Thirsk, Yorkshire

Click here for Thirsk’s Magna Carta baron William de Mowbray

Thirsk appears as a settlement in the Domesday Book under the name of Tresche. thirskweb2 After the Norman Conquest most of the land was granted to Robert de Mowbray, after whom the surrounding Vale is named. The Mowbrays built a castle, but by 1176 it had been completely destroyed and was never rebuilt.

The Manor continued in the possession of the Mowbray family until 1723 when it was sold to Ralph Bell of the neighbouring village of Sowerby. Thirsk Hall, a Grade II* listed building in Kirkgate, remains in the occupation of the Bell family.

Twenty-three miles north of York on the A19, and also on the east coast mainline, Thirsk was the home of Alf Wight who achieved worldwidethirskweb1 fame writing as James Herriot. His veterinary surgery in Kirkgate is now the ‘World of James Herriot’ tourist attraction. Opposite it stands 23 Kirkgate, the birthplace in 1755 of Thomas Lord, who founded Lords Cricket ground in London. The house is now the home of the Thirsk Museum.

The centre of Thirsk is a medieval cobbled square with a range of shops and the Tourist Information office. Markets are held every Saturday and Monday. Here is the iconic Clock Tower, built through public subscription in 1896 to celebrate the wedding in 1893 of the Duke of York and Princess May of Teck – later to become King George V and Queen Mary.

Thirsk also has a racecourse, swimming pool, cinema, St Mary’s church (15th century, Grade I listed), the Lambert Memorial Hospital, and nearby a modern auction mart in the Rural Business Centre.

Thirsk is a ‘Walkers are Welcome’ town, and there are convenient walks around the town and surrounding area described in a leaflet and signed with interpretation boards.

Population: 4703


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe Salmon January 27, 2015 at 6:05 pm

As we have one of The Northern Barons (Baron William de Mowbray) who signed the Magna Carta, Thirsk Rotary has decided to celebrate this with a Mediaeval Festival on Saturday 13th June from 10am-4pm on Thirsk Racecourse (see the map).

The historical reenactors, Historia Normannis will provide 50+ Knights in armour, and they together with Birds of Prey Display (falcons, etc.) will present entertainment through the day. Historia Normannis will put in place a Norman tent village and show how people lived in those days, as well as offering archery and coin making.

Running alongside this show will be a parallel show, in the middle of the crowds we are sure will turn up, which will include minstrels, juggling, dance, storytelling, mummers, a jester and perhaps a magician. Craft, trade and voluntary organisations have been invited to take stalls and there will be children’s rides, ice cream vans and other catering. We especially hope for crafts and trades that were also around in 1215 (the link takes you to our Club website and more details on how to book a stall).

We have invited former World Champion Jouster Alan Beattie, a local man, to be involved.
This should be a great day (please, no rain though!)

Contact: event organiser Joe Salmon for more information.


Joe Salmon March 15, 2015 at 7:28 am

Primary schools in the local Thirsk area will help decorate the racecourse site with bunting, pennants and shields. They will also display the work they will have done during the preceding half-term on the Magna Carta and on medieval life. Other community groups will also contribute site decoration.

We are delighted that the Thirsk Town Council, who are a member of the Magna Carta Barons Association have associated themselves with our Medieval Festival project.

The District Council and the local County Councillor have also offered to help in whatever way they can. Other community groups, such as Rural Arts have become very involved too, all focussed on the week-end of 13 -15 June


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