THORNTON IN CRAVEN, a parish-town, in the east-division and liberty of Staincliffe; 6 miles SW. of Skipton, Gargrave, Gisburn, and Colne, (Lanc.) 12 from Burnley, (ditto) 13 from Keighley and Settle, 47 from York. Pop. 1,829. The Church, which is at some distance from the village, is a rectory, dedicated to St. Mary, (Whitaker's Craven says to St. Oswald, or All Saints,) in the deanry of Craven, value, £19. 5s. 2½d. Patron, Sir John Lister Kaye, Bart. Fortnight Fairs, are on the Mondays before Skipton.
In this parish are the manors of Thornton, Eureby, and Kelbrook, which have never been separated from the earliest times, but have passed together, and in succession, through the families of Percy, Kyme, Muncey, Roos, Pilkington, Manners, Lister, and Kaye. In 28th Edward I. Walter de Muncey, obtained a charter of free warren in Thornton, Enreby, and Kelbrook, together with a fair and market at Thornton, viz. a market every Thursday, and a fair there for five days, viz., on the eve, day, and morrow of St. Thomas the Martyr, and two following days. In 1556, 3 and 4 Philip and Mary, the manor and advowson were alienated by Henry, second Earl of Northumberland, to William Lister; through which family they have descended to the present proprietor.
Thornton appears to have had some share of the troubles in the time of Charles I. for we find, that the Manor House of Sir William Lister was taken by a party of Royalists, in July, 1643, sent by Sir John Mallory, from Skipton, which was some time afterwards burnt, and never re built. Several years since, on digging into the rubbish, an apartment was discovered on the ground floor, with the old furniture undisturbed. --Whitaker's Craven.
Here are Alms Houses for five poor widows, founded by the late Joseph Smith, Esq. Banker, London, and endowed it by him with 3s. 6d. each, per week, and coals.
[Description(s) edited from various 19th century sources by Colin Hinson © 2013]