Thornley Township, 1848
THORNLEY, a township, in the parish of Kelloe, union of Easington, S. division of Easington ward, N. division of the county of Durham, 6½ miles (S.E. by E.) from Durham; containing 2,730 inhabitants. This place was distinguished in the twelfth century as the retreat of William de St. Barbara, Bishop of Durham, who, during the usurpation of the see, on the death of Gilfrid Rufus, by William Cummin, chancellor of the king of Scotland, took refuge with his retinue in an ancient castle here, which appears to have been strongly fortified. The township comprises the two estates of Thornley Hall and Gore Hall, both of which have been the property of the Spearman family for more than 150 years. Thornley Hall, a spacious mansion supposed to occupy the site of the castle, is situated on a commanding eminence, and is now the residence of the agents of an extensive colliery commenced here in 1833, previously to which year the population of the township did not exceed 60 persons. The coal is of very excellent quality, and is conveyed by railway to Hartlepool, whence it is shipped for the London market under the appellation of "Hartlepool Wallsend." A district church in the early English style was erected in 1842, by subscription, aided by a grant of £250 from Her Majesty's Commissioners; it is a neat structure, and calculated to accommodate 474 persons. The living is a perpetual curacy in the gift of the Vicar, with an income of £150. The vicarial tithes have been commuted for £20. There are places of worship for Primitive Methodists and Wesleyans.
Extract from: A Topographical Dictionary of England comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate and market towns, parishes, and townships..... 7th Edition, by Samuel Lewis, London, 1848.