Thornbury, South Gloucestershire

Thornbury, South Gloucestershire

infobox UK place

country = England
latitude= 51.6094

longitude= -2.5249

official_name= Thornbury
population= 12,000
unitary_england= South Gloucestershire
region= South West England

constituency_westminster= Northavon
post_town= Bristol
postcode_district = BS35
postcode_area= BS
dial_code= 01454
os_grid_reference= ST636902

Thornbury is a market town in South Gloucestershire, England, approximately 12 miles (19km) north of the city of Bristol, with a population of around 12,000. The town hosts South Gloucestershire Council headquarters and is twinned with Bockenem in Germany. Thornbury is a Britain in Bloom award-winning town and also has its own competition, [ Thornbury in Bloom] . Its suburbs include the Morton and Thornbury Park districts.


There is evidence of human activity in the Thornbury area in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages but the earliest documented evidence of Thornbury's history comes in the 9th century, with a settlement called "Thornbyrig". The Domesday Book noted a manor known as "Turneberie" with 103 residents.

The town charter was created in 1252. The charter's 750th anniversary in 2002 was celebrated with a "750" flower bed planted on Grovesend Road. St. Mary's church is the oldest surviving building in the town. In 1974 a town council was elected. Thornbury used to be a borough but became a parish in 1984.

The Thornbury railway station and railway line have been redeveloped into a housing estate, a bypass road and a long footpath. More remains of the line can be found at Tytherington quarry to the east of the town.

Thornbury had a thriving market, held on the High Street and in the Market Hall. It moved to Rock Street in 1911 but closed down in the late 1990s and was partly replaced with a smaller market in a car park near the United Reformed Church. The older site has been redeveloped as a new community centre, called "Turnberrie's", while the Market Hall is now a clothes shop.

A hoard of 11,460 Roman coins was found in 2004 whilst a resident was digging out for a fishpond. This was acquired by Bristol Museum for £40,000 [ Coin Hoard Article]

Thornbury's coat of arms is the arms of four families important in the town's history: Attwells, Howard', Clare and Stafford. John Attwells left £500 in his will for the establishment of the Free School which merged with the grammar school in 1879. The Attwells coat of arms was later adopted as the badge for the grammar school, now Marlwood School. The other three families held the manor at Thornbury over several centuries. It has the motto "Decus Sabrinae Vallis" (Latin for "Jewel of the Severn Vale") []


Thornbury features a high street, a shopping centre (St Mary's Centre), two supermarkets and many smaller shops. The town has six churches: [ St Mary's Church] , [ Christ the King] , [ The Methodist Church] , [ United Reformed Church] , [ St Paul's Church, The Hackett] and [ Thornbury Baptist Church. On the outskirts of Thornbury, at Lower Morton, is an independentevangelical church, [ Morton Baptist Church] .

The town has a large number of public houses. "The White Lion, Thornbury", is a public house on the High Street. In 2003 it won the Thornbury in Bloom award, and in 1999 the Britain in Bloom award for Best Pub Display. In 1891 and 1903 its annual rateable value was £24.0s.0d. Other pubs in Thornbury are "The Swan", "The Wheatsheaf", "The Knot of Rope", "The Plough", "The Barrel", "The George", "The Black Horse" and "The Anchor"

The shop front of the Wildings (formerly Worthingtons) clothing shop was used in the Two Ronnies serial sketch, "The Worm That Turned." In urban legend it is proposed that Ronnie Barker got the idea for "Open All Hours" when he visited the local Riddifords grocer's - however, "Open All Hours" ran from 1976, following a pilot in 1973, long before the filming and broadcast of "The Worm That Turned" in 1980. The nearby nuclear power station at Oldbury-on-Severn, Tytherington quarry and Stokefield Close were used as locations for the 1976 four-part "Doctor Who" serial "The Hand of Fear".


An industrial estate is located to the south of the town. One of the biggest industries there is Essilor, who manufacture lenses for glasses. The construction of the Midland Way road has provided a boost for industry by allowing traffic to avoid the steep and narrow B4061 road.

Major roads & streets in Thornbury

* The B4061 loops off the A38 at Alveston, passes through the centre of the town, and rejoins the A38 at Whitfield, thus forming the main routes into the town from the north and south.
* Gillingstool and Grovesend Road form an easterly link from the centre to the A38.
* The High Street is, unusually, on the very edge of the town to the west.
* The Plain is at the north end of the High Street, notable for the pump in the middle of the road.
* Castle Street heads north from The Plain to Thornbury Castle.
* Midland Way and Morton Way are more modern additions forming a roughly semi-circular eastern boundary to the town, and allow HGVs headed for the industrial estate to avoid the centre.

Tourist Attractions

Thornbury castle

"Main article: Thornbury Castle"

One of Thornbury's most notable features is its castle, a Tudor structure begun in 1511 as a home for Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham. The two intricate redbrick chimneys were built in 1514, and are similar to those found at Hampton Court Palace. Cardinal Wolsey beheaded the Duke for treason in 1521. Following the Duke's demise the castle was confiscated by King Henry VIII who stayed at the Castle for ten days in 1535 with Anne Boleyn.

Following the English Civil War Thornbury castle fell into disrepair but was renovated in 1824 by the Howard Family. The Castle is now a 26 room luxury hotel and restaurant.

Parish church

The Church of Saint Mary the Virgin is Thornbury's parish church. Building started in 1340, with major additions in 1500, 1848 and 1988. The church is used for worship, baptism, confirmation, marriages, funerals and remembrance services.

Town pump

The town pump is on a small island at the bottom of the High Street. It has a sign saying "To Gloucester" with a pointing hand. The original water pump was removed in 1924 after its declaration as a road hazard by the council. In 1984 a new one was built. In 2002 it was temporarily painted gold to celebrate the Golden Jubilee. The pump is usually decorated with flowers, and there are often "Birthday Greetings" notices placed on the pump.

Walks and scenery

;Streamside WalkA footpath called Streamside Walk starts at Gillingstool Primary School, passes over several roads and bridges, past Thornbury Hospital and Manorbrook Primary School and on to the north of Thornbury where the stream leaves the town. Another stream runs through the north east of Thornbury and merges at an old mill.

;Old railway lineThe old railway line is now a footpath. The footpath was constructed in the 1990s to support new housing and industrial developments, previously it was grassed over and neglected. Starting from the industrial estates it follows the route of the streets of Streamleaze and Avon Way ending near a roundabout at the top of Avon Way.

;Heritage trailCreated by the Thornbury and District Heritage Trust as a Millennium project, the heritage trail consists of a walk encompassing the town's historically significant buildings. There are forty waymarkers indicating the route, which starts outside the town hall.

port and leisure

Mundy playing fields were donated to Thornbury by Mrs Violet Mundy in 1937. The fields feature a children's play area and sports ground. Nearby is Thornbury Golf Club, Thornbury Leisure Centre, Thornbury Lawn Tennis Club and a skate park. In south Thornbury a small children's play area was recently opened. There are green spaces around the town. A Thornbury Community Garden was set up near Gillingstool School but has closed because of housing development. A replacement Community Garden is to be built next to the new Community Centre.

Thornbury Town FC play in the Gloucestershire County League which is tier 11 in the English football (soccer) league.

Other Attractions

Attractions include Filnore Woods, Armstrong and Cossham Halls, and Thornbury Museum. A heritage trail offers information signs about places of interest, starting from the Town Hall (which used to be the police station and magistrates court in Thornbury). Also of note is the MacLaine Memorial fountain which is dedicated to the memory of Lieutenant Hector Maclaine, who was a local man who helped protect the British in India from the Russians and Afghans in 1880. Thornbury has an antiquarian mathematics bookshop.

chools in Thornbury

The Castle School is Thornbury's secondary school. The former Thornbury Grammar School buildings on Gloucester Road are now its sixth form centre. (Thornbury Grammar School was relocated to new buildings in neighbouring Alveston in 1972 when it received its first comprehensive school intake and was renamed Marlwood School.)

Gillingstool Primary School dates back to 1862, and is known for its school bell. The school will be completely rebuilt in a project commencing Spring 2009. The Victorian era buildings are being retained and will continue in their present use as a Sure Start Children's Centre [ [ Primary School Newsletter Extra] 6 June 2008] .

Other schools include St Mary's Church of England Primary School (founded in 1839), Crossways Infant and Junior schools, Christ The King Roman Catholic Primary School, Manorbrook Primary School, New Siblands Special School, and The Sheiling School (an independent special school part of the Camphill Movement). John Attwells's Free School existed in the 19th century, a plaque about this school can be seen on a shop in St Mary's Shopping centre.



External links


* [ Thornbury Town Council]
* [ MyThornbury - guide to what's on in Thornbury]
* [ Thornbury's Community Website]
* [ Thornbury FM - broadcasts twice a year]
* [ Thornbury Arts Festival - an annual event, held in the Spring]
* [ Map of Thornbury]
* [ Thornbury in Bloom]
* [ Thornbury Round Table]
* [ Thornbury Parish Church]
* [ Thornbury Baptist Church]
* [ White Cottage Website]


Local history

* [ Thornbury Museum]
* [ Thornbury Roots - local history]
* [ Images of Thornbury - Photos - Past - Present]
* [ Coin hoard article]


* [ St Mary's C of E Primary School]
* [ Gillingstool Primary School]
* [ Christ the King Primary School]
* [ Crossways Junior School]
* [ Crossways Infant School]
* [ The Castle School website]
* [ Friends Reunited page for Castle School]
* [ Thornbury Grammar School]
* [ Marlwood School]
* [ Manorbrook Primary School]


* [ Thornbury RFC]
* [ Thornbury Broncos]
* [ Thornbury Falcons]
* [ Thornbury Adult Skating]
* [ Thornbury Town FC]

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