Clock in town centre
Thirsk shown within North Yorkshire
|Population||4,998 (2011 census)|
|OS grid reference|
|- London||227 miles (365 km)|
|Shire county||North Yorkshire|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||YO7 1|
|EU Parliament||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|UK Parliament||Thirsk and Malton|
According to the 2001 UK Census, the population was 4,703. Thirsk is a popular tourist destination close to the North York Moors. It has some small and medium sized businesses, and is known as the home of author James Herriot and birthplace of Thomas Lord, after whom Lord's Cricket Ground is named. It is also well known for its racecourse.
Local archeological finds indicate there was a settlement here around 500–600 BC. The town is mentioned twice in the Domesday Book as Tresche, in the Yarlestre hundred. At the time of the Norman invasion the manor was split between Orm and Thor, local Saxon landowners. Afterwards the manor was split between Hugh, son of Baldric and the Crown. Most of the land was granted thereafter to Robert de Mowbray, after whom the surrounding vale is named.
By 1145, what is now Old Thirsk was known as a Borough, whilst the remaining land in the Parish was subject to Manorial rights. The manor continued to be the possession of the Mowbrays, despite several claims, until the death of the 16th Lord Mowbray in 1476. With no direct succession, it passed to the daughter of Thomas de Mowbray, 1st Duke of Norfolk who had married into the Berkeley family. Her son, William de Berkeley, 1st Marquess of Berkeley then inherited the manor on her death. It remained with this family until 1723 when it was sold to Ralph Bell. It remained in the Bell family into the 20th century.
Political history 
A castle was built around 1130 on the north side of current day Castlegate, by the Mowbray's. After the uprising against Henry II, the castle was destroyed in 1176. Records note that the Mowbrays built a manor house on the castle site, which in turn was destroyed by the Scots in 1322.
After the War of the Roses, Henry VII raised taxes that caused uprisings in the north. This led to the murder of the Henry Percy, 4th Earl of Northumberland, allegedly on The Little Green, when he was sent to collect. However, other evidence points to the murder occurring in nearby South Kilvington
Industrial history 
An 1763 Act of Parliament provisioned the building of a navigable waterway from the River Swale to the town along the Cod Beck. This was started, but never completed, in 1784 and would include deepening the channel, straightening part of its course and building five locks and a wharf. Remains of the wharf and lock can still be seen near Lock Bridge.
A rail crash happened at Manor House signal box on 2 November 1892, on the North Eastern Railway about 3 miles (4.8 km) north of Thirsk railway station in the North Riding of Yorkshire, England. It involved an express train clliding into the back of a goods train both heading south in fog. There were 10 deaths and forty three injured.
A rail crash occurred on 31 July 1967 at Thirsk, Yorkshire, on the British Rail East Coast Main Line. An express train travelling north collided with a derailed freight train on the same line. There were seven deaths and forty five injured.
Social history 
Thirsk's chief modern claim to fame is as the home of the veterinary surgeon and author James Herriot, although it was renamed "Darrowby" in the books. The veterinary practice at 23 Kirkgate, in which he was a partner along with Donald Sinclair (Siegfried Farnon in the books), now houses a museum dedicated to his life and works, The World of James Herriot.
Thirsk is in the Thirsk and Malton Parliamentary constituency since its creation for the 2010 general election, prior to this it was in the Vale of York constituency. At the 2010 UK general election, Anne McIntosh was returned as the constituency's Member of Parliament. Representing the Conservative party, she won the seat with 52.9% of the vote from a turnout of 50% of the eligible electorate.
The town was a parliamentary borough that had representation in 1295 and then from 1547 to 1885. For the majority of the latter period, it was represented by two members until 1882 when it was reduced to one member.
The constituency of Thirsk and Malton was originally created for the 1885 General Elections by the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885 and existed until 1983. During that period it returned six Conservative party members to parliament, which included one by-election in 1915.
It gives its name to the local district ward of Hambleton District Council and to the local electoral division of North Yorkshire County Council. The town returns one Councillor to the County Council and three Councillors to the District Council.
The Civil Parish of Thirsk was created by the Local Government Act 1894. The Local Government Act 1972 afforded Parish Councils the opportunity to change titles. Thirsk renamed itself a Town Council. In so doing, the Chairman was also renamed as Mayor. The council is represented by eleven Councillors.
It is surrounded by a number of villages also having names of Danish origin, such as Thirlby, Boltby, Borrowby and Sowerby (the -by suffix (Danish in origin) meaning village or farmstead). The village of Sowerby adjoins the town so that they merge into each other, but are actually both Parishes in their own right.
The Parish boundary between Thirsk and Sowerby runs east from the railway station behind the buildings along the A61 as far as Millbank Court from where it runs through the middle of the road. It continues to divide the highway through Westgate and Castlegate as far as the junction with Chapel Street down which it also runs dividing the street in two. It then crosses Cod Beck and runs along Moor Lane Stell before ending at Barbeck Bridge. Thirsk Industrial Estate lies outwith the Parish boundary. Other Parishes that border the town include South Kilvington, Thornborough, Thornton-le-Moor, Newsham, Sandhutton and Carlton Miniott.
The 1881 UK Census recorded the population of the Parish as 3,337. The parish had a population of 4,703 according to the 2001 Census. The 2011 UK Census recorded the population as 4,998, an increase of 49.8% over the past 120 years, with a density of 0.7 people per hectare. Of the total population, 48.9% were male and 51.1% were female. The ethnic make up of the town was 94.3% White British, 3.8& Other White, 0.9% Asian British and 1.0% Black/Mixed and other Ethnic Groups. The religious composition of the town was 71.7% Christian, 27.5% None or no religion stated, 4.7% Muslim, 2.7% Bhuddist, 1.9% Hindu, 0.9% Jewish and 0.1% Sikh.
Thirsk is built around a large medieval market square, which still hosts an open-air market each Monday and Saturday. The market was established in 1145. For most of its history it been the focal point for local farmers to bring their produce to market and buy their needs form small independent tradesmen. The town was once known for its leather tanning and saddlery, but this was replaced in the 19th century by the production of farming implements. This was aided by the establishment of the Mechanics Institute in 1848.
The modern economy has not changed much, with a mix of small industrial and retail businesses together with other service companies available.
Culture and community 
Thirsk has a museum with exhibits from across the whole history of the town. It is located in the house in which Thomas Lord was born. The adjoining village of Sowerby provides the town with its hospital, cinema, town hall building and swimming pool.
The Ritz Cinema on Westgate, Sowerby is a small 200 seat (100 stalls, 100 balcony) cinema run by volunteers. It dates back to 1912 and is probably one of Britain's oldest operating cinemas. It shows in a period setting most of the current films and is run for residents and visitors to Thirsk and the local villages by a team of volunteers. In March 2012, the Ritz installed Digital projection equipment, purchased under a Digital Print Scheme through the Cinema Exhibitors Association (CEA).
The station is 22.25 miles (36 km) north of York on the East Coast Main Line. The station is about 1.5 miles (2 km) outside the town centre and is actually on the edge of the village of Carlton Miniott.
There are four tracks, but only the outer two have platforms. From satellite imagery it can look as if there are platforms on the inner two tracks, but examination on the ground shows this not to be true. The railway station is operated by First TransPennine Express. Other train services are provided by the open-access operator Grand Central Railway.
Local bus services to and from York, Ripon and Northallerton and nearby villages and long distance National Express Coaches call at the bus stop in the market place.
The main road running through the town is the A61, connecting Thirsk to Ripon. The A19 road now passes Thirsk to the east of the town, after a bypass was built in the 1972. The former route of the A19 through the town is the A61 to the north to South Kilvington and the A170 to the south at the junction where the A19 joins the original route to the south.
The town has one primary school, Thirsk Community Primary, the others being in adjoining Sowerby. It is within the catchment area of Thirsk School and Sixth Form College for secondary education. The current primary school was opened in 1979 with an extension added in 1991 to house extra classrooms, nursery section and medical facilities. Due to rises in the school population, some temporary build classrooms have also been erected on site. It is a mixed gender school catering for pupils between the ages of 3 and 11. It has a student capacity of 315 and as of 2013 was at 90.5% of that.
There is a 15th century church dedicated to St Mary. The church is a Grade I Listed building. Prior to this building there had been smaller chapels erected in the town dedicated to St James, St Giles and St Nicholas.
There is a Friends Meeting House in Kirkgate that has been there since at least 1799. There is a Wesleyan Chapel in St James' Green that was built in 1861. The Catholic Church dedicated to All Saints was built in 1867 in Castlegate. The Primitive Methodists and the Congregationalists also used to have places of worship in the town.
Thirsk Racecourse is a thoroughbred horse racing venue consisting of a left handed oval of about one mile and two furlongs. The present course opened in 1923, but racing had taken place on the old course over 200 years earlier. The racecourse serves flat racing in the spring and summer months.
Thirsk Cricket Club was founded in 1851 and play in the middle of the local racecourse. The club was a founder member of the York & District League in which they still compete. Also located at the facilities on the racecourse are Thirsk Hockey Club, who have been affiliated to the Yorkshire Hockey Association since 1923. Until the local Secondary School laid a floodlit artificial sports pitch, the club played on grass pitches that formed the out field of the Cricket Club. They still share the Cricket Clubhouse for social facilities.
Thirsk Falcons FC are a football club that compete in the Teesside Football League, which is at the 13th level of the English football league system. Thirsk RUFC are a Rugby Union Club that compete in the Yorkshire RFU Central/North District Merit League, which is the fourth tier of this competition. Other sports played in the town are Tennis, Bowls, Athletics and Archery.
Notable people 
- Thomas Lord, who founded Lord's Cricket Ground in London, was born in a house which now houses the Thirsk Museum.
- James Alf Wright aka James Herriot, author.
- "Local History". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Thirsk in the Domesday Book. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "History". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Bulmer's Topography, History and Directory (Private and Commercial) of North Yorkshire 1890. S&N Publishing. 1890. pp. 816–831. ISBN 1-86150-299-0.
- Watts (2011). Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-names. Cambridge University Press. p. 608. ISBN 978-0521168557.
- A.D. Mills (1998). Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford Paperbacks. p. 457. ISBN 978-0192800749.
- "Yorkshire Rebellion". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Thirsk History Walks". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Rolt, L.T.C. Red for danger. Pan. ISBN 0-330-25555-X.
- Ministry of Transport; Col. D. McMullen (1968). Railway accident: Report on the Derailment and subsequent Collision that occurred on 31st July, 1967, at Thirsk in the Eastern Region British Railways (PDF). London: H.M.S.O. ISBN 0-11-550036-7.
- Visit Thirsk.
- The World of James Herriot.
- "2010 UK General Election - Thirsk & Malton". BBC - Election 2010 - Thirsk & Malton. BBC Online.
- Cobbett's Parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest in 1066 to the year 1803. London: Thomas Hansard. 1808. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "T" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
- "County & District Coucillors". Councillors. Thirsk Town Council. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- "Town Council". Thirsk Town Council. Thirsk Town Council. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
- Ordnance Survey Open Viewer
- "2001 Census: Key Statistics: Parish Headcounts: Area: Thirsk CP (Parish)". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 20 March 2009.
- "2011 UK Census". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Trades". Thirsk Business Directory. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Thirsk Museum". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Ritz Cinema". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "School Propectus". Thirsk Community Primary School. 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- "Primary School Details". Inspection Report. Ofsted. 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- "Church Listing". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- Marion Rose Halpenny. British Racing and Racecourses. p. Page 227. ISBN 978-0950139722.
- "Cricket Club History". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Hockey Club". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Football Club". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Thirsk RUFC". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
- "Sport". Retrieved 14 February 2013.
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