Cross Lanes School, 1742-1964

[This section is under construction]


The main school for children from Thoralby and Newbiggin was at Cross Lanes.


"It was founded in 1742 by John Dupont, vicar of Aysgarth and the inhabitants of Thoralby: George Wray, Tristram Hogg, John Sadler, John Sadler Jun., and John Bywell  raised the Sum of Money by Subscription between and amongst themselves and others to build a School for 70 children,  at a place called Cross Lanes which was built accordingly and they constituted themselves Trustees to manage the School.


One Adam Ellis left a benefaction of £20 to the school the Int. to go to the School Master and some other small donations were given at the time for the same purpose – and the Trustees before named gave a Bond to the Churchwardens for the proper application of Ellis’s Donation – and the Trustees from time to time directed that sometimes 5 sometimes 4 sometimes 3 poor children should be taught gratis out of the benefaction money so given - and the Trustees held regular meetings annually and sometimes oftener to fill up the Vacancies of the Poor children to be educated and elect School Masters and for other purposes of the School. In 1748, Elizabeth Withay endowed it with 3 acres of land, the rent of which was to be used to uphold the school-house and all manner of needful reparation, the remainder to the schoolmaster for teaching not more than three poor children." (From the Tenure document in the 1902 Return, courtesy of Northallerton County Record Office, click on button at bottom of page.)

One of the earliest school masters was a Christopher Tennant (1761-1835), however his conduct was deemed unsatisfactory and the Trustees tried unsuccessfully to have him removed, taking the matter to Court. Click on the button at the bottom of the page for details of the Court Case, 1828.

Although during Christopher Tennant's tenure the school had a very poor reputation and he neglected the maintenance of the building, after his death in 1835, the school gradually became held in high esteem. Initially built for 70 children, the largest attendance appears to have been 77 in 1896, the school was enlarged in 1909 to take up to 120 children, which was very optimistic!

The following is a collection of photographs of the school and its pupils, teachers, trustees and cooks from 1893 up to and including 1964. If you attended the school and you have a photograph of memories you would be willing to share, please contact me.


I would like to say a large thank you to the numerous people who have loaned photographs, newspaper clippings shared their memories and helped to name individuals in the photographs.

Below is a photograph of the school taken in 1955. Courtesy of Francis Frith. 

Three chimneys and 2 large ventilators can clearly be seen.

© Thoralby Through Time

1837: School premises enlarged (Source: Cross Lanes Return, 1902, see bottom of page).


Trade Directory entries


White, 1840: "The School, at Cross Lanes, where four or five free-scholars of Newbiggin and Thoralby are educated was founded in 1748, by Eliz. Withay, who endowed it with 3 acres of land, let for £6 a year, besides which the master has the interest of £20, saved by the trustees."

Whellan, 1859: "At Cross Lanes, between Newbiggin and Thoralby, is a School, founded in 1748 by Elizabeth Whithay, who endowed it with 2A. 2R. 26P. of land. A few children are taught free."

Kellys, 1872: "Here is a small school, partly free, founded in 1748. ... School, William Whalley, master."

1875 and 1876: School premises enlarged (Source: Cross Lanes Return, 1902, see bottom of page) and Newspaper Transcription below: 

"Richmond & Ripon Chronicle – 6th February, 1875



TEA PARTY AND BALL. The school-room between Thoralby and Newbiggin has recently been enlarged in becoming a Government school. In commemoration of the completion of this work a tea party and ball were held in the new school-room on the 22nd ult. The management of this party was placed in the hands of a committee of six local gentlemen, and it is due to these gentlemen to say that they carried out the work entrusted to them in a very efficient manner. A great number of invitations were issued, an no fewer than 150 ladies and gentlemen responded to the call and sat down to a most substantial tea. The dancing was led off by Mr. T. [Thomas] Sadler, of Thoralby, and Mrs. W. Fryer, of Newbiggin, and continued in a spirited manner long into the early hours of morning to the music of the violins played by Mr. W. Percival and Mr. J. Percival. Midway in the dance the party were regaled with lunch and afterwards supper; at intervals also the ladies were refreshed with wine, and the gentlemen with good old English beer. The programme was also further varied by songs given by different ladies and gentlemen. We need scarcely add that all appeared to enjoy themselves thoroughly, and when the meeting broke up a vote of thanks to the committee was carried amidst great applause. On the following day all the old people from Newbiggin and Thoralby were entertained by the committee to tea in the school-room, when a goodly number sat down and partook of the good things provided for them."

Trade Directory entries

Kellys, 1879: "Here is a small school, partly free, founded in 1748. ... School, David Bond, master."

Wesleyan tea Festival and Service of Song in Cross Lanes Schoolroom, see transcription of newspaper extract below:

"Richmond & Ripon 15 January 1887


... WESLEYAN TEA FESTIVAL AND SERVICE OF SONG AT THORALBY. - On Wednesday last a public tea was given in the Cross Lanes schoolroom, Thoralby, and to which a good number sat down. In the evening a service of song was given, entitled "John Ashworth," by the West Burton Wesleyan Choir and other friends. The connective readings were read by Mr. A. Harker, of Carperby. The proceeds were for the funds of the chapel."

The school was advertising for a new master in July 1887, see transcription of newspaper extract below:

"Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 29 July 1887



WANTED, for the Cross Lanes School, Thoralby, Bedale, a Certified MASTER with the necessary testimonials.- Address to the Cross Lanes School Committee, Thoralby."

Grand Concert held on the school premises, see transcription of newspaper extract below:

"Richmond & Ripon Chronicle - Saturday 08 June 1889



On Monday evening a concert was given in the Cross Lanes School (kindly lent for the occasion), by the Middleham Circuit Wesleyan Choral Union, the following choirs being present: Leyburn, Bellerby, West Witton, Aysgarth, and Thoralby. The instrumentalists were: - Messrs. F. Kitching, A. Sedgwick, A. Rodwell, D. Croft, and W. Hall, violins: Mr. F. Sedwick, violincello: Rev. W. H. Lockhart, harmonium: conductor, Mr. J. Rodwell, West Witton. The following interesting programme was presented, each piece being loudly applauded: - Anthem, "God our refuge," full chorus; song, "The old sexton," Mr. A.  Blades; chorus, "Jehovah's praise," Preston choir: duet, "What are the wild waves saying?" Misses Lee: chorus, "Cry our and shout," Bellerby choir: duet, "Friendship, "Miss Rodwell and Miss Sedgwick: song, "Alone," Mr. Isaac Siddall: song, "Gates of the west, "Miss Barker; march from Eli, the band: chorus, "Lift up your heads," Preston choir: violin solo, "Life let us cherish," Mr. Kitching (encored): song, "Angels ever bright and fair," Miss Spence: song, "King and the air," Mr. C. Walker: song, "The child of the rose," Miss Sedgwick: chorus, "Lift the heart," Bellerby choir (encored): song, "The last mile-stone," Miss Rodwell: chorus, "Home sweet home," Preston choir (encored) anthem, "Daughter of Zion," full chorus: doxology. Mr. Lockhart acted as accompanist for the anthems. Mr. W. Dent ably preformed the duty of chairman. The whole of the pieces on the programme were very well rendered. Mr. Kitching was deservedly encored in the solo, "Life let us cherish," and in response repeated the latter portion of this well-known and much admired piece, with variations. The duets were nicely sung, as were the solos, each one meriting a fair amount of applause. The choruses were excellent, two choirs only taking choruses as their selection. Bellerby was again encored in the rendering of "Lift the heart." For a country village this is really a wonder. Preston secured an encore in "Home, sweet home," and in reply gave "Father in heaven." The anthems were fairly rendered, Miss Lee taking a solo, "There is a stream," in good style. The room was packed to excess, many being unable to gain admission."

The school attendance officer took several parents to court in December 1889, see transcription of newspaper extract below: 

"Craven Herald – 6 December 1889



... At the instance of Wm. Metcalfe, school attendance officer to the Bainbridge Board of Guardians, the following parents were fined 6d each and costs, amounting to 5s in all, for not sending their children regularly to school: - Geo. Preston, Stall-in-Busk; James Waller, Thoralby; and Mary Byker, of West Burton."

1891: "Education Act elementary education to be provided free."

1893: "School leaving age raised to 11 (previously age 10)."


Kellys, 1893: "School, founded in 1748, for 70 children; average attendance 53; John William Hill, master."

Average attendance was around 50 in 1889, but this photograph below from around 1896 shows 77 pupils, two assistant teachers and the headmaster, John William Hill.

Below is a photograph of Cross Lanes School, pupils and teachers, c.1896,

John William Hill, head teacher, David Bond and Miss Sharp, additional teachers, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler. 

© Thoralby Through Time

John William Hill was the headmaster in 1896 and there were two other teachers, Miss Sharp and David Bond, and 77 pupils. Only two families of pupils have been identified so far. Thomas Heseltine is fifth from the right on the back row and alongside him stands his brother Robert Heseltine, both of Eastburn Farm, Newbiggin. There are also five Sadler children from Town Head Cottage, Thoralby: John Bywell Sadler stands fifth from the left on the back row; Maud Sadler is second from the left on the fourth row and Maggie Sadler is sixth from the left on the same row; Florence Sadler stands third from the right on the third row and Hugh Vernon Sadler sits on the front row sixth from the left. These children can also be viewed in the 1901 census, Newbiggin and the 1901 census, Thoralby.



John William Hill can be seen living at Heaning Hall, Thoralby, in the 1901 census, aged 34, with his wife Margaret née Stainsby, aged 39. They had 2 children, Elizabeth, aged 2 and William, aged 1, both born at Thoralby.

Band of Hope evening of entertainment held on the school premises, see transcription of newspaper extract below:

"Craven Herald – 26th March, 1897


BAND OF HOPE. - On Friday evening several members of the West Witton Band of Hope gave a miscellaneous entertainment, consisting of songs, glees, recitations and dialogues, in the Cross-lanes School-room, in behalf of a newly-formed Band of Hope at Thoralby. A large and excellent programme was nicely rendered before a large audience. The songs and dialogues were very well given, and great credit is due to those who took part in the dialogues for the excellent manner in which they maintained their parts. Mr. R. Ewbank, of Temple, occupied the chair, and, in the course of his remarks, congratulated the promoters on the successful start which they had made, having enrolled upwards of 100 members in about a week. At the close a vote of thanks was passed to the friends from West Witton for so kindly offering their services and giving such an excellent entertainment. As a result, a substantial amount has been placed in the hands of the treasurer.


1899: "School leaving age raised to 12."


Following a poor H.M.I. Report in 1902 (see Inspectors Report below) a new Headteacher was appointed a Mr. James Hill.

Pupils at Cross Lanes School remember their teacher Miss Haw, in the early 1900s, on being informed of the impending visit of the doctor, sending all the children down to the mill to be weighed by Tommy Sayer.

1902 School accommodation for 78 Senior pupils and 34 Infant pupils, total of 112 scholars. (Source: Cross Lanes Return, 1902, see bottom of page).

Trade Directory entries:

In 1905 "the school became a Council Non-Provided School, with the average attendance up to 70, and James Hill was master."

Band of Hope evening of entertainment held on the school premises, see transcription of the Wensleydale Wesleyan Monthly, March 1907 an entertaining evening by the Methodist Band of Hope, with numerous locals participating, see transcription below, courtesy of the DCM, Hawes.

"Wesleyan MonthlyMARCH, 1907




An entertainment was given in the Cross Lanes School (kindly lent by the managers), on Friday, Feb. 15th. Although the weather was very unfavourable, a good company assembled, and a very successful evening was spent. Mr. F[rancis]. Sayer of Myer's Garth presided. After a very practical and helpful address by the chairman, the following programme was well rendered: - Duet, "The Drunkard's Folly," Misses M[ary] Dent and M[ary]Gould. Recitation, "Our Opening Address," Geo. D[ent] Willis. Solo, "Little Johnny," Nelly Heseltine. Recitation, "A little girl's speech," Maggie Heseltine. Song, "Childhood," Six Girls. Dialogue, "Blighted Buds of Promise," Adult Members. Recitation, "Jimmy Davy's Heaf," Matt. Heseltine. Song, "Whither, Pilgrims," Nellie Heseltine, Christian Routh, Rebecca Heseltine, and Florrie Saddler. Recitation, "The Last Shilling," Rebecca Heseltine. Duet, "No one cares for me, Misses A[nn] J[ane] Furnish and M[ary] Gould. Recitation, "Leave off before you start," Matt. Heseltine. Solo, "Was it a dream?" Miss E[leanor] Dinsdale. Dialogue, "Norah's Forty Winks," Adult Members. Song, "Joe Perkins," Four Boys. Recitation, "Buying Beef instead of Beer," Grace Dinsdale. Solo, "Cling to the Cross," Miss M[ary] Gould. Musical Dialogue, "Band of Hope," Five Girls and Five Boys. Mrs T. [Annie] Sayer ably presided at the organ, and great credit is due to her for the way in which she trained the children. A collection in aid of Band of Hope Funds concluded a very enjoyable evening."

Trade Directory entries:


By 1909 "the school had been enlarged to take up to 120 children, but average attendance remained at 70, James Hill was still the master."

Kellys 1913: "Council Non-Provided School, for 120 children; average attendance, 43; Miss Constance Mary Walker, mistress."

Concert  held on the school premises, see transcription of the Wensleydale Wesleyan Monthly, December 1913, see transcription below, courtesy of the DCM, Hawes.

"Wesleyan Monthly, DECEMBER, 1913


The promised visit to Oxenhope friends was fulfilled on Oct. 25th and 26th, when we much enjoyed the realization of a pleasant anticipation. A most successful concert was given in the Cross Lanes School, presided over by Mr. Harker, Carperby, who gave a short but cheery address. A varied and interesting programme was creditably gone through, consisting of recitals, trio, songs, duets, and quartets."


Below is a school photograph, Mrs Mason and Group IIcourtesy of Jean Dobbing (1908-9). 

Photograph courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler. Identification of the Sadler children by Adrian Sadler from information supplied by Vic. Sadler and Bill Colton.

Cross Lanes School Photograph by 

G. Maychell, West Witton, Leyburn.

'Teaching Certificate', awarded to John William Hill, 1890. A teacher in Sutton-in-Craven National School and had served the 'required period of probation' in Cross Lanes school. Courtesy of great-grandson, Paul Hill.

John William  Hill (1866-1919), head master Cross Lanes School, 1896. Courtesy of A. & G.V. Sadler.

Clock presented to John William Hill in 1902, following 11 years of service  at Cross Lanes School. Courtesy of great-grandson, Paul Hill.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:-

Alice Thwaites; Lizzie Dinsdale; ? ; Michael Heseltine and Leonard Bell.

Row 2:-

Teacher: Mrs Mason; John Dinsdale; Will Sadler; Tom Haw; May Helmsley and Annie Thwaites.

Row 3:-

Annie Sadler; Frank Dinsdale; John Dinsdale; Rob Bell; Elizabeth Haw; Sarah Brown and May Haw.

Front Row:-

Ellen Helmsley; Nellie Roth; Rose Thwaites; Matt Dinsdale and Percy Willis.

Below is a school photograph,  Mrs Mason and Group II, courtesy of Jean Dobbing (1909).

© Thoralby Through Time

Teacher: Mrs Mason;

Back Row:-

Lizzie Haw; May Hemsley; Bessie Dinsdale; Nellie Routh; Annie Sadler; Ellen Hemsley;

Margaret Dinsdale; Edith Craddock & Sarah Brown.

Middle Row:-

Frank Dinsdale; Robert Webster; John Dinsdale; Tom Haw; John Dinsdale; Wm. Sadler;

Allan Willis & Percy Willis.

Front Row:-

Matt Dinsdale; Robert Dinsdale & Robert Bell.

Scholars reminiscences of Cross Lanes School


Memories: Martha Eleanor Snaith (1905-1995); née Dinsdale, my Grandmother attended Cross Lanes School: 1910 - 1917, lived at Holmeside Farm, Thoralby, see the 1911 Census for Thoralby. Martha attended school with her siblings, her older sister Margaret Kearton Dinsdale (1903-1998), younger sister Mary Elizabeth Dinsdale (1907-1996), and younger brothers, Francis Spence Dinsdale (1909-1983) and John Dinsdale (1910-1976). Her youngest brother Harry William Dinsdale, died aged only 18 months in November 1918 from the Spanish flue epidemic. Martha was born at Newbiggin, the 2nd child of William Dinsdale and Dorothy Harker. William was a Master Boot and Shoemaker and the family moved to Thoralby when Martha was aged just nine months old. The house they lived in belonged to the Sayer family (mill owners), and William rented the house and a small acreage of land 2 acres. The family home would be significant for Martha, as she would return to Holmeside Farm, after six years of marriage with her husband, Frank Snaith (1904-1991) and her three young children, Harry (1930-2007), my dad and Arthur (1931-1995) and William, known as Billy (1935-2004). My grandparents lived at Holmeside Farm for forty years, and I was born there in the winter of 1963. In 1976, they moved into the bungalow they had built alongside the farm.

The following is an interview with my grandparents, recorded by Maggie Bede at their bungalow on 14.05.1990. Grandma childhood. I have extracted the parts of the interview relevant to this section of the website. The whole recorded interview is available at the Dales Countryside Musem, Hawes.

School – Cross Lanes – Children attending school at the same time period, aged 5-12 (1910-1917):

(Town Head Cottage - Seps house): Will, Annie, and Alice Sadler.


(Old Hall - McGregor's): Bessie Dinsdale, Nellie, Alice  and Lizzy Routh


(Town Head Farm - Lancaster's house): James William, Leonad Horner, Robert and Hannah Bell


(Hillside Cottage - Jim Mudds): James, Jonnie Hannah & Rob ?


(Town head - May Heseltine's): Ginny Fawcett, lived with 2 aunts.


(South View):  Fred, Allan, and Percy, Willis 


(Volunteer: – Haws, shoes): May, Lizzie, Tom, Jim and Dick Haw


(High Green Farm - Mrs Atkinsons): John Dinsdale


(Low Green House): Clara Dinsdale


(Spickles Farm): Ida Furnish


Cousins: Lizzie, Madge & Alice, Florrie, Wm & Frank Dinsdale

Teachers: Mr Hill, Mrs Hammond, infant Miss Walker & Miss Channon 52 children.


We came home for dinner, if mother out took can of tea, put on school hobs to keep warm.


Playtimes 15 mins: drill P.E. 


Best friend Hannah Bell, lived opposite (Stanley Cottage), died aged, only 34, three weeks older than me. We played at houses, dock leaves for lettuce sandwiches.

Holmeside Farm, father, a farmer and shoemaker's shop in parlour. Lots of toys from uncle in Bradford, mechanical and baby doll, rocking horse could sit on, Uncle, friendly with toy shop owner. Christmas: cake, stocking, apple and orange various toys, nice things. Birthdays: cake, small present. Not able to ride a bicycle, good pillion rider on husband Frank's motorbike. Hobbies: reading books.

Other villagers

(Town Head Farm - next door to Lancaster's house): Aunt Lizzie Beckwith 


(Rose Cottage): - John Willis, Blacksmith.


(Lime Tree House): - Matt. Willis, Blacksmith.


(Wayside - Hillarys): Joiner shop, Willis and blacksmiths shop now a garage.


The family attended the Primitive Methodist Chapel, also Tom Dinsdale, Sunday school. Ministers names Brewist, Shepherd and Skelton. Sunday school teachers. My father, William Dinsdale (1874-1952), Margaret Scarr’s Uncle: John William Heseltine (1873-1930), and his father, Thomas Heseltine senior (1847-1909), were Methodist lay preachers on the Bishopdale and Aysgarth circuit.  The organ was played by Miss Ellen? Wills and her niece, and my sister Margaret Kearton Dinsdale.


Old Wesleyan Chapel, used in her time as Sunday school, and chapel teas, also the village had teas there and also the Reading Room was used took the billiard table down to use it. Village Hall did  not open until October 1953.


Other shops: (Village Shop & P.O. - Websters): - Grocer


Sweets: (Prospect House - Teasdales): sugar, hats, draperies run by  Miss Willis and her mother, little toys odds and ends pins, needle and things, ribbons – girls wore ribbons in hair.


Didn’t need to leave Thoralby, for shopping. Did not use train much, because of the long walk to Aysgarth station, as long a journey as road on train.


Meat: came round in a covered horse trap, once or twice a week, Wednesday and Thursday, joint of meat bought on Saturday morning at West Burton (Edward Brown, butcher, now Hartle’s shop), John Thompson, butcher at Aysgarth.


First house being built can remember (Fell View - Wainwrights), 2 old cottages before built in 1913 and finished 1914), you can tell not old houses, no town and country planning then. My great grand parents [Arthur and Bessie Snaith]  lived in one of them in the 1930s.

Below is a photograph of Martha's siblings John Dinsdale (1910-1976), Mary Elizabeth Dinsdale (1907-1996) and Francis (Frank) Spence Dinsdale (1909-1983), at Holmeside Farm, Thoralby c. 1911.

The second photograph is Martha's two sons, Harry Snaith (1930-2007) and William (Billy) Snaith (1935-2004), and her husband, Frank Snaith (1904-1991) and Martha Eleanor Snaith (1905- 1995), stood outside the front door at their home of Holmeside Farm, Thoralby, 1950s. Unfortunately I do not have a photograph of my grandmother as a schoolchild.

© Thoralby Through Time

John, Mary and Frank Dinsdale, Holmeside Farm, Thoralby c. 1911

Courtesy of F. & M.E. Snaith

© Thoralby Through Time

Harry, Billy, Frank and Martha Snaith

 Holmeside Farm, Thoralby 1950's

Courtesy of F. & M.E. Snaith

1912 The school’s exhibit at the Royal Show, Doncaster, there was a highly commendatory account in the Yorkshire Post. From the School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965, see transcription and newspaper excerpt below.

Trade Directory entries:


Kellys, 1913: "Council Non-Provided School, for 120 children; average attendance, 43; Miss Constance Mary Walker, mistress."

1914: Cross Lanes School was used as a Rifle Range according to the School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965 (see transcription below). World War One must have had a devastating effect on the close knit communities of Thoralby, Bishopdale and Newbiggin. Numerous ex-scholars served in the conflict, with six local men making the ultimate sacrifice (see the memorial plaque below, which is displayed in Thoralby Village Hall).

This video is of a song composed and played by Thoralby musician, Kim Ralls.

It is set in World War One and tells the

story of class mates from Cross Lanes School leaving the fields of Bishopdale for the fields of war.

© Thoralby Through Time

The photograph of "my classmates my brothers and me".

At least 49 men and women are known to have served in the conflict from Thoralby, Bishopdale and Newbiggin.

See my Aysgarth Parish, Roll of Honour 'All Who Served' for more details.

For more details about Kim Ralls Yorkshire Dales-based singer/songwriter go to Links.

© Thoralby Through Time

"The Inn on the Hill" - Street Head, Newbiggin.

1921: "Education Act school leaving age raised from 12 to 14.


Kellys, 1921: "Council Non-Provided School, for 120 children; Mrs. [Jane Ellen ] Hoare, mistress."

The above document from the Teachers Registration Council, shows that Jane Ellen Hoare commenced as head teacher at Cross Lanes in 1919. Courtesy of the Society of Genealogists.

1928: - 20th August - Following the closure of Bishopdale School, the conveyance of the Bishopdale children to the West Burton C.E. School commenced, the school taxi going past Cross Lanes School on its journey to West Burton.


Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any school photographs of Cross Lanes School pupils in the period 1910-1935. The number of scholars diminished considerably during this period from an average of 43 pupils in 1913, to an average of about 26 pupils in 1920 and to 21 in 1936 in the school photograph below.

Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Beighton, head teacher, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler, 1936.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:-

Jack Sayer; Felix Sayer; Albert Heseltine; Matt Percival; Alex Sayer and Harold Dinsdale.

Middle Row:-

Margaret Heseltine; Matt Sayer; Dorothy Percival; Muriel Metcalfe; Grace Hodgson; Alice Willis;


Peggy Ward; Jim Percival and Francis Sayer.

Front Row:-

Margaret Heseltine; Sheila Cottingham; Jack Musgrave; Mary Cottingham; Jean Percival and Nancy Coates.

1936:  Nov. - installation of electric light in the school according to the School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965 (see transcription below).

Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Beighton, head teacher, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1937.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:-

Margaret Heseltine, Swinacote; Albert Heseltine, Swinacote; Felix Sayer, Newbiggin; Peggy Ward, High Green;

Grace Hodgson, Newbigin; Muriel Metcalfe, Old Hall; Harold Dinsdale, Prospect and Dorothy Percival, Forelands.

Middle Row:-

Francis Sayer, Newbiggin; James Furnish, Stanley House; Clifford Heseltine, Littleburn; Mrs Beighton - Teacher;

Sheila Cottingham, Mary Cottingham, Sylvia Heseltine, Dorothy Furnish, and Jean Percival, Forelands.

Front Row:- Jack Musgrave, Newbiggin; Matthew Sayer, Newbiggin; James Musgrave, Newbiggin; Wila Close, Low Green Fm.;


Mattie Furnish,Stanley House; John Heseltine, Swinacote; Arthur Snaith, Holmeside; Harry Snaith, Holmeside;


John Sayer, Newbiggin and Mike Percival, Forelands.

The School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965transcribed below shows that in 1938, the earth closet lavatories were replaced with water closets.

Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Blackett, head teacher, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1939.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:-

Muriel Metcalfe; Nancy Coates; Margaret Heseltine; Grace Hodgson; Frank Sayer; Harold Dinsdale and Harry Snaith.

Middle Row:-

Matthew Sayer; Jack Musgrave; Dorothy Furnish; Margaret Heseltine; Jean Percival; Sylvia Heseltine and Jim Percival.

Front Row:-

John Heseltine; Wila Close; Brenda Sadler; Mattie Furnish and Arthur Snaith.

Below are two photographs of Cross Lanes School Christmas Pantomime, 'Dick Whittington',

outside the teachers house, then known as School house (now Thoral Cottage), courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1940's. 

© Thoralby Through Time

Back just inside the door Margaret Heseltine, Sylvia Heseltine 

Front:  Mattie Furnish and Brenda Sadler and Willa Close, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1940's.

© Thoralby Through Time

A larger group:

Back row: 3rd along, Margaret Heseltine, (Swina Coat).

Middle Row: Dorothy Furnish and Nancy Coates.


Front Row far left: Sylvia Heseltine, Margaret Heseltine (Newbiggin), Willa Close, 

Brenda Sadler and Mattie Furnish, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1940's.


Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Blackett, head teacher, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler, 1940.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:-

Irene Philips (Evacuee); Jean Percival; Nancy Coates; Margaret Heseltine; Francis Sayer and Dorothy Furnish.

Third Row:-

Pat Roper; Jack Musgrave; Mrs. Blackett (Headteacher); Miss Dorothy Appleton (Assistant teacher); 

Matt Sayer and Margaret Heseltine.

Second Row:-

Sheila Blackett; John Ousby; Ronnie Ousby; (2 Evacuees from Gateshead) Pat Iveson;

James Musgrave; Harry Snaith; Jim Percival and John Sayer.

Front Row:-

George Sadler; Arthur Snaith; Mattie Furnish; Brenda Sadler;

John Heseltine; Mike Percival and Bill Iveson

World War Two and the influx of Evacuees


Several evacuees can be seen in the 1939 ID Register for Thoralby, including the Ousby brothers, in the photograph above, who were at Town Head Farm, with Walter and Mary Sayer, also in the above photograph was Irene Phillips, an evacuee with John and Hilda Hedley, at Newbiggin House, see 1939 ID Register for Newbiggin.

During the Second World War several children were evacuated to the countryside from the large cities and towns of the North East. In September 1939, the children arrived by train at Askrigg station and from there, they were allocated to their billets, a number of children were evacuated to Thoralby and Newbiggin and consequently attended Cross Lanes School.

The following children listed were evacuated to Thoralby and Newbiggin and as such would have attended Cross Lanes School:

Town Head Farm, Thoralby: Brothers, from Gateshead, 13-year-old Ronald Ousby ,and his brother John, aged 10. 

The Grange, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old Malcolm Marks.

Heaning Hall Farm, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old Norman Albrow.

Thoral Cottage, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old, Henry E. Poulton.

Prospect House, Thoralby: from Gateshead, 11-year-old Edward St. George.

East Lane House, Newbiggin: Brothers, from Gateshead, 12-year-old, Matthew Moody and his brother Thomas Moody aged 6.

Newbiggin House, Newbiggin: from Gateshead, 11-year-old Irene Phillips.

All the children mentioned above can be seen in the 1939 ID Register for Thoralby or the 1939 ID Register for Newbiggin, living with their respective families.

In addition to those children, there was Jill Armstrong, from Hull aged only 5, living at Stanley House, Thoralby with Mrs. Mary Furnish, widower and her children 13-year-old son, James and sister Martha known as Mattie who was 8 years old. The following 2 postcards were sent to Jill Armstrong from her Mum, Mrs Armstrong, and Aunt Janet. As Jill is still living her name has not been released on the 1939 ID Register and the following two postcards, are courtesy of her niece, Jennifer Armstrong.

© Thoralby Through Time
© Thoralby Through Time

The postcard is date stamped 4th September 1940 and is addressed to Miss J. Armstrong, c/o Mrs. Furnish, Stanley House, Thoralby, Leyburn, Yorks. The message is as follows: "My dear Jill, I am so pleased you are having such a happy time dear. I think your letter was very nice, Warwick is very well and sends his love. Daddy will write to you tonight. Heaps of Love from Mummy XXX.

Warwick was her baby brother who was at home in Hull and he and his mum would hide under the stairs during the many bombing raids on Hull, or the odd 'surprise attack', when the bombers made their journey home, disposing of any left-over bombs from the city raids on England.

© Thoralby Through Time
© Thoralby Through Time

The postcard is date stamped 10th September 1940 and is addressed to Miss J. Armstrong, c/o Mrs. Furnish, Stanley House, Thoralby, Leyburn, Yorks. The message is as follows: "Hope you are having a good holiday and plenty of sunshine. Heaps of Love Auntie Janet XXXXXXX."

The family were obviously trying to make Jill believe she was having a holiday, to try an reassure her on having to leave her mum and younger brother at home.


The influx of Evacuees on School Numbers


From the Cross Lanes School Log Book (Vol. 1 1920-1957).


In 1939 the Log Book records a total of 17 evacuees at Cross Lanes School. Miss Margaret Peirson was the Headteacher, and Miss E.M. Worley was the additional teacher for the evacuees. There were 23 local children a total of 40 pupils, age range 5-14 and of mixed ability.

In 1940 the Log Book records a total of 21 evacuees, Mrs Blackett was the Headteacher, and  there were two additional teachers for the evacuees, Miss H. Welch and Miss A.A. Clayden. There were 28 local children a total of 49 pupils, age range 5-14 and of mixed ability.

In 1941 the Log Book records a total of 19 evacuees, Mrs Blackett was the Headteacher, there were two additional teachers for the evacuees, Miss H. Welch and Miss A.A. Clayden. There were 28 local children a total of 47 pupils, age range 5-14 and of mixed ability.

In 1942 the Log Book records a total of only 7 evacuees, Mrs Blackett was the Headteacher, there were two additional teachers, Miss Doreen Sanderson and Miss Ada Wilson. There were 26 local children a total of 33 pupils, age range 5-14 and of mixed ability.

All these additional children and staff must have been very challenging for pupils and staff. The old Primitive Methodist Chapel, (see photograph below) the chapel had closed in 1932, with the merger of the Wesleyan and Primitive Methodists, was used as a Youth Club for evacuees and local school children.

1943 School canteen opens providing hot meals at dinner time.

1944 Miss Dinah Widdas, later Mrs Knifton, appointed as Head teacher.

1946  The  School Milk Act provided free milk, third of a pint a day, in schools to all children under the age of 18.

Below is a photograph of Thoralby Primitive Methodist Chapel, courtesy of P & C Mason. During the 2nd World Wat the former Chapel was used as a Youth Club.

© Thoralby Through Time

Scholars reminiscences of Cross Lanes School

Memories: Heather Percival (1938-2007); née Atkinson. Attended Cross Lanes School: 1943-1949, lived at Gayle-Ing and walked to school each day, however, when she left Cross Lanes to start at Yorebridge she lodged with her grand-parents at High Green Farm, Thoralby during the week. 


Milk was delivered in ½ pint bottles from Frank Snaith, Holmeside Farm, Thoralby. The Cooks were Mattie Furnish, Thoralby; Doreen Bell, Newbiggin; Miss Hammond, Newbiggin (relief cook and attendant). Rev. John Benson came Tuesday mornings from Aysgarth to give R.I. (Religious Instruction).


Doreen Bells father, Steve had the shop in Newbiggin where we used to go for sweets for the class. The School gardens were on the verge of the Bishopdale Road, between road and school. On the piece of land opposite the school we did maypole dancing (see 1960s photograph).


Bill Douglas from the George and Dragon, Aysgarth did the school taxi, for the Aysgarth children. The Mudd children (Sheila and Agnes) from Blind Syke, also had a long walk to school each day, and Heather would call for them on her journey across the fields from Gayle-Ing. In good weather they wood walk across the top of the mill dam, using it as a short cut on her long walk to school from Gayle Ing Farm to Cross Lanes School (see photograph of dam below). It is not surprising they were often 'told off' by the teacher for being late, or for having muddy shoes. Their teacher probably had little idea how far they had walked (1½ miles), nor the nature of their journey, across rough and steep terrain.  Heather attended Cross Lanes from 1943-1949.

Heather Ann Atkinson married local lad James (Jim) Ashton Percival in 1963, they both attended Cross Lanes School, Jim lived at Forelands and he can also  be see in the 1936 and 1939 school photographs above. 

Heather was an invaluable supporter, encourager and provider of information and images that I have used throughout the website. I owe her an enormous amount of gratitude. Sadly she did not live to see it all go online.


Below is a photograph of the mill dam, known locally as Dam Stakes, which Heather, Sheila and Agnes crossed on their journey to school. The photograph is taken when Bishopdale Beck was in flood. The dam sadly no longer exists as it was destroyed by the storms of 1994.

Heather Ann Percival (1938-2007),

courtesy of J. & J. Musgrave.

James Ashton Percival (1930-1980)

courtesy of J. & J. Musgrave.

© Thoralby Through Time

Below is a map showing the expanse of Cross Lanes School catchment area:

The above map shows the vast distance children walked to and from school each day. From Gayle Ing and Blind Syke, to the west of Thoralby and Riddings and Spickles in the east and Forelands in Burton-cum-Walden township.

The School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965transcribed below shows that in 1943, the school canteen was opened serving hot meals at dinner time. 

Visit of Mattie (Martha) Furnish with Glenys Marriott  to Thoral Cottage on  6th December 2000 – Home of Ann Hartley and transcribed by her.


"Mattie's mother, Mary Furnish was the first cook for the school.  She had been the caretaker before this and was paid £24 per year.  Mattie helped her mother in the canteen and was paid 6s and 4pence halfpenny for this. She also cleaned every morning and did the washing for the headteacher, then Mrs Knifton (Dinah) and cooked lunch for her.  For this she was paid 10s a week and thought this was a lot of money. Dinah's mother, Mrs [Fanny] Widdas, died in the west downstairs room.  The room was being used as a bedroom and Mrs Widdas was staying here.  Mattie found her dead one morning! 

Mattie used to do the garden as well as clean the house.  There were edging tiles around the concrete in the south garden which had the semi-circular beds cut out of it. Mrs Knifton left the school in December 1958."



Below a less formal school photograph, c.1953 with Headteacher Mrs. Dinah Knifton, courtesy of DCM, Hawes.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:- 

Ruth Spensley, Agnes Mudd, Eileen Mitchell, Hilton Raine,Derek Heseltine,


Robert Webster, Dinah Knifton, head teacher and ?, ?, ?

Middle Row:- 

Cynthia Yong, Alan Tunstall, Mary Tunstall and David Percival


Front Row:-

Michael John Heseltine, Hilary Shaw, Judith Heseltine,


Elizabeth Kilburn, Jean Hartley, John Young and Michael Jeffles

Below is Newspaper clipping from The Darlington & Stockton Times, courtesy of Linda Cooper (née Atkinson), c. 1953. Cross Lanes School annual trip to Morecambe, funded by the people of Thoralby, Newbiggin and Aysgarth, when the children went carol singing.

© Thoralby Through Time

Below is a school photograph, Mrs. Dinah Knifton, head teacher,courtesy of DCM, November 1954.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:- 

?, Cynthia Young, Alan Tunstall, Eileen Mitchell, Hilton Raine,


Brian McGregor, Robert Webster and Dinah Knifton, head teacher

Middle Row:- 

John Young, Mary Tunstall, Barry Smailes, Michael John Heseltine, David Percival, Michael Jeffles, Hilary Shaw,

Jean Hartley, Elizabeth Kilburn, Judith Heseltine, Hazel Tunstall and Christine McGregor

Front Row:-

Elizabeth Routh, Dorothy Percival, Janet Shepherd, Sally Hartley,  Maureen Jeffles,


Linda Atkinson, Kenneth Bell and David Raine

Below is a newspaper cutting from The Darlington & Stockton Times, courtesy of Liz Martin (née Scarr), c.1957

© Thoralby Through Time

The same photograph, below, Mrs. Dinah Knifton, head teacher,and pupils, c.1957, courtesy of Liz Scott, née Kilburn.

© Thoralby Through Time

The Newspaper compares the 78 scholars of 1899 (actually, 1886), with the school roll of today of 28, 23 are pictured above they are:


Back Row:-


Mrs. McCubbins (teacher), Hilary Shaw, Brian McGregor, Robert Webster, Eileen Mitchell,

Cynthia Young, Judith Heseltine and Mrs. Dinah Knifton (Head teacher)


Middle Row:-

Elizabeth Kilburn, John Young, Kenneth Bell, Kenneth Jeffles, Barry Smailes, Elizabeth Routh,

Hazel Tunstall, Mary Tunstall and Michael John Heseltine


Front Row:-


Christine McGregor, Dorothy Percival, Maureen Jeffles, Janet Shepherd, David Raine, Linda Atkinson,

Sally Hartley and Michael Webster.


Below is a newspaper cutting from The Darlington & Stockton Times, courtesy of Liz Martin (née Scarr), 1958, on the occasion  of the much loved and well respected Headmistress, Dinah Knifton's leaving the school.

© Thoralby Through Time

FAREWELL GIFTS. Mrs. D. Knifton, headmistress of Cross Lanes School, Aysgarth, has completed her duties there and is to leave the district. She received gifts from the school managers, present and former pupils and staff and a number of friends. In the large picture the senior girl, Carole Mudd, presents Mrs. Dinah Knifton with a barometer, a purse and a memo pad from the staff and pupils.

In the large photograph the pupils are:

Brian McGregor, Michael Webster, Carole Mudd, Linda Atkinson, John and Edith Heseltine, Beryl and Jean Andrew,

Brian and Mervin Mudd, David Raine, Christine McGregor, Dorothy Percival, Hazel Tunstall, Hilary Shaw, Barry Smailes,


John Young, Sally and Jean Hartley, Janet Shepherd, Judith Heseltine, Elizabeth Kilburn,

Jean and Sally Hartley and Kathryn Routh. Plus many unknown names.


A similar smaller picture of the presentation to Mrs. Dinah Knifton is shown below, courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1958.

© Thoralby Through Time

Above in the picture, Mrs Knifton (centre) receives a gold watch from the chairman of the managers, Mr. H. Hedley. It was subscribed for by the managers, former pupils and friends. In the group from the left are, Rev. John Benson, Mrs. A. Lancaster, [Trustee], Mrs. Hilda Hedley, [Trustee], Miss D. Bell, (school cook), Mrs. Dinah Knifton, headteacher, Miss. Mattie Furnish, Carole Mudd, [senior girl], Mr. Frank Snaith, [Trustee] and Miss E. Raine, assistant teacher. 

Mattie Furnish and my grandparents, Frank and Martha Snaith, remained lifelong friends with the Knifton's, despite them leaving the area, visiting each other on an annual/regular basis.

© Thoralby Through Time

Dinah Knifton (headteacher at Cross Lanes School), and her dog in the School house garden (now Thoral cottage), 1950's. Courtesy of Mattie Furnish.

© Thoralby Through Time

Dinah Knifton holding her cat, her dog is sat in the School house garden. The house behind to the right is Holmeside Farm, home of my grandparents, Frank and Martha Snaith, and to the left is Stanley cottage. Courtesy of Mattie Furnish.


Following Mrs Knifton's departure in December 1958, rather surprisingly it took almost three years to appoint a permanent Headteacher, with a succession of temporary teachers in post. This seems to have coincided with a fall in the number of children on roll, the number being 38 in 1959 and as low as 21 when a permanent replacement was appointed in 1961. Finding a new Headteacher was not the only problem the school had, a replacement caretaker also proved difficult, so much so, that if a caretaker could not be found the school risked the prospect of immediate closure.

Below is a newspaper: Darlington & Stockton Times, 6th March 1959, highlighting the difficulty in employing a school caretaker.

Transcript of above newspaper report:



Bishopdale school may close if

cleaning problem is unsolved


CROSS Lanes School in Bishopdale stands where the road from Thoralby to Newbiggin crosses the main road through the valley to Kettlewell. It has a history of a good 80 years; but it is bright and modern school for all that, with its fresh green paint, its new heating stoves, its roomy kitchen with refrigerator and electric cooker where Miss D. Bell, of Newbiggin, was cooking lunch for the 37 pupils, aged five to 15.

Miss Martha Furnish, during her three years as caretaker, has kept the school spotlessly clean; her mother kept it spotlessly clean for 17 years before that.

But now Miss Furnish, for personal reasons is giving up her post as caretaker; and the Vicar of Aysgarth and the school managers have been unable to find anyone in the area to take on the job.

On Wednesday night, the managers met parents and villagers to see if a temporary rota could be arranged until a caretaker was found.

One man offered to light the fires each day; but there were no volunteers for cleaning.

Facing closure 

And so the matter has now passed to the county authority; this could mean that when Miss Furnish (who has stayed on an extra fortnight) leaves in ten days’ time, the county, if  it cannot arrange for the school’s cleaning might have to close it and spread the pupils among other schools of the area.

The pupils are naturally not keen on that prospect.

After all, they have gone to school together for some time; and the school has had its successes – four of the present pupils have just passed the first part of the exam to enter Yorebridge Grammar School.

In their spare time recently pupils have been making soft toys and decorating egg cups, for a bring-and-buy sale after Easter, the aim being to buy a record-player for their school.

Nineteen of the pupils come each day in a small bus from Aysgarth, the Aysgarth school having been closed a few years ago. Eighteen pupils are from the Newbiggin and Thoralby areas. Soon the elder ones will be transferred in any case to the Leyburn Secondary Modern School when it is completed: but this will not greatly affect numbers, as several young children will be joining.

By tractor to school

Five children, from Gayling, begin their morning journey to Cross Lanes by tractor. [Carole, Sheila, Brian, Mervyn and Rita Mudd children].

The head teacher, Mrs. C.H. Faith, lives fairly handy for the school, at Thoralby. But her assistant Miss. E.O. Raine, who takes the smaller children has to travel from Nappa Scar. Miss. Raine’s father takes her to the bus at Worton, then she goes by bus to West Burton: and from there she has a 1¼ mile walk.

This illustrates the school’s chief difficulty in finding a new caretaker: transport. There are not as many people living in Thoralby and Newbiggin as there were in the past. (In the early 1900’s, the school had 78 pupils and in 1907, seven people applied for the post of caretaker).

Someone from outside who took the job, which is only two hours daily, would probably have to spend just as long getting there and back.

The vicar of Aysgarth (the Rev. John Benson) has in fact had eight applications for the post from outside the dale, one from as far as Newcastle.


But there is no suitable house to offer: and a man coming into the dale would need another job beside the part-time one at the school.

What the school needs is a local caretaker; if one of the eight applicants could find a job with a house locally the problem might be solved. Or perhaps a local caretaker will yet come forward."

Darlington & Stockton Times, 6th March 1959

1959: July – From the School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965transcribed below shows that the position of caretaker was taken by Mr Downey.


Following Mrs Kniton's, departure, it took the school Manager's three years to appoint her successor, Mrs. Mary Y. Foster of Worton, became headteacher in 1961, having a daughter of her own who attended the school. During this time the numbers on roll and dropped from 35 to 19, meaning it was once again a 'one teacher school'.


The school photograph below is, when Mrs. Mary Y. Foster, head teacher, courtesy Mary Atkinson, c. 1961.

© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row L – R

Ken Bell, Christine McGregor, Beryl Andrew, Hazel Tunstall, Elizabeth Kilburn, Sally Hartley, Elizabeth Routh,


Hazel Mudd and John Heseltine.

Middle Row L –R

Linda Atkinson, Ronnie Hartley, Brian Mudd, Stephen Coltman, Michael Webster, Elizabeth Scarr,


Linda Heseltine, Kathleen Nottingham and Janet Shepherd

Front Row L – R

Rita Mudd, Mervyn Mudd, Mary Nottingham, Kathryn Routh, Edith Heseltine, David Spence,

Stephen Porter, Kathryn Harker, Jean Andrew and Hazel Hartley

The school photograph below is of May pole dancing, courtesy of DCM, Hawes. The date is now known, to be 1964, because of the additional photograph underneath, where many children are wearing the same clothing as in this one. See the school photograph of 1964, further, down to help with identification.

© Thoralby Through Time

The girls Maypole dancing on the grass verge apposite the school are:

Rita Mudd, Mary Heseltine and Jean Andrew.

Susan Pounder, Linda Cockburn and Josephine Foster.

Mary Nottingham, Edith Heseltine and Kathryn Routh.

A similar photograph below, dated 1964, courtesy of Wendy Atkinson (née Pounder).














The children Maypole dancing on the grass verge apposite the school are  L - R:

Karen Teasdale, ?,  Josephine Foster.

Susan Pounder, Mrs. Teasdale and Mary Nottingham.


Linda Cockburn and Mary Heseltine, (sat in chair ?).

Front: Andrew Sayer and Wendy Pounder.



Below is a school photograph, in 1964, Mrs. Marie Teasdale, assistant teacher, who lived at Prospect House, Thoralby.

Pupil numbers having risen sufficiently, Mrs Teasdale was appointed in February 1964, she also had two daughters who attended the school.


However the building of a new primary school at Bainbridge by Easter 1964, meant the eventual closure of Cross Lanes School (see the School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965 below).

Photograph courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes.

© Thoralby Through Time

© Thoralby Through Time


Back Row:-

Mary Nottingham, Jean Andrews, Kathryn Routh, Rita Mudd, Susan Pounder and Martin Bethell.

Front Row:-

Billy Bell, Andrew Sayer, Josephine Foster, Susan and Karen Teasdale, Stephen Crawford and Mary Heseltine.

The same photograph below, in colour is courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, 1964.

© Thoralby Through Time


Back Row:-

Mary Nottingham, Jean Andrews, Kathryn Routh, Rita Mudd, Susan Pounder and Martin Bethell.

Front Row:-

Billy Bell, Andrew Sayer, Josephine Foster, Susan and Karen Teasdale, Stephen Crawford and Mary Heseltine

The school playground photograph below is courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, 1964.

© Thoralby Through Time

Pupils, Mary Nottingham of Aysgarth, Katherine Routh


and Jean Andrews


in the playground at Cross Lanes.

The school trip photograph to Flamingo Park, below is courtesy of Dales Countryside Museum, 1964.

© Thoralby Through Time

The Last ever School trip to Flamingo park in the photograph are:


Rita Mudd (Thoralby),


José Foster, (Worton) and headteacher, Mrs. Mary Y. Foster (1964).

Below is the photograph of a presentation to Mrs. Mary Y. Foster leaving the school, on its closure, Mrs. Foster transferred to Bainbridge School,  whereas Mrs. Marie Teasdale transferred to West Burton and was one of my teachers there. The majority of the local children transferred to the newly built school at Bainbridge, because my Great Aunt Margaret lived at West Burton, I commenced school there, as there was 'family' close by should an emergency occur!

© Thoralby Through Time

L-R  Rev. John Benson, Mrs Mary Y. Foster, Headteacher, Herbert Robinson, Alice Hammond, cook,


Ada Lancaster (Trustee), Isobel Pounder, cook, and assistant teacher  Mrs. Marie Teasdale.

Courtesy of Mattie Furnish.

Finally, a newspaper clipping of the school's closure in 1964, the final fifteen pupils of Cross Lanes School, Newbiggin, after serving the community for 222 years, courtesy of Linda Cooper.

© Thoralby Through Time

"Gathered on the roadside near the isolated little school they will attend no more are the children of Crosslanes School in Bishopdale, closed down with the end of the summer term. The children are being transferred to the new primary school at Bainbridge." - Darlington & Stockton Times, August, 1964


Back Row: - 

Mary Nottingham, Rita Mudd, Jean Andrew, Kathryn Routh, Edith Heseltine, Mervyn Mudd,

Martin Bethell and  Susan Pounder.

Front Row: - 

Andrew Sayer, Stephen Crawford, Susan and Karen Teasdale, Angela Alderson, Linda Cockburn and Mary Heseltine.

“It was a sad day when the school closed. I was only 7 but it was my whole life then. My Mum took me with her when she first started there, I was only 3, in fact Mum was only 29 when she became headmistress. She transferred to Bainbridge school, however we moved back to Castleford soon after that, as that is where we were from.” – Josie Foster, daughter of the Headteacher, Mrs Mary Y. Foster and pupil at the school.

At the foot of the page there is a table showing a list of the head teachers and assistant teachers who worked at Cross Lanes School.


There are also buttons to click for further information including the 1902 Return of the school, which lists when and how the school was founded and present Managers and the HMI Report for 1902 and Timetables for 1902 and 1951 are also available.

Notable events at Cross Lanes School - From the School Manager’s Minute Book 1903-1965

Below is a synopsis of the School Manager’s minute book 1903-1965, courtesy of Northallerton County Record Office:

  • 1903 - Oct - Strengthening of the staff, to appoint an assistant teacher, on a salary of £50, Miss Mary Eleanor Mason appointed.

  • 1903 - Oct - Assistant teacher Annie Rider has given 3 months’ notice, decision made to appoint an additional assistant teacher. Next Friday Leyburn Fair and  24, 25 ,26 November Thoralby Feast, to be holidays.

  • 1903 - Dec – A paper of instructions for the caretaker was adopted. It was decided that 30/- should be asked for cleaning the offices each year.

  • 1904 – Feb – Mr Hill accused of striking a girl on the wrist, Mr Hill denied the attack calling the girl a liar. After hearing both conflicting parties, Mr Hill was asked to apologise for calling the girl a liar, no further action was taken.

  • 1904 - Mar - Assistant teacher Harriet Heseltine, Newbiggin appointed.

  • 1904 - Sept - Resignation of Harriet Heseltine accepted.

  • 1904 -  Sept - Chairman: Rev. Fenwick William Stow’s, death, George Gould temporary chair until new vicar appointed.

  • 1904 - Sept - Proposed that 2 new ventilators be placed in the roof, and a new stove be asked for and an estimate for new fire guards for school and classroom by Mr. M. Willis & Sons be accepted.

  • 1905 – Mar – Thos. Heseltine to give an estimate for the colouring of the walls and washing of the ceiling and other repairs to the interior of the school.

  • 1905 - May - Rev. D.H. Moore, new vicar of Aysgarth and chairman.

  • 1905 - Sept - Write to the C.C. and ask if they will supply two  buckets, for the latrines, the old ones being worn out.

  • 1905 – Sept – The matter of instructing the children in gardening was discussed.

  • 1905 – Sept – Mr Hill, the headmaster had asked for an increase in salary of £5 per annum was agreed, as the master had extra work with the dispensing of one teacher.

  • 1906 – Jan – Education Committee declined an advance in the head teacher’s salary.

  • 1906 – Jan – An application by Mrs Sarginson, the Caretaker, of 6d. per week was discussed, and granted.

  • 1906 – Mar – The Report of H.M. Inspectorate, was considered vert satisfactory. An advance in the salary of M.E. Mason was favourably considered and forward to Northallerton.

  • 1906 – Mar – Proposed that Mr. T. Heseltine is asked to clean and disinfect the school, assisted by the caretaker.

  • 1906 – Aug – Annie Thwaite is to be employed, as an assistant teacher.

  • 1907 – Jan – An increase in the salary of Mr. Hill was approved and forwarded to Northallerton.

  • 1907 – Jan – Mrs E. Metcalfe was elected Caretaker.

  • 1908 – Feb – Write to the attendance officer (Mr Blades) as to why Annie Hemsley had attended school so badly in the last nine months. Ask for fire guard for small class room and grate to be repaired – Stove in classroom wants and iron girth and repaired, all work can be done by local men. A new cupboard be asked for to keep books, needlework etc. in.

  • 1909 – Apr – A new stove and a new chair for the school mistress were applied for.

  • 1909 – Sep – The Education Committee, believe the replacement of the stove is the Foundation Managers responsibility, they think otherwise. Mr Purchas resigns as School Foundation Manager, replacement sort.

  • 1909 – Nov – Owing to an outbreak of measles the school was closed from Nov 8th – Nov 29th.  Rev. D.H. Moore was accepted as chairman.

  • 1909 – Ventilation of roof be deferred, application by Mr. Hill for increase in salary, be forwarded to Education Committee for consideration. That Septimus Webster of Heaning Hall be recommended as County Council Manager.

  • 1910 – Aug – Mr John Sayer be appointed Foundation Manager in place of Mr Purchas, resigned. Appoint Mr Webster as Manager and also Mr J. Heseltine as Manager.

  • 1910 - Application by Mr. Hill for increase in salary at this moment refused. That the decoration of the school be deferred.

  • 1911 – Mar – That a ventilator be placed in the roof of the classroom, similar to that in the large classroom.

  • 1911 -  Mar 9th – School closed for Whopping Cough. Re-opened Mar 20th, 1911. Death of 2 children: Father, William Thomas Bell, of Thoralby – [Children: Joseph Moore Bell age 9 and sister, Mary Ellen Bell age 2. Letter of condolence to be sent to the family.

  • 1911 - Account for ventilator and decoration of outside of building to be paid from the managers’ fund. Letter from Mr Hill asking the school managers to support his application to the Education Committee for an increase in his salary.  

  • 1911 – New prayer and hymn books bought.

  • 1911 - Widening of road near school.

  • 1912 – Jul – Resignation of Mr James Hill, accepted.

  • 1912 – Jul – That the highly commendatory account in yesterday’s Yorkshire Post of the school’s exhibit at the Royal Show, Doncaster be cut out and pasted in the Log Book.

Below is a copy of the Newspaper Article in the Yorkshire Post, July 3 1920, page 9.

  • 1912 - Jul – The Education Committee The Education Committee state that a school the size of Cross Lanes, must have a mistress be appointed, in succession to Mr Hill, however the Managers feel that a head mistress would not be suitable, and that if a mistress was  unsuccessful in the matters of discipline then they would revert the custom and replace the mistress with a master.

  • 1911 – Miss Walker appointed as Headmistress.

  • 1912 – Oct – Resignation of Mrs Hammond, formerly Miss Mason.

  • 1913 – Feb – Rev. W.K. Wyley, elected new chairman.

  • 1913 – Appointment of Foundation Managers: John William Lodge [The Rookery, Bishopdale], Mr George Gould, [Thoralby] and John Sayer [Newbiggin].

  • 1913 – Diocesan Religious Inspection: 5 Classes – ‘excellent’, 2 ‘good’ and 3 ‘fair'. Ask Education Committee to appoint a properly qualified assistant teacher, at an adequate salary, to replace the loss of Mrs Hammond. Miss Thwaite, a local girl, to be appointed on best salary obtainable and that appointment of Mr Ralph Hemsley’s daughter as a Pupil Teacher be persevered with.

  • 1913 – Oct - New school furniture to be ordered, that the gallery in the classroom be removed, the floor made level and that the front porch be spouted on both sides, and a rail be fixed onto which to hang drawings. That the universal closets be repaired.

  • 1913 - Nov – Chairman of Thoralby and Newbiggin Parish meeting be approached to try and form a cookery class.

  • 1914 – Dec -  That 25/- be paid towards cost of post and wire to school field. The school room be granted for Rifle range, subject to oversight of Mr John Sayer [This continued throughout WW1, and a silver cigarette case awarded to Vic Sadler, see WW1 - Biographies Q-Z and memorabilia]. Photograph of Silver cigarette case below. Vic was a former pupil of the school.

'"V.A. Sadler, Presented from

Cross Lanes Rifle Club


Silver cigarette case

(courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler)

  • 1915 – Sep – Miss Walker had sent Michael Heseltine home for answering back, the Managers supported her decision and demanded an apology for impertinence.

  • 1915 – Nov – The caretaker had complained about having to light 3 fires, 3 should only be lit when necessary.  A letter had been received from Mr. J.L. Haw [Thoralby] re the punishment of his son. The Managers having heard from Miss Walker, decided the punishment had not been irregular or excessive.

  • 1919 - Jan – Premises recommended to be renovated. A Manager be appointed in place of Mr. S. Webster, having resigned. An application be made or an increase in the salary of the caretaker, also a new stove be asked for, also new cheeks for the playground doorway.

  • 1919 – Jul - William Dinsdale (Thoralby) – [My great grandfather] be appointed Foundation Manager.

  • 1920 – Jan – A letter of condolences be written to the parents of the late Miss C.M. Walker, who has been Head Teacher at the school for over 6 years. An advertisement for Head Mistress be inserted in Darlington & Stockton Times & Yorkshire Post.

  • 1920 – Jul - A new door for the playground and boy’s lavatory be kept locked. The children to enter and to leave by the front porch door.

  • 1921 – Sep – That all outside woodwork, spouts, ventilators and windows be given 2 coats of paint, also door leading into boys W.C. be repaired or a new one at discretion of joiner. Miss Nellie Shannon appointed, supplementary teacher.

  • 1921 – Jun – That the Education Committee be asked to be colour school premises and if they refuse, to ask that it be washed down. Write to caretaker and ask for an improvement in cleaning or must advertise for another. Glazing to be paid for by Managers.

  • 1922 - Dec – Miss Margaret K. [earton] Dinsdale [My Great Aunt], recommended as supplementary teacher. That fire guard in playground be repaired for open fire place in large room. Photograph of Miss Dinsdale below, a former pupil at the school.

My Great Aunt: 

Margaret Kearton Dinsdale (1903-1998)

Supplementary teacher at

Cross Lanes School 1922-1923.

(courtesy of Margaret Kearton Dinsdale)

  • 1924 – Oct – Report of H.M. Inspector, decided that work should be done according to the report. Repairs: 1st spouting to be repaired, 2nd slates om Classroom, Porch and coal house, 3rd length of fall pipe adjoining road, 4th Front step into boys lavatory, 5th lock on playground and boys closet door, 6th front porch door repaired, 7th two window panes and coal house door repaired, 8th playground wall repaired.

  • 1925 – Jun – That school premises be coloured and painted inside, also that Mr M. Hammond be asked to repair playground wall damaged by wood wagons.  

  • 1926 – Mar – That a similar heating apparatus be asked for to the one at West Burton, for heating large room as it would be more cleanly and comfortable, also a small clock be asked for.

  • 1929 – May – Proposed that the school premises be decorated and painted inside, also ask for a new stove. To write to Mr Thomas Sayer with a request to purchase quarter of an acre of land for enlargement of playground.

  • 1929 – Sep – Steps and threshold into girls lavatories repaired, invitation asked to remove front porch door to north side, present doorway to be walled up and window fixed. Boys closets to be concreted.   

  • 1930 – Dec – Request made for a store in large room. Inspector reported of insufficiency of present heating. Ceiling in classroom to be repaired and water be stopped from coming in as S.W. corner and over fireplace. An estimate be presented at the next meeting for frames of galvanised steel for six large windows adjoining road.

  • 1931 – Jan – Tender for protecting six large windows was considered and deferred, tenders for alterations to front were considered and decide work should be done as arranged Messrs Willis woodwork £2-10-0, Heseltine mason work £4-0-0. The chairman offering to bear the cost of the mason work, for which he was thanked. Tenders considered for school cleaners, Dorothy Heseltine appointed on a salary of about £20 per year, and also sanitary work at 30/- per year.

  • 1933 – May – Rev. J.H. McCubbin, new chairman. Support for request by Mrs John Sayer that her daughter Priscilla, be allowed to leave school at end of summer, rather than end of September. Write to surveyor requesting that road material be removed from end of school as it was stopping up ventilators and a source of danger to windows.

  • 1933 – Aug – Price be submitted for roofing coalhouse and W.C.s with good zinc corrugated sheeting and repairing school and classroom with slates removed.  

  • 1933 – Sep – Arrange with Mr G. Willis for repairs to wood work and outside painting. Water closets to be installed in place of earth pans. Coal house and closets be covered with zinc sheeting and repairs be done to school room and class room roofs.

  • 1934 – Feb – Mr J. Heseltine’s acc. for mason work was considered and passed, also Mr. G. Willis for outside painting. Mr Thomas Heseltine be allowed £1 towards cost of fencing school field (posts and bars).

  • 1934 – Oct – Mr John Sayer, Newbiggin first attendance as manager. Mrs Hoare’s resignation reluctantly accepted, a letter of appreciation for her services for over fourteen years, be sent to her and hope that her health may be restored and a happy future. Education Committee be informed of her resignation and particulars for appointing a successor.

  • 1934 – Nov - With the absence of the vicar Mr William Dinsdale voted to the chair. Of the (9) applicants for Head Teacher, 3 invited for interview, remainder thanked.

  • 1934 – Dec – Mrs Beighton appointed as the new Head Teacher. Education Committee be asked to provide a clock for the school.

  • 1936 – Nov – Vote of sympathy passed to Mrs John Sayer, Aysgarth. Mr William Metcalfe elected in the place of the late, John Sayer as manager. To write to Mr. Barraclough to help install electric light.

  • 1937 – Aug – Letter be sent to Mrs Beighton, thanking her for her services as school mistress. Miss Peirsons application to be accepted as head.

  • 1937 – Nov – Proposed that half of playground complained by the building Inspector be taken up and relayed, as soon as possible and other part repaired. To find the cost of water closets, instead of earth closets and to see if the Education Committee would help in the cost. That 10/- a year be given to Mrs McCubbins for the Diocesan Application Fee.  Request for Education Committee to supply piano. Welcome given to Mr J.A. Heseltine on his first attendance.

  • 1938 – Dec – Write to Education Committee with regard to what insurance and liability the managers had. Cost of water closets to be submitted to Sanitary Authority. Resignation of Dorothy Heseltine [cleaner] accepted, advertise for a successor.

  • 1938 - Dec – Several applications were received for school cleaner, but a decision o whom to appoint could not be decided, so it was deferred until next meeting. John Heseltine fix water closets to replace earth closets for the sum of £13.15.0. Aysgarth Rural District Council to pay half.

  • 1939 – Jan – Mrs John (Priscilla) Sayer was appointed school cleaner.

  • 1939 – Oct – It was discussed about darkening the school windows (“WW2 - Blackout regulations required that all windows and doors should be covered at night with suitable material such as heavy curtains, cardboard or paint, to prevent the escape of any glimmer of light that might aid enemy aircraft”.) It was proposed that 50/- be spent on the job. Miss Peirson appointed as Head Teacher and Miss Appleton assistant.

  • 1940 – Oct – Mrs Hedley in attendance for the first time. The lighting of the school fires to be done by half past seven for the present. It was decided that three protection curtains be made for the doorways, only one was made which was really useful. The wood from the harmonium be re-used.

  • 1941 – Jan – Write to Stockton on Tees about a fireplace. Mrs Sayer (cleaner) be given a months notice. Proposed a larger basin be put in the girls lavatory.

  • 1943 – Oct – Education Committee proposed the installation of a solid fuel range and new sink and drains in the small classroom for the provision of cooked dinners for the children. If the Managers were unable to bear the cost of the alterations, the Education Committee would be prepared to carry out the work. The offer of the Education Committee was accepted on condition the drain meet, the drain from the lavatories in the neighbouring field, rather than into the sceptic tank in the playground.

  • 1944 – Jun - Miss Dinah Widdas (Mrs Knifton) appointed head teacher, following the resignation of Mrs Blackett.