Thornton is a village in the Borough of Wyre, about 4 miles (6 km) north of Blackpool and 2 miles (3 km) south of Fleetwood. The civil parish of Thornton became an urban district in 1900, and was renamed Thornton-Cleveleys in 1927.
Thornton is first mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book, where it was referred to as Torentum. At the time it covered a large area including what are now Cleveleys and Fleetwood, and had a very low population density. It is thought that a settlement had existed at the site since the Iron Age, and a Roman road passes close to the village. The area remained lightly populated until 1799, when the marshland around the village was drained and agricultural production began on a large scale.
A railway station was opened in Thornton in 1865. The opening of salt works at nearby Burn Naze by the United Alkali Company in the early 1890s (later becoming ICI) led to significant expansion of the village, with new houses and community buildings constructed. Thornton became an Urban District Council in 1900, surviving until 1974 when it became part of the Wyre Borough Council.
Thornton–Cleveleys railway station was formerly the principal intermediate stop on the Fleetwood branch of the LMS/British Rail London Midland Region railway, running from Poulton-le-Fylde, but it has been years since the station was used, and with the recent fencing-over of the level crossing in Station Road/Victoria Road East in order to prevent youths from congregating on the tracks, the glory days of Thornton are long since gone. However, a decision by an action group based in Poulton means they will finance a feasibility study into bringing the railway back to Thornton and Fleetwood.
Marsh Mill, a large well-preserved windmill, built in 1794, is a prominent landmark. It was commissioned by Bold Hesketh, uncle of Peter Hesketh (later Peter Hesketh-Fleetwood), who would go on to play a prominent role in the expansion of Fleetwood. Tragedy struck in May 1930, when a Miss Alice Baldwin and a Mrs Mary Jane Bailey visited the windmill with an interest in purchasing it. However, when both women stepped onto the fantail platform, the platform collapsed and the women fell to their deaths.
Thornton contains a number of schools, including Baines Endowed Primary School, Thornton Primary School, Stanah Primary School, Royles Brook Primary School, and Millfield Science and Performing Arts College in addition to a small public library.
Christ Church, parish church
- "Distance from Thornton-Cleveleys to Blackpool". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- History - Thornton Through Time Archived 2011-07-03 at the Wayback Machine
- "Boost for plans to reopen Poulton to Fleetwood rail link". Blackpool Gazette. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 18 September 2007.
- "BBC - Legacies - Architectural Heritage - England - Lancashire - Going through the mill - Article Page 3". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
- "Welcome to the Library and Information web site - Thornton Home Page". Lancashire County Council. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 26 February 2008.