Thornhill

 

Ancestors: Blackburne, Blakeley, Bottom, Brown, Fisher, Goodere, Jackson, Longbottom, Oldroyd, Stephenson, White, Wilcock. The majority of men in these families, during the 19th century, worked in mining and stone masonry.

Thornhill, is a village in Dewsbury, Kirklees, West Yorkshire, England. Historically part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Thornhill was absorbed into Dewsbury County Borough in 1910. It is located on a hill on the south side of the River Calder, and has extensive views of Dewsbury, Ossett and Wakefield. It is known for its collection of Anglo-Saxon crosses. (Wikipedia)

Stooks of Corn

Stooks of Corn

Farmland at Thornhill

Farmland at Thornhill

Thornhill is mentioned in the Domesday Book, but the Anglo-Saxon crosses and other remains that have been found there in large numbers, indicate that there was a settlement in Thornhill from the ninth century AD.

Thornhill was the seat of the Thornhill family, who intermarried with the De Fixbys and Babthorpes in the reigns of Edward I and Edward II. In the reign of Edward III, Elizabeth Thornhill, the only child of Simon Thornhill, married Sir Henry Saville and the Thornhill property then passed down the Saville line. The Savilles gave their name to Saville Town nearby and became a powerful family in the area.

By 1822 the Parish of Thornhill comprised the hamlets and townships of Whitley Lower, Briestfield, Fall House, Thornhill Edge, Thornhill Lees, Flockton (Nether and Over), Middlestown (or Middle Shitlington), Netherton, (or Nether Shitlington), Overton (or Overshitlington), Midgeley (Nether and Over) and a number of isolated farms and houses.Even now, when Thornhill is a busy town and part of the much larger connobation of Dewsbury, its more remote villages and hamlets retain a character of their own, with beautiful views over the surrounding countryside.

Butterfly in the Churchyard

Butterfly in the Churchyard

In spite of beautiful surroundings, the area has strong connections with stone quarrying at the Edge, and especially with coal mining. Census information shows that over half the residents of Thornhill were miners by the 19th century. There was a terrible mining disaster at Combs Pit Thornhill on 4th July 1893, caused by a firedamp explosion whose ignited by a naked light. 139 miners were killed in the Wheatley level by fumes following the explosion and fire below a landing in the Downcast Shaft. Only 7 survivors were rescued.

Parish Church of St Michael

Parish Church of St Michael

The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels stands on a large plot with an extensive graveyard, near to the site of the old manor house of the Saviles. Fragments of Anglo-Saxon memorials, crosses and a graveslab, found there, indicate that there has been a church on the site since at least the 9th century. Remnants of the old manor house and its moat still remain in the park nearby. Since the late l4th Century, the church’s history has been closely linked with that of the Savile family. The Saviles remained in Thornhill until the English Civil War when their house was besieged, taken, and demolished by the Parliamentarians, after which they moved to Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire. Monuments to members of both the Thornhill and Savile families are on view in the church.

Grave, Thornhill

Grave, Thornhill

It’s a great shame that the churchyard is in a state of dilapidation. The area around the church itself it neatly mowed, but beyond that lies a vast area of graveyard with some beautiful monuments that are hidden from view by ivy, brambles and long grasses. Searching for an ancestral grave is almost impossible.