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Thorne in 1843

Thorne is a small market-town in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the wapentake of Strafforth and Tickhill, 163 miles from London, and 25 miles south of York. A part of the town called Thorne Waterside, is on the south bank of the Don, and here are ship, rope, and timber yards, and wharfs for merchandise. The tide rises several feet, and brigs come thus far up the Don, bringing merchandise and groceries from London. Steam-boats ply between Thorne and Hull daily, but at neap-tides they do not come farther than Newbridge, on the Dutch river, 4 miles from Thorne. On the east side of the town the Stainforth and Keadby canal, 15 miles long, connects the Trent and the Don. There is a market for corn and agricultural produce every Wednesday, and the former is of sufficient importance to have been selected as one of the places for returning the average prices under the Corn Act of 1842.

A great portion of the surrounding country was once a marsh, but has been rendered highly productive by an extensive system of drainage commenced in the reign of Charles I by Cornelius Vermueden, a Dutchman, who came over with a number of his countrymen. The influence of this immigration is not yet effaced in the vicinity, and families still exist who trace their origin to Dutch ancestors. The waggon in common use is evidently Dutch, and is not found beyond a limited district.

The parish of Thorne comprises 10,840 acres ; and the population in 1841 was 3,507, having been 3,779 in 1831. In 1831 there were 849 houses inhabited, 68 uninhabited, and 1 building ; in 1841, 796 inhabited, 123 uninhabited, and there were none building. The town is lighted with gas. The church was formerly a chapel-of-ease to the parish of Hatfield, but in the seventeenth century it was made parochial, in consequence, it is said, of a funeral party crossing the marsh (now drained) having narrowly escaped drowning by the upsetting of the boat. The living is a perpetual curacy, in the archdeaconry and diocese of York, of the annual value of £117. The Unitarians and Baptists have chapels, which are licensed for the celebration of marriages ; and the Methodists, Independents, and Quakers have also places of worship. In 1833 there were 65 children educated from Travis's charity, and 10 from Brook's charity, the date of these endowments being respectively 1705 and 1706. Thorne is the centre of a Poor-Law Union.