep, leather, &c.; Easter-Monday and Whit-Monday, for woollen cloth, toys, &c. 5 and August 4th and 5th, October 28th and 29th, and the first Tuesday after December 11th, for cattle, sheep, and leather. The municipal regulations of the town are vested in a bailiff, chosen by the burgage-holders, and sworn in before the steward of the lord of the manor, who holds a court leet annually at Michaelmas, for that and other purposes. Old Thirsk is a borough by prescription, and first sent members to parliament in. the 23rd of Edward I., but made no other return till the last parliament of Edward VI.: the elective franchise is vested in the burgage-holders, in number about fifty; the bailiff is the returning officer, and the influence of Sir Robert Frankland, Bart., is predominant. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Cleveland, and diocese of York, endowed with £1600 parliamentary grant, and in the patronage of the Archbishop of York. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, and situated at the northern extremity of the New Town, is a spacious and handsome structure, in the later style of English architecture, with a lofty embattled tower at the west end, and is supposed to have been constructed from the ruins of the castle. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyan Methodists. In 1769, Jane Day bequeathed £100 for the instruction of poor children. There is a school-house under the chancel of the church for instruction in English grammar, writing, and arithmetic. In the town is also a school of industry, for clothing and educating poor girls. A dispensary, supported by voluntary contributions, has recently been established."
"CARLTON MINIOT, (or Carlton Islebeck), a chapelry in the parish of THIRSK, partly in the liberty of ST-PETER-of-YORK, East riding, and partly in the wapentake of BIRDFORTH, North riding of the county of YORK, 2 miles S.W. from Thirsk, containing 221 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, with that of Sand-Hutton, in the archdeaconry of Cleveland, and diocese of York, endowed with £800 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Archbishop of York."
"SAND HUTTON, a chapelry in the parish of THIRSK, wapentake of BIRDFORTH, North riding of the county of YORK, 4 miles S.W. from Thirsk, containing 273 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, with that of Thirsk, in the archdeaconry of Cleveland, and diocese of York, endowed with £800 royal bounty. The chapel is dedicated to St. Mary. Here is a place of worship for Wesleyan Methodists."
"SOWERBY, a chapelry in the parish of THIRSK, wapentake of BIRDFORTH, North riding of the county of YORK, 1 mile S. from Thirsk, containing 748 inhabitants. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry of Cleveland, and diocese of York, endowed with £200 private benefaction, and £400 royal bounty, and in the patronage of the Archbishop of York."
[Transcribed by Mel Lockie © from
Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of England 1835]