Cross Lanes School, 1742-1964

[This section is under construction]


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


The google satellite and map below show its convenient location for the villages of Thoralby and Newbiggin, and the O.S. map of 1856, shows the crossing of the lanes and the size of the original school building.







"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.

Google satellite and map location of Cross Lanes School 2021 + O.S. 1856.
© Google 2021
Cross Lanes School, Newbiggin 1955
© 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 Johanna G. Sharp, additional teachers, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler. 

Cross Lanes School, pupils and staff c.1896
© 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).

1903 - Oct - Next Friday Leyburn Fair and 24, 25 ,26 November Thoralby Feast, to be holidays.

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."

1905 – Managers to write to the County Council and ask if they will supply two buckets, for the latrines, the old ones being worn out. From the School Manager’s minute book (1903-1965). It is easy to forget how fortunate we are with modern plumbing today!

1906 – The Report of H.M. Inspectorate, was considered very satisfactory.

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."

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

School Photographer 1896, G. Maychell, West Witton

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
© Thoralby Through Time
© Thoralby Through Time
© Thoralby Through Time
Mrs Mason and Cross Lanes pupils, 1908-9
© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:-

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

Row 2:-

Teacher: Miss 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.


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."

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

Mrs Mason and Cross Lanes pupils, 1909
© Thoralby Through Time

Teacher: Miss 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.

An interview with my grandparents was recorded by local historian Maggie Bede at my grandparents’ bungalow on 14 May 1990. I have summarised the parts of the interview relevant to grandma’s childhood and school days for this section of the website. The whole recorded interview is available at the Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes.

School – Cross Lanes – Children attending school contemporary with my grandma, when she was aged 5-12 (1910-1917):

 Will, Annie, and Alice Sadler (Town Head Cottage)


Bessie Dinsdale, Nellie, Alice  and Lizzy Routh (Old Hall)


James William, Leonard Horner, Robert and Hannah Bell (Town Head Farm)


James, Jonnie Hannah & Rob (Hillside Cottage)


Ginny Fawcett, lived with 2 aunts (Town head - Mays)


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


May, Lizzie, Tom, Jim and Dick Haw (Volunteer)  


John Dinsdale (High Green Farm)


Clara Dinsdale (Low Green House)


Ida Furnish (Spickles Farm)


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

Teachers: Mr [James] Hill, Mrs Hammond, infant teachers Miss Walker & Miss Shannon; 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, Cottage): - next door to the main farm house): Aunt Lizzie Beckwith 


(Rose Cottage): - John Willis, Blacksmith.


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


(Wayside): - 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. - Webster's): - Grocer


Sweets: (Prospect House): 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) 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 [see 1939 ID Register, Thoralby].

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.

John, Mary  & Frank at Holmeside
© Thoralby Through Time

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

Courtesy of F. & M.E. Snaith

Snaith Family, Holmeside 1950's
© 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 the newspaper excerpt below.

© Thoralby Through Time

1912 - 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.


Trade Directory entries:


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

1913Diocesan Religious Inspection: 5 Classes – ‘excellent’, 2 ‘good’ and 3 ‘fair'.

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."

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).

War Memorial Plaque 1914-1918

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.

1896c. - Cross Lanes School
© 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.

St Head Inn, Newbiggin
© 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."

© Thoralby Through Time

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

Stanley House, Thoralby c.1910
© Thoralby Through Time

Above is a photograph of Stanley House, located on the village green, Thoralby and where Mrs Jane Ellen Hoare, lodged with Mrs Mary Ann Fairey, during her time as head teacher at Cross Lanes (1919-1934), fifteen years.

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. This meant that the closure of Cross Lanes School had already been considered by County Hall.


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. Edith Beighton, head teacher, courtesy of G.V. & A. Sadler, 1936.

Cross Lanes pupils, 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). The villages of Thoralby and Newbiggin had electric light as early as 1922, provided by Thoralby Mill.

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

Cross Lanes pupils, 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 Edith 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.

Cross Lanes pupils, 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 teacher's house, then known as School house (now Thoral Cottage), courtesy of Mattie Furnish, 1940's. 

Cross Lanes School Christmas Pantomime, 'Dick Whittington', 1940s
© 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.

Cross Lanes School Christmas Pantomime, 'Dick Whittington', 1940s
© 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.

Cross Lanes pupils, 1940
© Thoralby Through Time

Back Row:-

Irene Philips (Evacuee from Gateshead); 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. Home of Walter and Mary Sayer [my great uncle and aunt], dairy farmers and observer corps.

The Grange, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old Malcolm Marks. Home of Rowland and Elizabeth Fawcett, dairy farmers.

Heaning Hall Farm, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old Norman Albrow. Home of Kit and Edith Heseltine, dairy farmers.

Thoral Cottage, Thoralby: from Sunderland, 13-year-old, Henry E. Poulton. Home of Margaret Peirson, Headmistress of Cross Lanes School.

Prospect House, Thoralby: from Gateshead, 11-year-old Edward St. George. Home of Vic and Tilly Sadler, grocer’s assistant and observer corps.

East Lane House, Newbiggin: Brothers, from Gateshead, 12-year-old, Matthew Moody and his brother Thomas Moody aged 6. Home of Harry and Annie Cockerill, dairy farmers.

Newbiggin House, Newbiggin: from Gateshead, 11-year-old Irene Phillips. Home of John and Hilda Hedley, retired tea planter and billeting officer.

In addition to the above there was a child billeted with Maud and Alfred Lambert at the Grove, dairy farmers and observer corps.