Thornton is a village located on the north side of Pinch Beck Valley, a tributary of Clayton Beck. The village is approximately five miles to the west of Bradford.
The origins of the village go back before the Norman Conquest, when Thornton belonged to the manor of Bolton. It is spelt in the Domesday Book as Torenton meaning ‘enclosure of Thorns’.
Thornton is historically associated with the foundation of a literary phenomenon and being the birthplace of the Bronte sisters Charlotte (1816), Emily Jane (1818) and Anne (1820). Their brother Patrick Branwell was also born here in 1817. The Bronte family moved to Haworth in 1820.
St James’ Church, is a landmark building located at the east end of Thornton. Copies of the entries in the baptismal register for Elizabeth, Charlotte, Emily, Branwell and Anne Bronte, the font from the Old Bell Chapel and a stained glass window designed by William Morris can be viewed at the church.
Thornton Viaduct, is grade II listed structure, dating from 1878. Has a rare S-Shaped curve stretching 275 metres and offers spectacular views over the Pinch Beck Valley.
The natural beauty of the area can easily be enjoyed and appreciated from the Great Northern Trail (Route 69) especially from the Thornton viaduct. The route also provides an opportunity to explore countryside important to the Brontë heritage.