Thornton Watlass

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Thornton Watlass
Looking east across Thornton Watlass village green
Thornton Watlass is located in North Yorkshire
Thornton Watlass
Thornton Watlass
Thornton Watlass shown within North Yorkshire
Population 224 (2011)
OS grid reference SE235855
Shire county
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town RIPON
Postcode district HG4
Dialling code 01677
Police North Yorkshire
Fire North Yorkshire
Ambulance Yorkshire
EU Parliament Yorkshire and the Humber
List of places
54°15′54″N 1°38′18″W / 54.264909°N 1.638395°W / 54.264909; -1.638395Coordinates: 54°15′54″N 1°38′18″W / 54.264909°N 1.638395°W / 54.264909; -1.638395

Thornton Watlass is a small village and civil parish within the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire, England. It is located north of Masham and south of Bedale on the eastern slopes of the Ure Valley at the entrance to Wensleydale and the Yorkshire Dales National Park.[1] It is 11 miles North of Ripon, 4 miles from the A1, 11 miles from the main railway line at Northallerton and 18 miles from Teesside Airport.[2] Its population was 180 in 200, 190 in 2005,[3] and 224 in 2011.[4]

The village lies at the junction of Watlass Lane and Watlass Moor Lane. At the centre of the village is the triangular village green with its trees, cricket pitch and children's playground, surrounded by houses, some of which are built from local stone. Thornton Watlass Church dates from the 11th century and the village also has a primary school and a public house called the Buck Inn. The village forms part of the Thornton Watlass Estate, and Thornton Watlass Hall, an ancient two-storey gabled stone house, lies just to the north of the village.


Thornton Watlass Church

A prehistoric feature in the Thornton Watlass area is Gospel Hill tumulus, a Scheduled Ancient Monument,[5] at grid reference SE228862 about 1 km northwest of the village.

Saxon remains of two cross-heads[6] are evidence that people lived in the area before the Norman conquest in 1066. They are on display in Thornton Watlass Church.

The Domesday book of 1086 mentions the separate villages of Thornton and Watlass.[7] Before the Norman conquest the Saxon owners of these villages were Ulward and Stan; however, Thornton is shown in the Domesday book as being owned by Ribald, brother of Alan Earl of Richmond. Thornton Watlass Hall and estate has been owned by the Dodsworth family since 1415.

The Anglican Church of St Mary the Virgin stands a little way outside the village to the southwest. It was rebuilt, with the exception of the tower, in 1868 in the Perpendicular style.[8] The tower contains some living accommodation (including toilet) and was probably used as a place of safety in times of strife.

The village school was built in 1872.[8]

Thornton Watlass today[edit]

Today the village has about fifty houses and a few farms,[9] with a population of just under 200.

The Church of England primary school is federated with Snape Community School and has 41 children on the roll[10] aged between 4 and 11 years, taught in two mixed-age classes.

There is also provision for under-5s in the village hall.

The village public house, restaurant and hotel, The Buck Inn[11] overlooks the village green. Specialities include locally brewed real ale, Sunday lunchtime jazz, and a large room for conferences and functions.

Just to the north of the village, Thornton Watlass Hall is a private home, but also provides hotel accommodation.[2] The Hall has been featured over the years on several television dramas, including All Creatures Great and Small (BBC), Wuthering Heights (ITV) and Heartbeat (ITV) where it has featured as Ashfordly Hall and Websters Hotel for the past nine years.


  1. ^ Cally (2007). "Buck Inn". A1 Tourism. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b "Thornton Watlass Hall - Ripon". iKnow Yorkshire. Archived from the original on 2007-04-03. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  3. ^ "Hambleton Parish Population Estimates 2001 - 2005". Hambleton District Council. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-15. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Parish population 2011". Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "Historic Environment - DP31 & DP32 and List of Scheduled Monuments" (PDF). Hambleton District Council. 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-15. [dead link]
  6. ^ Chris Tolley (2003). "Thornton Watlass (North Yorkshire)". Crossing the Millennia. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  7. ^ Sir John Smith-Dodsworth, Bt (1987). "History". Thornton Watlass Hall. Archived from the original on 2005-03-06. Retrieved 2007-04-15. 
  8. ^ a b Colin Hinson (2007). "THORNTON WATLASS: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1890, from Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)". GENUKI. Retrieved 2007-04-16. 
  9. ^ Hambleton District Council (2006). "Inset map 25 - Thornton Watlass" (pdf). Retrieved 2007-04-16. [dead link]
  10. ^ Jim Griffin, Ofsted Inspector. "Inspection Report: Thornton Watlass Church of England Primary School, 1 March 2007" (pdf). Retrieved 2007-04-16. [dead link]
  11. ^ Tim Wright (2005). "The Buck Inn". Retrieved 2007-04-16. 

External links[edit]