THORNE, a market town in the Doncaster parliamentary division of the West Riding of Yorkshire, Io m. N.E. of Doncaster by the North-Eastern railway, served also by a branch of the Great Central railway. Pop. (1901), 3818. It lies near the river Don, in a low, flat district, which was formerly a marshy waste, resembling the fens of the eastern counties. Hatfield Chase, a portion of this tract south of Thorne, was partly drained by the Dutch engineer Vermuyden in the 17th century, and there were in the district numerous Dutch settlers. The Chase is generally considered to have been the scene of the battle of Heathfield in 633, when King Edwin of Northumbria fell before the heathen King Penda of Mercia. The Levels, as this district is generally named, are of remarkable fertility, and Thorne, having water communication with Goole and the Humber, is consequently an agricultural centre of importance; while some barge-building and a trade in peat fibre are also carried on. The church of St Nicholas is a fine building of various periods from the 12th century.
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