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Thornaby-on-Tees is a town and civil parish within the Borough of Stockton-on-Teesmarker, in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, Englandmarker. It is on the south bank of the River Teesmarker, three miles (5 km) southeast of Stockton-on-Teesmarker, and four miles (7 km) southwest of Middlesbroughmarker town centre and has a population of 22,620.


Early history

Thornaby is said to have come into existence about AD 800 when the land was given by Halfdene, King of the Danes, to Thormod, one of his noblemen, hence "Thormods-by" - Thormod's village.

Prehistoric settlement

There are other signs of Thornaby being a much older settlement. Traces of prehistoric man have been found, the earliest being a stone axe, 8 inches long, dating back to the Mesolithic Period (about 3000 BC). In 1926 a dugout canoe said to date from about 1600 – 1400 BC was found in the mud under 8 feet of water opposite Thornaby High Wood. An arrowhead of the Neolithic Period (about 3000 BC) was found in a garden on the Thornaby Village Green.

Norman years

During the Battle of Hastingsmarker (1066), one of William the Conqueror's noblemen, Robert I de Brus, marched north with a garrison of men and occupied the area of Clevelandmarker. William gave him those lands to control including Thornabymarker and Middlesbroughmarker.

Danish invasion and the Domesday Book

The then King of Denmark, Sweyn, on September 9, 1069 defeated the Normans at Yorkmarker by killing the entire garrison of 3,000 men. William swore an oath to avenge Sweyn by destroying every house and dwelling in the lands under Sweyn's rule, leaving all the land in the north east of Yorkshiremarker barren and bare.

Thornaby's first mention in the Domesday Book states:- "Robert Malet has these lands and they are waste." It appears remained undeveloped until the early 19th century as "Thurnaby waaste" is mentioned in a poem by Tennyson called "The Northern Farmer.".

Town formation

Over the centuries there have been a number of different spellings of the name Thornaby including Turmozbi, Thormozbi and Tormozbia. The form Thornaby first appears in 1665 and refers to old Thornaby village near the River Teesmarker. In the 19th century old Thornaby, centred on St Peter's Church and the old village green was gradually overshadowed by the burgeoning new town of South Stockton. South Stockton was on the Yorkshire side of the River Tees opposite Stockton on Teesmarker, the area originally being called Mandale it is unclear when the name of South Stockton first appeared, certainly with the arrival of the industrialists it was named "South Stockton" there is no mention of the name in any records before the 1800s. South Stockton became the site of a pottery in 1825 and quickly grew with the establishment of shipbuilding and engineering in the area. On 6 October 1892 South Stockton and Old Thornaby merged into one to form the municipal borough of Thornaby-on-Tees.

St. Peter's Church

The parish church on the village green is believed to be of 12th century origin though a place of worship is said to have existed at the time of the Domesday Book, 1086. The building, with a simple nave and a bell turret with two bells, was originally dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. Grace Pace, the mother of Captain James Cook, was christened in St. Peter's Church on the village green in 1702.

Story of the Five Lamps

It is said that Robert de Thormodbi, wounded in the Crusades at Acremarker, swore to raise a shrine to the Virgin Mary if he survived his wounds. He did, and as part of his wish, a shrine niche to the Virgin Mary, lit by five sanctuary lamps was placed in St. Peter's Church.

Civic history

Thornaby lies within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshiremarker, and it was made a municipal borough of the North Riding of Yorkshire in 1892. [48879]. It was amalgamated with other areas such as Middlesbroughmarker, Redcarmarker and Stockton on Teesmarker in 1968 to form the county borough of Teessidemarker, and then in 1974 became part of the non-metropolitan county of the new county of Clevelandmarker. Although on the opposite side of the River Tees and in a different county, Stockton-on-Tees, tried many times to amalgamate with Thornaby-on-Tees but were turned down time and time again by Thornaby-on-Tees Borough Council. In 1974 when Thornaby-on-Tees no longer had a council to refuse Stockton amalgamation, Thornaby finally ended up in the borough of Stockton-on-Tees.

In 1995 Thornaby Town Council was re-formed within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees.

Clevelandmarker County (1974-1996) was abolished in 1996 under the Banham review, with Stockton-on-Tees becoming a unitary authority and the former areas of Cleveland returned to their former counties.

The earliest known flying in Thornaby took place in 1912 when Mr. Matthew Young of the Vale Farm was paid 100 Gold Sovereigns for the use of a field for an airshow. Taking place on a Saturday afternoon in June or July, one of the main events was flying by Hamel, an early flying pioneer. The next known use was by the Royal Flying Corps who used the same fields between 1914 and 1918 as a staging post between Catterick and Marske aerodromes. In c.1925 negotiations began on the opening of a full-time aerodrome and in the late 1920s an airfield was constructed by the Air Ministry to the south of the town, it was used extensively during World War II. The airfield was reduced to care and maintenance in October 1958, the land finally being purchased from the Air Ministry by Thornaby-on-Tees Borough Council in February 1962 and, during the 1960s and 70s, it was extensively redeveloped with modern housing, a shopping centre and an industrial estate (the first in the region). Today symbols of Thornaby's aeronautical past remain with many streets, buildings and pubs using names of RAF aircraft, stations and personnel. The Bader School on Thornaby Road was named after and opened by Sir Douglas Bader in November 1971. In 1976 a stained glass window in St Paul's Church on Thornaby Road was dedicated to the RAF at Thornaby; in 1997 a statue was erected on Thornaby Road, dedicated to all who served at RAF Thornaby; and in 2007 a full-size replica Spitfire aircraft was erected on the roundabout at the junction of Thornaby Road, Bader Avenue and Trenchard Avenue. Hidden beneath the roundabout is part of one of the three runways which used to run east to west. R.A.F. Thornaby was also the home base of 608 (North Riding) Squadron, where they were formed on 17th March 1930.

Present day

The town is served by Thornaby railway stationmarker, and is also home to Durham Universitymarker's Queen's Campus. This campus lies on the southern bank of the Tees on the Yorkshire side in Thornaby-on-Tees, so although it is part of Durham University, it is not in County Durham. Durham University was the second University to be approached due to Teesside University (who were first approached) not having the funds available necessary to run the University.

, Thornaby is undergoing a major redevelopment and regeneration. The old Mandale Estate is being demolished and Mandale Park is being built to provide new affordable housing. The town centre has been redeveloped, and it was completed in autumn 2009, to create around 200 jobs and improve leisure, economic and environmental aspects of local life. An official launch event was held in the town centre on Saturday 25 April 2009. Since the redevelopment the interest in the town centre has significantly increased. .

Thornaby won a number of awards in 2008; it won the silver gilt award for best small cities Thornaby Cemetery has won the green flag award and is continuing to improve after winning the Cemetery of the Year award in 2006. This was more recently lost however due to the cemetery's use by prostitutes; in response Stockton Borough Council decided to lock the gates after dark and promised a clampdown on this activity.

Teesside Parkmarker is also in Thornaby; it was formerly a horse race track and is now a shopping park.

Thornaby held its second Yorkshire Day event on the village green on 1 August 2009.

Thornaby has a very active social scene. The Pat's club is central to this, and welcomes up-and-coming bands on their legendary band nights.

People born in Thornaby

Grace Pace (the mother of Captain James Cook), the novelist Pat Barker, actor, Richard Griffiths and ventriloquist, Dean Atkinson were all born in Thornaby, as well as Paul Curran - the Championship Cyclist.

Local musicians include Dean Henderson, who was known as the youngest professional drummer at the age of 15. He went on to work with many famous artists throughout his 20 year career including John Headley, Sting, Tom Jones, Mick Hucknell to name a few. He also started work at Teesbeat Recording Studio with his good friend Dimmer Blackwell. Henderson now lives in Californiamarker after moving to the USmarker after a tour with the Crazy River Band.

The Spitfire on Thornaby Road

Amos Hinton & Argyll;

In 1984 Argyll acquired the Thornaby-based Amos Hinton plc which operated 55 supermarkets under the Hintons name in the North East of England, Cumbria and Yorkshire. Although the Hintons name remained above the door, Hintons' own brand products were quickly replaced with Presto brands as well as Argyll's "Basics" low price brand.[2]

The Hintons Building in Thornaby had to be demolished due to an Arson attack in the 1990s, the site now host a mid range cost housing estate.


Thornaby is served by two secondary schools; St Patrick's Catholic College and Thornaby Community School. It is being proposed that Thornaby Community School would be replaced with an Academy as part of the governments Building Schools For The Future initiative.


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