THORNTON LE STREET: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890.


Wapentake of Allertonshire - Electoral Division of South Otterington - Petty Sessional Division of Birdforth - Poor Law Union, County Court District, and Rural Deanery of Thirsk - Archdeaconry of Cleveland - Diocese of York.

This parish lies from three to five miles N.W. of Thirsk, and is intersected by the Codbeck rivulet and the North Eastern railway. In addition to the township of its own name it includes that of North Kilvington, the united area being 2,750 acres, of which 1,340 acres belong to the township of Thornton-le-Street. The gross rental of the latter is £1,943, and rateable value £1,739.

Thornton is a common place-name in this county, and this one is distinguished from the others by the addendum le-Street, from its situation on the old Roman road which led from York to the north. This road crossed the parish, passing near the village a little to the west of the old mill, but all traces are now nearly obliterated. There are some indications of a Roman camp, and relics of Roman handiwork have been occasionally unearthed, but these possess no special value, as they afford no clue to the name of the station.

The manor, soon after the Conquest, was granted to the bishops of Durham, who held it of the king in capite by the service of half a knight's fee, and no rent. About the middle of the 17th century we find it in the possession of the Talbots, an ancient and hononrable family, whose ancestor came to England in the train of the Conqueror, and is mentioned in Domesday Book.

Roger Talbot was an uncompromising loyalist, and held a captaincy in the army of Charles I., in whose service he passed through many dangers. In the first year after the Restoration he was elected M.P. for Northallerton, and was for many years a justice of the peace. He died in 1680, and was succeeded by his son, Roger, who does not appear to have taken any active part in the affairs of the district. The latter's son, also named Roger, married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Thomas Frankland, Bart. of Thirkleby, by whom he had two children, Roger and Arabella. The son succeeded to the estates on his father's demise, and was elected to parliament by the burgesses of Thirsk in 1754. He married the widow of Sir Robert Fagg, Bart., but had no issue, and died in 1778, when the name became extinct. The mansion and estate were inherited by his sister, Arabella, wife of Col. Geo. Their son, Roger, the next owner, left two daughters, co-heiresses, by whom the estate was sold to Samuel Crompton, Esq., who was twice mayor of Derby, in which county the family had been located from about the middle of the 17th century. His son and successor, Samuel Crompton, Esq., was advanced to a baronetcy in 1838, but, dying in 1849 without male issue, the title became extinct. He left by his wife, the daughter of the Hon. and Rev. Archibald Hamilton Cathcart, four daughters, to the eldest of whom, Elizabeth Mary, he devised the mansion and estate of Wood End. She married in 1850 Alan Frederick, Lord Greenock, eldest son of the second Earl Catheart, who succeeded to the title and estates of that earldom on the death of his father, in 1859.

The Cathcarts are a family of ancient lineage, and derive their name and title from the parish of Cathcart, near Glasgow. Sir Alan Cathcart, Knight, was Warden of the Scottish Marches in the reign of James II., of Scotland, and was raised to the baronage by that king in 1460. The eighth baron was a celebrated military commander in the reign of George II. The tenth baron was Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Force sent to Copenhagen in 1807, and was rewarded with a British peerage on his return. In 1814 he was advanced to the dignity of an earl. He died in 1843, and was succeeded by his eldest surviving son, Charles Murray, second Earl Cathcart, K.C.B. He also was bred to the profession of arms, and was present at several engagements in the Peninsular War. He also served in the campaign of 1815, and took part in the battle of Waterloo. In 1846 he was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, &c., and was raised to the rank of general in 1854. He married Henrietta, daughter of Thomas Mather, Esq., and had issue Alan Frederick, the present earl; Augustus Murray, lieut.-colonel in the army, who served through the Crimean War in 1854-6; and three daughters.

Edgar John Meynell, Esq., Durham, possesses two estates in the township.

Thornton-le-Street Hall, formerly called Wood End, the seat of Earl Cathcart, but at present the residence of H. Illingworth, Esq., J.P., is a handsome modern mansion, surrounded by an extensive and well-wooded park, on the west side of the village of Thornton-le-Street. A noble arched gateway, flanked by a lodge on each side, forms the principal entrance, from which a fine carriage drive leads to the east or grand entrance of the mansion. The hall underwent extensive alterations about six years ago, when it was almost entirely remodelled. The walls of the spacious and elegant rooms are adorned by many fine examples of old and modern masters.

The Old Hall, the manor house of the Talbots, is situated a little to the north of the village, and is now converted into a farmstead, which is in the occupation of Mrs. Wilkinson.

The village is pleasantly situated on the west bank of the Codbeck, about three miles N. by W. of Thirsk. The church, dedicated to St. Leonard, is a small neat structure, consisting of nave, chancel, porch, and small belfry with two bells, on the west gable. There are indications in the architecture of the oldest portions that point to the twelfth century as the period of erection. In 1855, the edifice was restored in the Early English style, when the Norman chancel arch was replaced by a pointed one; but the fine circular north doorway has been retained, and also the piscina in the south wall of the chancel.

Several memorials of the dead adorn the walls and floor. On the east wall of the chancel is a tablet inscribed to the memory of Roger Talbot, Esq., a captain in the army of Charles I., who died in 1680; and on a brass plate in the floor is an inscription to the memory of Elizabeth Pudsey, widow of the above Roger Talbot, who died in 1694. Against the north wall is a tablet to another Roger Talbot, Esq., and Sarah, his wife; the former of whom died in 1777, and the latter in 1792. On a quatrefoil of stone, opposite the entrance, is the following inscription:- "In Memory of Sir Samuel Crompton, of Thornton-le-Street, Beaghall, and Throbley, Baronet. This ancient church (near which he was buried) was restored A.D. 1855. Born, 1785; Died, 1848." There is also a brass tablet to the Hon. Charles Cathcart, who died in 1880.

The living was anciently a rectory, in the patronage of the Bishops of Durham, by whom it was appropriated to the hospital of St James, at Northallerton, and a vicarage ordained therein. The rectory, with the tithes of corn and hay, was valued at £7 3s. 4d. per annum, out of which the sum of 5s. 4d. was paid yearly to the collegiate church of Ripon. After the dissolution of religious houses, the patronage and appropriation were granted by the Crown to the dean and canons of Christ Church, Oxford, with whom they still remain. The living was augmented in 1769 with £200 from Queen Anne's Bounty, and with £200 by parliamentary grant in 1810, to meet benefactions of £100 from the Rev. Thomas Hartland Fowle, the vicar, and £100 from Mrs. Pyncombe's trustees. It is now worth £120, and held by the Rev. Edward Gustavus Wadeson, M.A.

NORTH KILVINGTON township is situated on the east side of the Codbeck rivulet, and is separated from South Kilvington by the Spittlebeck. It comprises 902 acres of land, solely the property of Edgar John Meynell, Esq. Gross estimated rental, £1,217; rateable value, £1,090; and population, 87.

Few Yorkshire families can lay claim to a higher antiquity than that of Meinell or Meynell. The name occurs in Holinshed's copy of the Roll of Battle Abbey, in which are enumerated all the Normans of distinction who accompanied the Conqueror to England, and were present at the battle which extinguished the Saxon dynastry. Their earliest Yorkshire settlement was at Whorlton, where they were located in the reign of Henry I. Their connection with Kilvington dates from the early part of the 16th century, when Robert Meinell held the farmhold of Kilvington on lease from the Abbey of Eggleston. He married Agnes, daughter of Sir John Lancaster, Knight, of Stockbridge, Westmoreland, and had issue (I.) Robert, who was appointed a sergeant-at-law in 1547; (II.) Henry; and (III) Anthony. To the two younger sons, as joint tenants, he left the lease of this estate, A few years later, Eggleston Abbey fell in the general wreck of religious houses, and the manor of North Kilvington was granted by Henry VIII., on easy terms, to William and John Sewsters, Esqrs., from whom it was purchased in 1544 by the lease holders, Henry and Anthony Meinell. The former was never married, and, at his death, he left his share of the estate to his brother Anthony, who died in 1576, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Roger Meinell, of North Kilvington. This Anthony was implicated in the insurrection of the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland in 1569, and was accused of high treason; but the following year he received a general pardon. Each succeeding generation of the family has exhibited an unwavering fidelity to the old religion, and, in the days of religious persecution, they suffered severe penalties for their recusancy, as the crime of refusing to conform to the established church was called.

The late Thomas Meynell, Esq., of North Kilvington and the Fryerage, Yarm, married the eldest daughter and co-heiress of the late William Mauleverer, Esq., of Ingleby Arncliffe, but had no issue, and at his death, in 1879, he was succeeded by his uncle, Edgar John Meynell, Esq., county court judge and recorder of Doncaster.

The Hall, erected by the late Thomas Meynell, Esq., in 1835, is a spacious brick mansion, surrounded by thriving plantations, and at present occupied by William Henry Mott, late lieutenant 6th Enniskillen Dragoons.

The old Hall stands on the Yarm and Thirsk road, about a mile from the present mansion. It was converted into a Catholic chapel and presbytery, but the former was disused for service about 20 years ago. An old beam, found in the adjoining barn, bore the initials and date T.M., 1612, those of Thomas Meynell, who died in 1653.

[Description(s) from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)]


  • Transcript of the entry for the Post Office, professions and trades in Bulmer's Directory of 1890.

Scan, OCR and html by Colin Hinson. Checking and correction by Peter Nelson.