William Pole Thornhill

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William Pole Thornhill (1807 – 12 February 1876)[1] was a British Whig and then Liberal Party politician. He sat in the House of Commons from 1853 to 1865.

Thornhill was the last member of the family of Thornhill who had owned estates at Stanton Hall, Stanton-in-Peak since the end of the 17th century when John Thornhill married the heiress Mary Bache.[2] Thornhill and his wife were considerable benefactors to the village, building Holy Trinity Church, Stanton-in-Peak between 1837 and 1838, the reading rooms and "The Stand", originally known as "The Belvedere", a viewing platform giving panoramic views over the Wye Valley. Many of the houses in the village carry the initials "WPT".[3]

Thornhill became High Sheriff of Derbyshire in 1836.[4][5] He was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for North Derbyshire at a by-election in July 1853,[6] and held the seat until he stood down at the 1865 general election.[7] As a politician he was a strong reformist and built the Earl Grey Tower on the eastern edge of Stanton Moor dedicated to the Reform Act 1832. He was briefly, between 1860 and 1863, a lieutenant in the 9th Derbyshire Rifle Volunteers.[8] He died at Brighton at the beginning of 1876.

Thornhill married Isabella Gell at Wirksworth in 1828. Isabella was the heiress of Hopton Hall. They took the name Gell according to the terms of inheritance and lived briefly at Hopton Hall but in due course renounced the inheritance.[9]


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Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
William Evans
Lord George Henry Cavendish
Member of Parliament for North Derbyshire
With: Lord George Henry Cavendish
Succeeded by
Sir William Jackson, Bt
Lord George Henry Cavendish
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Ashton Nicholas Every Mosley
High Sheriff of Derbyshire
Succeeded by
George Moore