Kirkby Thore Gypsum Plant
|Kirkby Thore shown within Cumbria|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||North West England|
Kirkby Thore is a small village, civil parish and hill in Cumbria, England at grid reference . It is close to the Lake District national park and the Cumbrian Pennines. The market town of Appleby-in-Westmorland is about 5 miles away, and the larger town of Penrith is about 8 miles away. As this suggests, it is in the historic county of Westmorland.
The place-name 'Kirkby Thore' is first attested in 1179 in the 'Register of Holm Cultram', where it appears as Kirkebythore. Kirkby means 'church village' or 'village with a church', whilst Thore is an Old Norse personal name related to the god Thor.
The village is on the site of a Roman cavalry camp called Bravoniacum or Brovonacae and Roman coins, tombstones, sandals, urns, earthen vessels, and the cusp of a spear have been found in the locality. The Maiden Way Roman road led north from Bravoniacum to Epiacum (Whitley Castle), and thence to Magnae (Carvoran) on Hadrian's Wall, where it joined the Stanegate road running from west to east. A continuation from there ran east to Banna (Birdoswald) and then 7 mi (11 km) north to the Shrine of Cocidius (Bewcastle). LIDAR technology has recently revealed another Roman road running southwest from Kirkby Thore to the Roman fort at Low Borrowbridge near Tebay.
Gypsum has been quarried or mined in the area for over 200 years. The local British Gypsum Ltd plant has produced plaster since 1910 and plasterboard since the 1960s. Currently it is more economic to transport gypsum by rail from Drax Power Station than to mine it locally. British Gypsum has a private siding on the Settle-Carlisle Railway which passes to the north of the village.
Transport and facilities
The busy A66 road runs through the western edge of the village. This will be one of the last sections of the A66 to be upgraded to dual carriageway; in 2006 the Highways Agency conducted public consultation on the route for a bypass (which will connect the existing Appleby bypass to the east and the Temple Sowerby bypass (opened in part October 2007, ahead of schedule) to the west. The public consultation fell by the wayside and dualling of the A66 at Kirkby Thore is still an aspiration.
Siblings Helen Skelton and Gavin Skelton grew up in a farm near the village and attended Kirkby Thore Primary School before transferring to Appleby Grammar School. Helen is now a television presenter, best known for working on Blue Peter and Countryfile, whilst Gavin is a professional footballer who has played in the Scottish Premier League with Gretna, Kilmarnock and Hamilton Academicals. In 2016 he was made player-manager of Queen of the South in Dumfries.
- "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
- Eilert Ekwall, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names, p.280.
- "Kirkby Thore". The Cumbria Directory. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
- John Horsley (1732). Britannia romana. John Osborn & Thomas Longman. p. 410.
- Daily Mail online, 8.2.16
- "Kirkby Thore". British Gypsum. 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-07.
- "Ward population 2015". Retrieved 21 June 2015.
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