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Thirsk, North Riding of Yorkshire

Historical Description

Thirsk, a market and union town, a township, a parish, and head of a county court district in N. R, Yorkshire. The town stands on the river Codbeck in Mowbray Vale, 23 miles NW by N of York, and 9 from Northallerton, had a castle of the Mowbrays built about 980, and taken down by order of Henry II., sent two members to Parliament once in the time of Edward VI., and always from the time of Edward VI. till 1832, but was reduced by the Reform Act of 1832 to the right of sending only one, and under the Redistribution of Seats Act, 1885, was absorbed in the Thirsk and Malton parliamentary division, and consists of two parts, called old and new, separated by the river. It has a head post office, a railway station, three banks, a large church, three dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel, and a Friends' meeting-house, a workhouse, mechanics' institute and library, assembly rooms enlarged and improved in 1895, a masonic hall, and a police station. A handsome memorial clock, 30 feet high, with a drinking fountain at the base, has been erected in Market Square. The Lambert Memorial Hospital was built and endowed in 1890. A weekly market is held on Monday, and fairs are held on Shrove Monday, 4 and 5 April, 4 and 5 Aug., 28 and 29 Oct., and the Tuesday after 11 Dec. Races are held in the spring and autumn. Mailing, brewing, slipper making, the manufacture of leather, brick-making, and ironfounding are carried on. There are also extensive agricultural engineering works.

The township comprises 3251 acres; population, 3164. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of York; gross value, £304 with residence. Patron, the Archbishop. The church is in the Perpendicular style, and consists of chancel, nave of six bays, aisles, and embattled tower. It was thoroughly restored inside in 1877. The dissenting chapels are Congregational, Wesleyan, and Primitive Methodist. A cemetery was formed in 1878, consists of 3 acres, and is under the control of a burial board.

Thirsk and Malton, Parliamentary Division of N.R. Yorkshire was formed under the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885, and returns one member to the House of Commons. Population, 57,183. The division includes the following:-Birdforth-Angram Grange, Arden, Bagby, Balk, Bilsdale (West Side), Birdforth, Boltby, Byland, Carlton Husthwaite, Carlton Miniott, Catton, Cold Kirby, Cowesby, Coxwold, Dale Town, Dalton, Eldmire-with-Crakehill, Fawdington, Feliskirk, Gueldable, Hawnby, Hood Grange, Husthwaite, Hutton Sessay, Kepwick, Kilburn, Kirby Knowie, Kirby Wiske, Maunby, Nether Silton, Newburgh, Newsham-with-Breckenbrough, North Kilvington, Old Byland, Oldstead, Oulston, Over Silton, Sandhutton, Sessay, Skipton, Snilesworth, South Kilvington, South Otterington, Sowerby, Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe, Thirkleby, Thirlby, Thirsk, Thornbrough, Thornton Baxby, Thornton-le-Moor, Thornton-le-Street, Thorpe-le-Willows, Topcliffe, Upsall, Wass, Wildon, Yearsley; Bulmer (East-except so much as is added to the municipal borough of York by the York Extension and Improvement Act, 1884)-Barton-le-Willows, Buttercrambe-with-Bossall, Claxton, Clifton, Crambe, Earswick, Flaxton, Foston, Gate Helmsley, Harton, Haxby, Heworth, Holtby, Huntington, Lillings Ambo, Murton, Osbaldwick, Rawcliffe, St Marygate, Sand Hutton, Sheriff Hutton-with-Cornbro', Skelton, Stittenham, Stockton-on-the Forest, Strensall, Thornton-le-Clay, Towthorpe Upper Helmsley, Warthill Copyhold, Warthill Freehold, Wigginton; Bulmer (West)-Aldwark, Alne, Benningbrough, Brafferton, Brands-by-cum-Stearsby, Craike, Dalby-cum-Skewsby, Easingwold, Farlington, Flawith, Helperby, Huby, Linton-upon-Ouse, Marton-in-the-Forest, Myton-upon-Swale, Newton-upon-Ouse, Overton, Raskeife, Scackleton, Shipton, Stillington, Sutton-on-the-Forest, Tholthorpe, Thormanby, Tollerton, Whenby, Youlton; Hallikeld-Ainderby Quernhow, Azenby, Baldersby, Burneston, Carthorpe, Cundall-cum-Leekby, Dishforth, East Tanfield, Gatenby, Holme, Howe, Howgrave, Humberton, Hutton Conyers, Kirby Hill, Kirklington-cum-Upsland, Langthorpe, Marton-le-Moor, Melmerby, Middle-ton Quernhow, Norton Conyers, Norton-le-Clay, Pickhill-cum-Roxby, Rainton-cum-Newby, Sinderby, Sutton-cum-Howgrave, Swainby-with-Allerthorpe, Theakstone, Thoniton Bridge, Wath, West Tanfield; Malton-Airyholme, Amotherby, Appleton-le-Street, Barton-le-Street, Broughton, Bulmer, Butterwick, Coneysthorpe, Fryton, Gauthorpe, Henderskeife, Hildenley, Hovingham, Huttons Ambo, New Malton, Old Malton, Slingsby, South holme, Swinton, Terrington, Wath, Welburn, Whitwell; Ainsty Hundred (composed of the petty sessional division of Eastern Ainsty, and part of those of Tadcaster and Wetherby; Ainsty (Eastern)-Acaster Malbis, Acaster Selby, Acomb, Askham Bryan, Askham Richard, Bishopthorpe, Copmanthorpe, Dringhouses, Hessay, Holgate, Knapton, Middlethorpe, Moor Monkton, Poppleton (Upper), Poppleton (Nether), Rufforth, Wilstrop; Tadcaster (part of)-Angram, Appleton Roebuck, Bilbrough, Bolton Percy, Catterton, Colton, Healaugh, Hutton, Marston, Oxton, Steeton, Tadcaster (East), Wighill; Wetherby (part of)- Bickerton, Bilton, Thorparch, Tockwith, Walton; York municipal borough.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyYorkshire 
Ecclesiastical parishThirsk St. Mary 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

Findmypast, in conjunction with various Archives, Local Studies, and Family History Societies have the following parish records online for Thirsk:


Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for Thirsk from the following:

Land and Property

The Return of Owners of Land in 1873 for the North Riding of Yorkshire is available to browse.


Online maps of Thirsk are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following North Riding newspapers online:

CountyNorth Yorkshire
RegionYorkshire and the Humber
Postal districtYO7
Post TownThirsk