I have analysed the population figures for Thockrington for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, at a parish and township level. I have also looked at the number of dwellings and how many were uninhabited, although I suspect that these empty dwellings may have been, erroneously, not enumerated in the 1861 and 1871 censuses, as no uninhabited properties were listed, which would have been unusual. Between 1801 and 1951, the population ranged from 111 (in 1911) to 203 (in 1831), with a significant drop between 1881 (195) and 1891 (127). I have not yet found an explanation for this. A number of sources, including the church website for St. Aiden’s Thockrington and an interpretation board in neighbouring Great Bavington, mention a cholera epidemic in 1847, which allegedly wiped out the population and led to many cottages being burned. Nothing in the burial or census records supports this.
It is important to remember that this was a sheep rearing area and some of the dwellings were shepherds’ huts, which may well have been occupied on a seasonal basis only; thus impacting on both the number of occupied dwellings and the population. The censuses for 1801, those from 1851-1911 inclusive, 1931 and 1951 were taken in the spring, during lambing season, when occupancy levels and the number of seasonal workers in the parish was likely to be higher. The 1811-1841 and the 1921 censuses were taken in late May or June, when fewer workers might be needed as the sheep would be out to pasture.
I have also looked in more detail at the 173 people who were in the parish in 1851.
58% of the population were under the age of thirty.
The Population of Thockrington in 1851 by Age and Gender
Although it is difficult to make many claims from such a small sample, this population pyramid suggests that the parish had fewer people in the economically active age group, 20-40, than might be expected. The fact that these young adults were leaving the area implies that it was struggling economically.