In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Thornton Cleveleys like this:-
"THORNTON, a chapelry and a township in Poulton-le-Fylde parish, Lancashire. The chapelry adjoins Fleetwood town and r. station, and has a post-office under Preston. Pop., 826. The living is a p. curacy in the diocese of Manchester. Value, £105.* Patrons, Trustees. The church was built in 1835. There are a Wesleyan chapel and a free school.-The township includes Fleetwood, and is noticed in our article on that town." In 1881 Thornton's total population was 7,589. In 1901 it was 3,108. By 1951 the population was 15,443.
(John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))
THORNTON, a township, in the parish of Poulton, union of the Fylde, hundred of Amounderness, N. division of Lancashire, 1¾ mile (N. by E.) from Poulton; containing, with the town of Fleetwood (which see), 3847 inhabitants.
In the Testa de Nevill is mentioned Matilda de Thorenton, who was at the king's donation, but unmarried. In the 17th of Edward II., half the town of Thornton was held by William Banastre, and the other moiety by Laurence de Thorneton, a descendant probably of the above-named Matilda; in the 13th of Henry VIII., Thomas, Earl of Derby, held the manor.
It is now considered merely a manor by reputation, of which Sir Peter Hesketh Fleetwood, Bart., is lord. Singleton-Thorpe, a village in this part, was entirely washed away by a sudden irruption of the sea in 1555. The township is bounded on the north by Morecambe bay, on the west by the Irish Sea, and on the east by the estuary of the Wyre; and comprises 4688 acres, equally divided between arable and pasture: the Marsh was inclosed in 1800, and is now celebrated for its corn. Burn Hall, here, is a dwelling of the 15th century, now used as a farmhouse.
From: 'Thornton - Thornton, West', A Topographical Dictionary of England (1848), pp. 337-341. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=51337. Date accessed: 31 March 2008.