About

Thornton village is within the civil parish of Bagworth and Thornton in Leicestershire.  It is a linear village lying along a scarp overlooking Thornton Reservoir to the east and Bagworth Heath to the west.

The first historical notice of Thornton, otherwise called “Torinton” is that in the Domesday Book completed in 1085 AD. In it Thornton, or Torentum, comes under the manor of Bagworde (Bagworth).

Benefactions – There were many in the parish but the following 2 are most significant.   In 1630 Luke Jackson gave by will one third of the tithes of Stanton Under Bardon in the parish of Thornton to the poor of the parish for ever. This benefited the vicar of Thornton to the tune of £2 for preaching 2 sermons on 28 July each year in remembrance of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 and on 5 November in commemoration of deliverance from the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. This benefaction comes from the fact that Mr Jackson acquired the tithes at the time of the Reformation when in fact they were rightly belonging to the Church; and William Grundy of Thornton, gave by will, a house and garden in Thornton to the poor forever.

Railway – The Leicester and Swannington railway line was one of the first in the country and was laid down by Robert Stephenson. From 1832 until 1871, Thornton was served partly by Merry Lees railway station, and the Stag and Castle Inn built in 1832 served as a station in Thornton Hollow, part way between Thornton and Bagworth until 1865.

On 4 May 1833 an accident occurred at Thornton Lane level crossing (now a bridge). The gates had been left open and a train ran into a horse and cart, the driver of which had not heard the engine driver’s bugle. The Company had to pay for a new horse and cart along with fifty pounds of butter and eighty dozen eggs. As a result of this accident George Stephenson, devised the steam whistle. It was constructed by a musical instrument maker in King Street, Leicester and it became standard equipment on most steam trains thereafter.

Thornton was originally a farming village but, with the coming of the collieries in Bagworth and the Coalville area, many miners lived in Thornton too. There was no colliery or mine workings in Thornton and it is understood that underground faults made any coal under Thornton unworkable.

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