Kirkby Thore

Township in Kirkby Thore parish, East ward, Westmorland.


2,502 acres [1,013 ha.]; commons (1,175 acres [476 ha]) enclosed 1820.


rising from 247 in 1801 to lie in range 450-500 from mid-19th to mid-20th century; rapid increase across 1960s (from 486 in 1961 to 708 in 1971); stood at 731 in 2001.


manor of Kirkby Thore held by Kirkby Thore family (descended from Whelp who held it mid-12th century) in 13th-14th centuries; passed to Wharton family by 1450s, through whom it descended until death of William Wharton mid-18th century; then passed to Tufton family, lords of barony of Appleby (q.v.).


farming. Gypsum quarrying by 19th century; major expansion early 20th century with plaster and plasterboard plant from 1910; still in operation.

Places of worship:

name ‘Kirkby’ (Scandinavian for ‘settlement with a church’) suggests church founded by 10th century, forerunner of medieval parish church of St Michael, close to site of Roman fort of BRAVONIACUM. Wesleyan Methodist chapel built c.1800; enlarged or rebuilt 1828; still in use. Bethel Chapel (United Methodist) built 1851; converted to dwelling by 1970s. Independent (Congregational) chapel built 1849; used as parish room by 1897; replaced by Memorial Hall on same site.

Schools and other institutions:

school endowed 1823 and built 1832; replaced by new Board school outside village 1875; enlarged 1883 and 1890; now Kirkby Thore Primary School. Old school became reading room and meeting room with library; converted to dwelling 21st century. Memorial Hall built c.1920 as village hall and First World War memorial.