Thornton-le-Dale is widely considered to be one of the prettiest villages in England, an impressive achievement for a village build along a busy main road. It owes much of its appeal to Thornton Beck, which winds its way through the village, passing one of the most photographed thatched houses in Yorkshire on the way. The beck is crossed by a series of small bridges, which add greatly to the appeal of the village.
The village is built around a crossroads, with the main A 170 Pickering to Scarborough road running east to west through the village, and roads to Malton and Whitby running north and south. The road to Whitby also passes the start of the toll road into Dalby Forest. The village green, at the crossroads, is surrounded by a number of shops.
In Doomsday Book Thornton-le-Dale was included as Torentune, an Old English name meaning thorn-tree enclosure or farmstead.
The church of All Saints’, at the eastern end of the village, was built in the fourteenth century. The churchyard contains the graves of Sir Richard Chomley, known as the Great Black Knight of the North, and a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth, and of Matthew Grimes, a soldier who had been one of Napoleon’s guards on St. Helena, and who survived until 1875.
Thornton-le-Dale was the preferred home of Elizabeth Lumley, Viscountess Lumley of Waterford, who founded a grammar school and alms houses in the village. Both sets of buildings survive, to the east of the market square.
Thornton-le-Dale was the birthplace of John Leng (1665-1727), a Latin scholar and bishop of Norwich, and of William Ward (1708/9-1772), a grammarian and headmaster of Beverly grammar school, and author of the best book on English grammar of his period.
There is now a large car park in a walled garden on the road south from the crossroads.
Our walk SE 8382/01 Thornton-le-Dale and Dalby Forest starts in the village
Thornton-le-Dale is on Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL27 (North Yorks Moors Eastern Area)