The Yorkshire Thorntons

The Thorntons of Bradford - Leeds and their relatives, past and present





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The Thornton and Coates Families, A History

The map on the left is of 1752 Bradford, Yorkshire, UK, where the several family emigrations begin. The village of Thornton is left center, the town, soon-to-be city of Bradford is in the middle, and Eccleshill, Calverley and Idle are near the northeastern corner.

This story isn’t just about the Thornton and the Coates families. It's about a Yorkshire generation that left home. It’s about the Beaumonts, Burnleys, Coates, Jowetts, Thorntons, and the Walkers. They are all from the Leeds and Bradford area in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Our towns and villages are Calverley, Eccleshill, Idle, Huddersfield and of course, Thornton. On the modern map below on the right, the Bradford suburb of Thornton is highlighted by the "A" pin and to the right of it, present day Bradford is highlighted by a beltway.

These people were related by blood or marriage. Their families had been in this part of Yorkshire for hundreds of years. The Bradford Parish Church (now Bradford Cathedral) burial registers show 338 Thornton burials between 1681 and 1837, as well as numerous Coates, Burnleys, Jowetts, Beaumonts and Walkers. In 1598, when Elizabeth I was queen, at the Calverley parish church, Elizabeth Thornton married William Crabtree and Issabell Jowit married Martyn

Ricroft. In 1606, William Shakespeare produced Macbeth and Ane Thornton married Robert Fladder and John Thorntonn (sic) married Issabell Hunter.

The registers of the Bell Chapel in the village of Thornton show more baptisms and burials of Jowetts than Thorntons. In fact, the writer of the Jowett family Web site considers the Thornton family namesake village to be the Jowett family home base. (The former village of Thornton is located approximately five miles west of Bradford's city center.) Our Thorntons seem to have migrated to the eastern side of Bradford; the birth, burial and marriage records we have found are in the Calverley and Eccleshill area.

This Web site is called "Thornton-Coates" because two Thornton brothers married two Coates sisters in this Bradford-Leeds community in the 1830's and both emigrated to Erie, Pennsylvania not long after. Sixty years later the descendants of the emigrant Thorntons and Coates decided that it would be good for the now scattered families to get together once a year for a Thornton-Coates Reunion. August 17, 2014 near Springboro, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, will see the 122nd such gathering.

A migration of practically a whole generation would take the heart out of any close-knit community. We can account for 39 Thornton-Coates-Jowetts-Burnleys-Beaumonts-Walkers who made the commitment to leave all they had known. All came to Erie, Pennsylvania. Nearly all of the emigrations came in the 1830's and '40's. Three of five children of John and Hannah Hardaker Coates emigrated. Five out of eight of those of Benjamin and Nanny Mann Thornton left Yorkshire for America and Erie, PA. Also two of four children of Jewett and Ellen Thornton. (Jewett was Benjamin's brother.)

The structure of the Web site:
Yorkshire...The history and economic development of the western third, the "West Riding", of Yorkshire  suggests why our people made the break to come to America.
Voyages... They did not all come on the same boat. This mini-migration took almost 30 years.
In America... Settling in, raising families, moving on.
T-C World... The Thorntons have been in the Bradford since before written records. We have a lot of cousins tied together only by circumstantial evidence. These are some their stories. "T-C World" is a new page featuring the stories of Thorntons and others who are probably related but we can't prove that al of them are. The section on the "Thornton DNA Project" indicates how complex relationships can be.

New information and opinions are always welcome.

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