Thirsk, Yorkshire Genealogy

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Guide to Thirsk, Yorkshire ancestry, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, transcripts, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.


Thirsk, Yorkshire
St Mary Thirsk Yorkshire.jpg
Type England Jurisdictions
Civil Jurisdictions
Hundred Birdforth
County Yorkshire, England Genealogy
Poor Law Union Thirsk
Registration District Thirsk
Records begin
Parish registers: 1556
Bishop's Transcripts: 1600
Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions
Rural Deanery Bulmer
Diocese York
Province York
Legal Jurisdictions
Probate Court Exchequer and Prerogative Courts of the Archbishop of York
Location of Archive
Yorkshire Record Office

Parish History[edit | edit source]

Thirsk St Mary the Virgin is an Ancient Parish in the town, township and civil parish and district of Thirsk. The church of ST. MARY THE VIRGIN consists of a chancel 40 ft. 9 in. by 21 ft. 6 in., nave of equal width and 84 ft. 10 in. long, north and south aisles 15 ft. 6 in. wide, south porch and a west tower 16 ft. square. These measurements are all internal.

The building is almost wholly of the 15th century, but part of the west wall of the tower and doubtless the core of its other walls are of much earlier date, probably of the 12th century. On either side of the present arch from the nave are a few springing stones of the outer order and label of an earlier arch with a round head. Over these, and seen inside the church, are the lower weather stones of a former steep-gabled roof to the nave. In the rebuilding of the fabric the nave and present tower were evidently the first to be displaced, beginning with the tower about 1420 and followed immediately by the rest. That the tower was finished before the aisles is suggested by the straight joints formed in the aisle walls by the side buttresses of the tower, though constructionally it would be right to make these straight joints even if all the work were contemporary. The chancel was added about 1470. The delay in continuing the rebuilding may probably be accounted for by the great expense incurred in the construction of a basement below the chancel, necessitated by the shelving nature of the ground at the east end, a work which must have swallowed up a large proportion of the money in hand. What form the chancel arch took we have now no evidence beyond the note taken by Sir Stephen Glynne about 1833, in which he describes it as low and having been altered. The present arch is modern. Restorations have been carried out three times in the last century, in 1844, 1877 and 1899, but much of the original stone work of the windows and other parts remains.

From A History of the County of York North Riding: Volume 2 (1923), pp. 58-70. URL: Date accessed: 15 May 2011.

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Thirsk like this:

THIRSK, a town, a township, a parish, a sub-district, and a district, in N. R. Yorkshire. The town stands on the river Codbeck, in Mowbray vale, at the terminus of a brief branch of the Northeastern railway, 23 miles NW by N of York; had a castle of the Mowbrays, built about 980, and taken down by order of Henry II.; sent two members to parliament once in the time of Edward VI., and always from the time of Edward VI. till 1832; was reduced, by the reform act of 1832, to the right of sending only one; is a polling place; consists of two parts, called old and new, separated by the river; presents a very irregular yet picturesque appearance; and has a head post-office, a rail station with telegraph, three banking offices, four chief inns, a market house, a large later English church, three dissenting chapels, a Roman Catholic chapel of 1867, a British-school, a girls' school of industry, a dispensary, a workhouse, and charities £39. A weekly market is held on Monday; fairs are held on Shrove-Monday, 5 April, 4 Aug., 28th Oct., and the Tuesday after 11 Dec.; and malting, brewing, linen-weaving, and the manufacture of leather and saddlery are carried on. The borough boundaries include all T. parish, and two other townships. Electors, in 1833, 254: in 1863, 441. Pop. in 1861, 5,350. Houses, 1,205.

The township comprises 2,947 acres. Real property, £11,401; of which £170 are in gasworks. Pop. 2,956. Houses, 657.—The parish contains also the townships or chapelries of Sowerby, Carlton-Miniott, and Sandhutton; and comprises 8,365 acres. Pop., 4,815. Houses, 1,085. The head living is a p. curacy in the diocese of York. Value, £300.* Patron, the Archbishop of York. -The sub-district includes 4 townships of other parishes, and comprises 14,169 acres. Pop., 5,743. Houses, 1,291. -The district comprehends also Topcliffe, Pickhill, Sutton, and Knayton sub-districts; and comprises 62,444 acres. Poor rates, in 1863, £4,246. Pop. in 1851, 12,760; in 1861, 12,299. Houses, 2,692. Marriages in 1863, 95; births, 419,-of which 45 were illegitimate; deaths, 227,-of which 74 were at ages under 5 years, and 16 at ages above 85. Marriages in the ten years 1851-60, 905; births, 3,843; deaths, 2,317. The places of worship, in 1851, were 24 of the Church of England, with 5,016 sittings; 3 of Independents, with 870 s.; 1 of Quakers, with 245 s.; 24 of Wesleyans, with 3,484 s.; 4 of Primitive Methodists, with 444 s.; 3 of Wesleyan Reformers, with 172 s.; and 1 of Roman Catholics, with 90 s. The schools were 17 public day-schools, with 959 scholars; 37 private day-schools, with 775 s.; and 29 Sunday-schools, with 1,653 s.

THIRSK (St. Mary), a borough, market-town, and parish, and the head of a union, in the wapentake of Birdforth, N. riding of York; the parish containing, with the chapelries of Carlton-Miniott, Sand-Hutton, and Sowerby, 4599 inhabitants, of whom 3020 are in the town, 23 miles (N. W. by N.) from York, and 223 (N. N. W.) from London. There are places of worship for the Society of Friends, Independents, and Wesleyans. [1]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths were kept by the government, from July 1837 to the present day. The civil registration article tells more about these records. Here are two important links to online indexes of births, marriages and deaths for this area:

  1. FreeBMD.
  2. Tees Valley Indexes to BMDs

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online data content from parish registers of Thirsk exists at some of the following websites and for the specified ranges of years:

BIVRI = British Isles Vital Records Index (Ancestry) - (£)[2]
FREG = FreeREG - free[3]
FS =
JOIN = - (£)
THIRSK PARISH (1556) Online Records


Indexes Images Indexes Images Indexes Images
BIVRI 1721-1728, 1731-1810, 1812

FREG 1556-1721 1556-1719 1556-1721
FS 1556-1864

1556-1882, 1891, 1898



1556-1719, 1813-1837


To find the names of the neighboring parishes, use England Jurisdictions 1851. In this site, search for the name of the parish, click on the location "pin", click Options and click List contiguous parishes.

Records are also available at the North Yorkshire County Record Office.

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Census records from 1841 to 1911 are available online. For access, see England Census. Census records from 1841 to 1891 are also available on film through a Family History Center or at the Family History Library.

Poor Law Unions[edit | edit source]

Thirsk Poor Law Union, Yorkshire Genealogy

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by the court with jurisdiction over this parish. Go to Yorkshire Probate Records to find the name of the court having primary jurisdiction. Scroll down in the article to the section Court Jurisdictions by Parish.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Maps are a visual look at the locations in England. Gazetteers contain brief summaries about a place.

Websites[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lewis, Samuel A., A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 326-328. Date accessed: 16 October 2013.
  2. 'British Isles Vital Records Index - 2nd Ed. Breakdown of Records', Genoot, accessed 28 October 2014.
  3. 'Yorkshire North Riding,'] FreeREG, accessed 22 October 2014.