The Thornton Park estate was first developed in the 17th century with the construction of a mansion called ‘Wood End’ by the Talbot family. Roger Talbot V made significant alterations to the building before his death in 1777 and he or possibly his widow developed the grounds. By the time of her death in 1791, there were a fishpond (or possibly a canal), gardens, greenhouse, hothouse, pleasure grounds, shrubberies and plantations in 13 acres.
The grounds we see today however were mostly laid out between 1792 and 1810 by Samuel Crompton I, with some input from local garden designer Adam Mickle II. This included extending the parkland, the building of entrance lodges, creation of further plantations and the remodeling of ‘The Long Pond’. The date of the present walled kitchen garden is uncertain but may date from the late 1840s. The parkland and woodland largely survive unchanged, though the pleasure gardens underwent changes in the later nineteenth century and the house was demolished in the early 20th century.
In 1349 a claim for dower in the manor and mill is recorded from Robert de Wadesley, whose family still held the vill in 1433. One of their descendants married a Sir John Everingham and the Everingham family continued to hold the manor until Henry Everingham of Birkin sold it to John Talbot I in 1539 (VCH 1968, 455; Clay 1917, 8).
In the 16th and 17th century the manor of Thornton le Street continued to be held by the Talbot family. The first Talbot to be recorded living at Wood End is Richard Talbot, a younger son, whose death in 1635 is recorded as ‘of Woodend’ (Clay 1917, 9). Roger Talbot III (1665-1717) appears to be the first lord of the manor to live at Wood End, possibly preferring this to the old manor house in Thornton-le-Street (Clay 1917, 11). His grandson Roger Talbot V died in 1777/8 without issue and, through a codicil to his will, left the estate to his widow for her natural life (NLSMD Box 102). The widow, generally known by her first married name, Lady Fagg, continued to live at Wood End until her death in 1791 after which it passed to Roger’s nephew, Roger Gee of Bishop Burton, who put the estate up for sale (Clay 1917,12).
It was bought by Samuel Crompton, a Derbyshire banker, who took up residence at Wood End (Sheffield Register, 31 August 1792). He died in 1810 and was succeeded by his son, also Samuel, who became an MP and stood for Thirsk in 1834. He was made a baronet in 1838 but died in 1849 without male heirs.
The property passed to his eldest daughter Elizabeth Mary who married Alan Frederick Cathcart the following year. He became the 3rd Earl Cathcart in 1859. In the latter decades of the nineteenth century he appears not to have been resident and in 1891 the Hall is let to a tenant, Henry Illingworth (UK Census 1891). Cathcart died in 1905 and the estate passed to his son Alan who died in 1911. In 1918 a stud was founded there ( accessed 7 May 2018) and, in 1924 the estate was broken into several lots and put up for sale. The house was still standing at this time as it is shown in the sales particulars but was subsequently demolished (NYCRO K). The central parkland and stud has since passed through a number of hands.
Key owners responsible for major developments of the designed landscape and dates of their involvement:
Roger Talbot V (1734 - 1777)
Lady Fagg (1777 – 1792)
Samuel Crompton I (1792 - 1810)
Sir Samuel Crompton II MP (1810 – 1849)
Early history of the site
A possible Roman road, marked by a pronounced ‘agger’ (raised bank), runs through the medieval village earthworks, though this identification is disputed and it may be the remains of the medieval street. However, the element ‘Street’ in the placename is often indicative of the presence of a Roman road (NYCC HER MNY191;).
The place is mentioned in Domesday as ‘Torentun’, a soke of the manor of Northallerton, held by the King at that time and later granted by William II to the Bishops of Durham (VCH 1968, 455, accessed 1 March 2018) . The Domesday entry for the manor of Northallerton refers to about 5x5 leagues (about 56 square miles) of woodland in this manor and it is possible that part of this lay in the vicinity of Thornton le Street. There were 10 households here in 1301 (Brown 1897, 65). In 1340 joint tenant John de Wassand was granted free warren here, giving him the right to hunt, which may imply the presence of woodland or forest (VCH 1968, 455).
The village settlement had declined by the end of the 16th century and was deleted from a justices list of 1607 (Beresford 1954, 309). Today the village exists only as earthworks apart from a small number of houses around the church. The manor house before the 17th century was probably the house now called the Old Hall which stands on the main road. Wood End lies a little to the south west near the Big Wood which may indicate how the property got its name. The Blaeu map of 1645 shows an area of woodland in this area, though Thornton le Street is not named. Wood End may have originally been the residence of a junior member of the family and is described as a ‘messuage in Thornton le Street called Wood End’ in a marriage settlement of 1652 (NYCRO ZQM Archive notes).
Chronological history of the designed landscape
1700 – 1792
The earliest reference to gardens at Wood End is in the early eighteenth century. Around 1700 a survey of the estate lists ‘The House and Gardens’ (NYCRO ZQM IV/2/2) and in 1727 ‘A survey Book and Valuation of Madam Talbot’s Estate at Woodend’ refers to the ‘Hall Gardens & Dovecoat’ (NYCRO ZQM IV/2/3) the two entries both give the area as 3 acres. Madam Talbot was the widow of Roger Talbot IV. The total area of the lands described as being ‘in the chief lords hands’ in the 1720s is 242 acres. The property evidently lay in wooded surroundings as a deed of 1712 refers to a ‘capital messuage called Wood End with the wood and wood grounds lying near’ (NYCRO ZQM Archive notes). The Warburton Map of 1720 shows Wood End and an indication of trees to the south.
Roger Talbot V apparently carried out improvements at Wood End before his death in 1777, possibly incorporating an earlier building and including plasterwork of 1760 (Waterson and Meadows 1990, 60-61). It is possible that he also improved and extended the gardens around the house. The Jeffrey’s map of 1771 (Figure 1) shows the house with a wooded area to the south east, bisected by an avenue in the same orientation. No trace of such an avenue survives, though a similar avenue on a different orientation is located to the south west of the estate.
After Roger Talbot’s death the estate was occupied by his widow, commonly known as Lady Fagg until her death in 1791. The estate was sold the following year and the sales particulars, originally accompanied by a plan which has not survived, give a description of the property (NYCRO ZQM I/7/2/1-2). This includes ‘A capital mansion house…coach house, stables, barns, an excellent garden, hot-house, (if wanted) green-house, fish ponds, pleasure grounds, shrubberies, plantations, cold bath’. The estate itself is described as lying ‘between and adjoining the two principal turnpike roads from London to the North’. No park is mentioned but the plantations comprised approximately 40,000 trees about half being oak. In March 1792, 1,859 oak, ash and elm trees were put up for sale by the executors. The oak was ‘very proper for Ship-building…large and valuable’ and some of the ash described as ‘of the best Quality’ (Leeds Intelligencer, 19 March 1792).
The ‘Mansion House, Offices, Yards, Gardens, Walks, Pleasure grounds, Rookery…’ extended to just over 8.5 acres and the ‘great fish pond, walks, pleasure grounds and plantation at the west end and north and south sides of that pond’ extended to almost 5 acres, in total 13.5 acres. Though stables are listed, there is no mention of lodges in the sales description which implies that the lodges which survive today were built after 1792. There is no further reference to a cold bath after the sale of 1792 and its location is unknown.
The account book kept by Lady Fagg’s estate manager in the late 1780s (NYCRO ZTJ 8/6) and the catalogue of her effects for auction at the time of the sale (NYCRO ZTJ 8/8) give some further insight into the management and use of the gardens.
A number of stone rollers, scythes and rakes listed for auction, as well as the payment of 2s 6d to the molecatcher for half a year catching moles, implied there were well maintained lawns around the house. Lady Fagg may well have liked to sit out in the garden as there was ‘a garden chair on 4 wheels, made to be drawn by a servant, good as new’ listed amongst the effects for auction.
The ‘great fish pond’ mentioned above is probably the same as the later Long Pond. Fishing nets and an iron pond drag figure in the auction lots. There is also a reference to a ‘large covered seat of deal at the head of the canal’, the only reference to a canal as part of the garden. This could relate to a watercourse shown on the later 1st edition OS map of 1853 which ran from the Carr plantation to the pleasure grounds between the house and the pond (Figure 2).
There is no reference to a walled or kitchen garden in the sales particulars but a greenhouse and hothouse are mentioned. An annual purchase of 2,000 or 3,000 garden nails suggest that there were walls against which trees or bushes were trained. Fruit was clearly grown on the evidence of ‘a quantity of nets for covering fruit trees’ and a ‘large pruning chisel’ listed in the auction effects.
The auction list states that ‘pine and other hot house and greenhouse plants may be bought of the gardener’, suggesting that pineapples were grown, together with bark forks listed in the inventory that were used in hotbeds where the fruit was grown. Lady Fagg’s accounts included a payment for 26 pineapple plants at 2s each that possibly were ‘succession’ or young plants). There were many payments for pineapples (at 2s 6d each) being brought to the house by the gardener of a Mr Beasley(?). Ribston Pippin (apples), raspberries and grapes were also occasionally bought but grapes must have been grown on site as ‘21 large glass tubes for ripening grapes’ were included in the auction items.
Other items in the inventory for the gardens include ‘hand glasses’ used for forcing or protecting plants and 1,3 & 4 light frames for a similar purpose as well as forks, shovels, wheelbarrows, brooms, hoes, rakes, shears and a watering pan.
‘Flower shades’, ‘12 hyacinth glasses with the roots’ and ‘4 painted flower stands’ listed in the inventory show that flowers were produced for the house. Lady Fagg’s bedlinen, recently sold at auction, was embroidered, possibly by her, with floral motifs, including tulips and carnations, that might reflect her taste in flowers (http://www.tennants.co.uk/Catalogue/Lots/261377.aspx accessed 1 March 2018).
1793 - 1810
Samuel Crompton I bought the property and made ‘considerable additions’ (Neale & Moule 1821) to the house very soon after purchase and the result is depicted in a sketch of 1813 by Crompton’s niece (NYCRO ZCM). This corresponds closely to the image in Neale and Moule’s publication of 1821 (Figure 3). The nine bay facade has steps up to a central doorway with a pillared porch and four pilasters extending the height of the building surmounted by a decorated pediment. The lawn is bordered by what seems to be a metal chain fence and a ha-ha to keep out the grazing cattle and sheep in the foreground. Both images show a gothic building to the left of the house, masked by shrubbery, probably the conservatory shown on the later Ordnance Survey 1st edition map. These improvements presumably took place before 1803 when Samuel Crompton invited 200 volunteers for the local militia to dinner on the ‘lawn before Wood-End’ (The York Herald, Saturday, 24 September, 1803).
Further improvements are likely to have included building the stable block, the two east lodges and the west lodge. A later account refers to
handsome Lodges, constructed with much taste. The House stands ....at the distance of a mile from either Lodge; the drive affords the most pleasing views, with the Hambleton and Western hills towering in the back-ground (Neale & Moule 1821).
A park was not mentioned at the time of the sale but parkland recorded on the later tithe map and surviving today was likely to have been laid out by Samuel Crompton I. This was clearly created from earlier farmland as indications survive of the layout of pre-existing fields and some surviving ridge and furrow (Google Earth imagery 2009, Meridian Airmaps 1971, Figure 4). He also purchased further land in the adjoining parish of Newsham in 1800-2 as did his son in 1826.
Opposite the west gate the Avenue plantation with a central open alley continues the line of the drive (Figure 5). This may have been laid out by Crompton I after his acquisition of further lands in Newsham and certainly before the course of the railway, shown on the 1839 tithe map, was determined. It was probably planned in conjunction with the west gate and lodge. This is suggested by Crompton’s diversion in 1802 of a bridleway running across the estate. A shorter direct route was changed to a longer one that ran through the east and west gateways, as the right of way does today (NYCRO QSB 1803 1/13/3-4). At the West end the new route takes a dogleg course to the West gateway, avoiding exiting opposite the brickyard, but having a view down the Avenue Plantation instead.
The landscape designer Adam Mickle II of Bedale was doing work for members of the Crompton family in the early 1800s as evidenced by a number of letters between members of Samuel’s brother Joshua’s family and between Samuel II and his cousin (ZCM; Ashcroft 1994), so he may have carried out work at Wood End. A semicircular clump on the southern boundary of the park, visible on the 1st edition map (Figure 3), is thought to be characteristic of Mickle’s work (Hepworth 1996, 8). He certainly was consulted about the pond and on 16 October 1809, a letter from Samuel junior to his cousin refers to possible alterations here: ‘We this day expect Mr Mickle. My father [Crompton I] hopes that he may be able to give him some useful hints respecting the alteration about the fish pond, but does not intend to adopt his plans unless they correspond to his own ideas’ (ZCM; Ashcroft 1994). This is presumably the same as the ‘great fish pond’ mentioned in 1792. The result of the meeting is not certain but a few weeks later a letter of 8 November 1809 between members of Joshua’s family states ‘your uncle [probably Samuel Crompton I] means to adopt Mr Mickle’s plan which he approves of very much and thinks when finished it will do him great credit’ (ZCM; Ashcroft 1994).
Whether the work on the pond was carried out is not certain as Crompton I died the following year. However on 13 June 1812, Crompton II refers, in a letter to his cousin, to work being carried out by a Mr Pontey.
‘Our friend Pontey still has my good opinion in regard to his skill in managing woods…In regard to matters of taste I can say nothing in his favor: he has given the pond the most absurd appearance that can be conceived and made it as hideous as his own face. I cannot help wishing I had let it remain in its old state’ (ZCM; Ashcroft 1994).
This Mr Pontey may have been William Pontey, one of a family of nurserymen with a specialist interest in forest trees (Hepworth 1996, 8).
Further improvements to the house were also carried out in 1828-9 by Crompton II. These cost upwards of £1600 and included plumbing and bathrooms as well as work on the front of the house (NYCRO ZQM Archive notes).
The first maps of the estate are the tithe maps of 1839 (Newsham) and 1845 (Thornton le Street) and probably largely reflect the improvements carried out earlier by Crompton I. By this time, Crompton II owned most of the parish of Thornton le Street and a large part of the parish of Newsham into which the designed landscape of the 19th century park extended. The tithe apportionment of 1845 puts the area described as ‘park with all the wood therein’ at 94.5 acres, a significant addition to the 13 acres of gardens purchased in 1792 by his father.
A circular pond, probably a cattle pond, shown on a boundary to the east of the house on the tithe map, has disappeared on the 1st edition OS map surveyed in 1853 (Figure 2), though the line of the boundary, along with other former field divisions within the park, survives as a line of trees. The walled kitchen garden and ice house are absent from the tithe map so may have been constructed later. The Vicar’s Moor Wood, absent on the tithe map, appears on the 1st edition map, suggesting it may have been planted in the interim.
The mid 19th century maps (Figures 2 & 5) showed a mature landscape with drives, tree-lined in parts, approaching the house from both east and west, the view of the house screened by trees until the view opens out as the central park area is reached. The public road onto which the west gate opens was also tree-lined as it runs through the Brompton property as far as the main Boroughbridge road
The house was fronted by lawns around the carriage sweep and with a curvilinear boundary and ha-ha between the gardens and the park. Wooded gardens surrounded the house with the conservatory alongside, as depicted in 1821 (see above). The Long Pond was situated to the west surrounded by woodland, with a small building close to the north shore. The walled kitchen gardens with hot house and adjacent orchard, stables, ice house and other service buildings lay to the north.
1849 - 1924
After the death of Samuel Crompton II in 1849, the estate was inherited by Alan Frederick Cathcart, later 3rd Earl Cathcart, through his marriage to Crompton’s daughter. The house underwent extensive alterations around 1884 and by 1890 was let to Henry Illingworth JP. The Hall at this time is described as ‘a handsome modern mansion, surrounded by an extensive and well-wooded park, on the west side of the village of Thornton-le-Street. A noble arched gateway, flanked by a lodge on each side, forms the principal entrance, from which a fine carriage drive leads to the east or grand entrance of the mansion’ (Bulmer 1890, 833).
By 1892/3 (Ordnance Survey 25” map; Figure 6) the earlier curvilinear ha-ha had gone and the vehicle access moved to the east side of the house continuing on to the stable block. The south front, on the evidence of later photos (Figures 7-10), was approached by a gravel path with rectangular lawns and flowerbeds to the front and with urns and a statue at one period. To the west the gardens were redesigned in a series of four lawned terraces, with steps to each level, separated from the park by a straight wall with two semicircular belvederes. The earlier conservatory had been removed, replaced by a glasshouse wing attached to the house. Some of the service buildings to the north were also removed.
Charles Forbes was the land agent and corresponded with Cathcart regarding the management of the estate. In 1887, he writes about buying coal for the conservatory in preference to coke from Thirsk gas works (NYCRO ZQM IV.3.4, 6 January). A few days later he writes ‘the gardeners were busy finishing clearing (or cleaning?) the vines’ suggesting that the garden continues to be productive.
In his letter of January 1887, he refers to the pond saying that ‘Gretton proposes to run the water off from the pond as soon as the frost goes, and clean the leaves and mud out before the swans and ducks go down again’. In 1899 a poplar tree overhanging the pond is removed but this results in an accident and the gardener having to have stitches to a cut in his face. The watercourse between the Carr plantation and the area of the Long Pond was reduced in length by this time and the ‘Brick Pond’ appears to be dry. The small hut shown earlier by the Long Pond has gone and a boat house was situated at the western end.
In a letter of 1888 we have the names of the gardeners – Perrin, Tyerman and Gretton but Mrs Illingworth, the tenant, ‘cannot get on with Gretton any longer’ and he is subsequently dismissed. A few months after this it is remarked that the gardens ‘look in better order’, though Gretton still has not got a place (NYCRO ZQM IV.3.4, 12 October 1888 & 27 April 1890).
The wider estate also continued to be well managed; some hard boundaries in the park as well as Crook’s Barn and its encircling tree belt were removed. The western boundary of the Bell Rush plantation was moved back, leaving the area round the pond more open. The rectilinear northern boundary of the Big Wood was also remodeled. A number of letters from Charles Forbes refer to managed regular tree felling throughout this period, particularly oak and ash. A letter of 1897 from one of Cathcart’s younger sons, Archibald, expresses some anxiety on the scale of the tree loss ‘My anxiety is for the future of Thornton le Street which in another 50 years will not be worthy of the name of Wood End unless something is done’. This may be one of the last references to the name Wood End as by the end of the century, the name had fallen out of use and the house was renamed Thornton le Street Hall. However new plantations, the Hill plantation to the north east of the house and an extension to the Carr plantation, had been made by 1912. These could be the ones referred to by Charles Forbes in April 1903 ‘I walked through the young plantations which looked well’ (NYCRO ZQM V 2/7).
A group of photos, probably dating earlier than c.1920, as well as those in the later sales catalogue, augments the map evidence of 1912 (Figure 6). The house frontage is shown minus the pilasters of the early house, probably the result of the 1880s alterations and fronted by a lawn with flower beds and a gravel path (Figure 7). A low wall divides the gardens from the park and metal gates flank the drive leading to the stable block. To the east of the drive are walls surmounted by metalwork and corner pilaster with ball finial (NYCRO K).
Another view is taken from the terraced lawns towards the house showing the long conservatory facing west (Figure 8). Two sets of steps lead down from entrance terrace. A view inside the long conservatory shows hothouse plants and a glass roof (Figure 9). A view of the pond shows a small circular thatched hut behind on the bank, depicted on the 1912 map (Figure 10).
1924 to present
In 1924 and 1925 the estate was put up for sale and broken into several lots. The house ‘An imposing genuine Adams house’ and the ‘grandly timbered Park with ornamental lake and enjoying magnificent views’ comprised one lot in 1924 along with the east lodges and surrounding plantations (NYCRO K). The house was demolished in the later 1920s, the footings still visible today on aerial photos and on the ground (Google earth imagery 2009). The terraced gardens survived as a separate property with a house built over them by 1956 (Ordnance Survey 6” map 1956). A house, suitably named ‘Woodend’, was built to the south of the walled garden but had disappeared by the 1970s (Ordnance Survey map 1:2500 1975; Meridian Airmaps 1971). The ice house disappeared between 1956 and 1975 on map evidence.
The larger part of the parkland and the stables became Thornton stud and survive to the present. The Big Wood was probably replanted in the 1940s with Scots pine, some European larch and occasional beech, oak and ash in the northern part; the southern part being beech, coppiced oak and lime (Hepworth 1996, 9). The Long Pond survived and was extended sometime between 2002 and 2009 to form a sinuous watercourse (Google Earth imagery 2002, 2009).
Thornton le Street Park is situated to the south west of the present Thornton le Street village in the parish of that name, south of Northallerton and about 3 miles north of Thirsk on the A168.
The extent of the designed landscape as is approximately 200 ha (494 acres).
The core of the park is bounded by the Bell Rush plantation and the Big Wood to the east, the Carr plantation and farmland to the north, the parish boundary to the west and a linear boundary to the south with enclosed fields beyond extending to the Hagberry Stell. A strip of land c.250m wide connects the park to the NE entrance and a tree-lined driveway leads to the west entrance.
The core of the estate lies at c.45m AOD rising to c.60m AOD in the east and falling to c.30m AOD in the valley to the west. The bedrock geology is sedimentary, Jurassic and Triassic mudstone, overlain by clay of the Vale of York formation across much of the park, giving way to silty gravelly deposits of the Breighton Sand formation interspersed with silty clay of the Alne Glaciolacustrine formation.
The site of the house, park and gardens is separated from the village by a slight ridge at a height of c.60m OD to the east. To the west the Park slopes gently towards the valley of the River Wiske with open views. The site is within the National Character Area 24 Vale of Mowbray.
Entrances and approaches
East Lodge North and East Lodge South [Grade II, NHLE 1188907] and approaching drive
Two late 18th century square two-storey ashlar-built lodges with later additions still stand either side of the entrance and driveway on the main road near the village c.1km from the main park. The driveway crossed open grassland with four symmetrically placed circular tree clumps before skirting the length of the Bell Rush Plantation. The grassland was bordered by tree belts. The Park and the former Hall were hidden from view until the driveway rounded the end of the Bell Rush plantation at a slight eminence giving panoramic views of the park (Figure 2; Ordnance Survey 6” map 1856).
West Lodge Grade II* (NHLE 1150821)
Late 18th century two-storey building with ashlar front.
West Lodge Gateway with flanking walls, railings and end piers. Grade II* (NHLE 1315174), and approaching drive
Late 18th century central archway and wrought iron gates with fan over. Short flanking ashlar walls with wrought iron fences. From here the driveway divided to pass the West lodge before turning sharply left then right to follow a tree lined drive for c.1km, emerging into the south west corner of the park.
Railings and gate Piers south of West Gateway Grade II (NHLE 1315175)
Quarter circle of late 18th century wrought iron railings with a square ashlar pier at either end. Stylistically part of the West gateway to Thornton Park (above) and opposite the eastern end of the Avenue Plantation.
Wood End (demolished)
The hall, possibly dating back to the early 17th century, was remodeled in the 18th century with fine plasterwork c.1760 (Waterson & Meadows, 1990, 60). It was further improved by Crompton I around 1800, then by Crompton II in 1828-9 (Neale & Moule 1821; NYCRO ZQM). Major changes were carried out by Cathcart around 1884 (Bulmer 1890, 833) and it was finally demolished after 1925.
Stables (Thornton Stud) Grade II (NHLE 1150827)
Built late 18th century with later additions. Red brick with stone dressings and square in plan. Located to the northeast of the hall and approached by a service road that led on towards the walled garden.
This was located about 200m northwest of the hall, approached by the service road which led to the walled garden. Map evidence indicates a bowl shaped, wooded area c. 35 x 40m with the ice house in the centre (Figure 2; Ordnance Survey 6” map 1856).
Gardens and pleasure grounds
The south of the house had an open aspect to the south over the carriage sweep and lawns which were separated from the park by a semicircular boundary with ha-ha. To the north east and north west of the house were wooded areas with a small gothic style building, labelled conservatory, near the house on the west (Figure 2; Ordnance Survey 6” map 1856). This area was redesigned in the late nineteenth century, creating a series of lawned terraces to the west of the house (Figure 6; OS 25” maps 1893, 1912)
The Long Pond was encircled by woodland which extended northwards towards the walled garden. A number of paths provided walks through the woodland and around the lake, also extending to a further pond labelled ‘the Brick Pond’, an old clay pit. A small building stood in the woodland near the north shore of the pond. A water channel extended into the pleasure gardens from the Carr Plantation, following the line of the contours. Other drains around the perimeter of the woodland at the western end suggest the ground, downslope from the main house, might be boggy (Figure 2; Ordnance Survey 6” map 1856). This area remained largely unchanged apart from the truncation of the water channel and the addition of a boat house and small round hut which appear on the maps of 1912 and 1913.
This was located c.300m north west of the house approached by the service road and linked by footpaths and may have been constructed after 1845. It was a walled garden c.90m x 45m There was a centrally placed hothouse on the south facing wall and the area was divided into four segments by paths. To the south of the walled garden was an area of orchard (Figure 2; Ordnance Survey 6” map 1856).
Park and plantations
The original core of the park extended south from the house as far as a linear boundary with semicircular tree clumps planted along it, west to the parish boundary with an extension to the south of the Brick Pond, and east, upslope, to the Bell Rush plantation and the Big Wood. To the northeast, parkland extended round to the ice house and kitchen garden. Later maps show a maximum westward extent as far as the West Wood and Peas Hill plantations and further park areas north of the Long Pond (Ordnance Survey 6” map 1895).
The parkland had scattered trees, some following the lines of earlier enclosures, shelter belts and ponds. Ridge and furrow is still visible in places indicating the earlier field layout (Figure 4; Google Earth imagery 2009). The principal east west driveway crossed the park, as well as other tracks and the approach drive to the house.
To the east of the park, the Bell Rush plantation and Big Wood were originally ancient semi-natural woodland. Bell Rush formed one side of the tree lined eastern approach, extending into the parkland in the form of a rounded clump enclosing a small pond. The Big Wood was traversed by footpaths. To the west the West Wood and Peas Hill plantation provide a backdrop to the view across the park. To the north was the Carr plantation, extended in the early 20th century, and the Hill plantation of a similar date
The Avenue Plantation, providing a view beyond the west gate, was an ornamental plantation, laid out sometime before the advent of the railway in 1841. Nanny Hunton’s Plantation lies to the south of the parkland abutting the Hagberry Stell and linked to the Big Wood by a belt of trees.
This was located to the west of the house and may have its origins in the ‘great fish pond’ of the 18th century garden. It was c.185m long east to west and c.35m wide in the Crompton’s garden (Ordnance Survey 6” map 1856). It may have had design input from Mickle II and/or Mr Pontey. In recent years it has been considerably extended.
Books and articles
Ashcroft, M.Y. 1994 Letters and Papers of Henrietta Matilda Crompton and her family, Pub No. 53. NYCRO
Beresford M W. 1954. ‘The Lost Villages of Yorkshire: Part 4’. Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 38.3, 280-309.
Brown, W. 1897. Yorkshire lay Subsidy (1301), Yorkshire Archaeological Society Record Series Vol 21
Clay, John William 1917. Dugdale's Visitation of Yorkshire, with additions. Volume 3. W. Pollard & Co, Exeter.
Hepworth, V.J. 1996. Thornton Park: An outline of the designed landscape with particular reference to Big Wood. Not published - typescript report in relation to an application for a Felling Licence
Neale, John Preston & Moule, Thomas 1821. Views of the seats of noblemen and gentlemen, in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. Volume 4. Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, and Co., and Thomas Moule, London.
Waterson, E. & Meadows, P. 1990. Lost Houses of York and the North Riding. York, Jill Raines.
Victoria History of the Counties of England 1968. Yorkshire North Riding. (VCH) reprint of 1923 edition, University of London.
National Archives (NA)
IR 30 42 382 Tithe Map Thornton le Street, 1845
IR 30 42 272 Tithe Map Newsham (Parish of Kirby Wiske), 1839
National Library of Scotland Manuscripts Division (NLSMD)
Box 102 Papers of the family of Cathcart of Cathcart
North Yorkshire County Record Office (NYCRO)
EF 415/1-4 Photographs and Sketches of North Yorkshire
K Sales Catalogue of Thornton Estate, 1924
QSB 1803 1/13/3 & 4 North Riding of Yorkshire Quarter sessions
ZCM Henrietta Matilda Crompton's sketch books and watercolours, n.d, and letters from Crompton family.
ZQM 1/7/2/1-2 Estate sale catalogue, 1792
ZQM IV/2/2 Estate survey, c.1700
ZQM IV/2/3 A survey Book and Valuation of Madam Talbot’s Estate at Woodend, 1727
ZQM IV/3/4 Estate papers and correspondence, letters from Charles Forbes.
ZQM V/2/7 Personal correspondence of 3rd Earl Cathcart 1902/3, letters from Charles Forbes.
ZTJ 8/6 Account Books, 1780s
ZTJ 8/8 Catalogue of Lady Fagg’s effects for auction, 1792
Yorkshire, Derbyshire, & Nottinghamshire Universal Advertiser
Ordnance Survey 1st edition 6” map, surveyed 1853, published 1856.
Ordnance Survey 1st edition 6” map, surveyed 1892, published 1895.
Ordnance Survey County Series 25” map surveyed 1892, published 1893
Ordnance Survey County Series 25” map revised 1910, published 1912.
Ordnance Survey map 1:10,560 1956.
Ordnance Survey map 1:2500 1975.
Blaeu map of Yorkshire, 1645
Jeffrey’s map of Yorkshire, c. 1771
Warburton Map of Yorkshire, c. 1720
Google Earth imagery 1 January 2002, 24 May 2009
Meridian Airmaps 177/71/162, North Riding 268/7250, flown 14 November 1971
Figure 1 - Extract from the Jeffrey’s Map of 1771. Reproduced by permission of the North Yorkshire County record Office (Jeffrey’s Plate 8 (part)).
Figure 2 - The eastern entrance and central parkland. Ordnance Survey 6” map, surveyed 1853, published 1856. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Figure 3 - Wood End seen from the south in the early 19th century, as published in Neale & Moule, 1821. ©Trustees of the British Museum.
Figure 4 - Simplified plan of designed landscape features as shown on the tithe maps of 1839 (Newsham) and 1845 (Thornton le Street): plantations (dark green), central parkland (pale green) with relict field boundaries (dashed lines) and ridge and furrow (light brown) superimposed
Figure 5 - The western entrance to the park. Ordnance Survey 6” map, surveyed 1853, published 1856. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Figure 6 - The central parkland showing later changes. Ordnance Survey 25” map, revised 1910, published 1912. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Figure 7 - View of Thornton Park Hall probably taken before the 1920s. Reproduced by permission of the North Yorkshire County record Office (EF415-2).
Figure 8 - View of the west front, conservatory and terraces of Thornton Park Hall probably taken before the 1920s. Reproduced by permission of the North Yorkshire County record Office (EF415-1).
Figure 9 - Interior of the conservatory probably taken before the 1920s. Reproduced by permission of the North Yorkshire County record Office (EF415-4).
Figure 10 - View of the Long Pond at Thornton Park Hall probably taken before the 1920s. Reproduced by permission of the North Yorkshire County record Office (EF415-3).