Bishopthorpe is a village and civil parish three miles south of York in the City of York unitary authority and ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, England. It is close to the River Ouse, and has a population of 3,174. Before 1996 it was part of the Selby district. The area of Main Street and the Palace were made a conservation area in 1989 along with other open areas of the village.
It was formerly known as St Andrewthorpe, but in the 13th century, Archbishop Walter de Grey bought the manor house and gave it to the Dean and Chapter of York Minster. This became Bishopthorpe Palace, the residence of the Archbishop of York. Many of the roads in Bishopthorpe are named after past Archbishops.
The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book and referred to as Torp/Thorpe or Badetorps depending on which translation is used. It came to be known as Thorp-super-Usam or Thorpe-on-Ouse in 1194. By 1275 the Earliest written record of the name Bishopthorpe, spelt '"Biscupthorpe"' appears in documents. In 1202, Prior and monks of St. Andrews at Fishergate, built the first church here and dedicated it to their patron saint. The name Thorp-super-Usam therefore gradually superseded by Andrewthorpe or Thorpe St. Andrew. In 1226, Archbishop Walter de Gray bought property which once belonged to the Abbot of Kirkstall Abbey and the Priory of St. Andrews. By the year 1241, Archbishop Gray had built a Manor House and Chapel by the river. He conveyed this property to the Dean and Chapter of York thus ensuring that it remained with successive Archbishops and did not fall into the king’s hands during a vacancy.
In 1405, Archbishop Scrope was accused of being a traitor by Henry IV and was beheaded in a field near the nunnery of St Clements, now Clementhorpe. In 1763, Archbishop Drummond transformed the Palace by building the now familiar 'Strawberry Gothick' west front and gatehouse. Controversy surrounding the 1832 Reform Bill saw rioters from York attempt to invade Palace angered by initial lack of support from Archbishop Harcourt.
Bishopthorpe was the site, in 1323, of great council to agree a truce between Edward II and Robert the Bruce, whose forces had been harrying Yorkshire following the Battle of Bannockburn.
The 1757 Enclosure act saw Common land enclosed thus placing strictures on where local people could graze their animals and affected Bishopthorpe.
In 1763, a school was founded by local yeoman, Charles Crosby and supported by the parish. The twenty boys and girls were taught to read and write and "instructed in the principles of the Christian religion." In 1846, Archbishop Harcourt built a new village school. The former school, built in 1763 and situated in School Lane, was used as a girls' school and a house for the master, but was divided into three houses in the 1890s.
The main line of the North Eastern Railway was being constructed in 1871 and cut through the west end of the parish.
In 1895, Bishopthorpe Parish Council was formed.
The War Memorial was erected in 1921 to parish men who made the supreme sacrifice during the First World War.
The Almshouses were demolished in 1963 due to their deterioration and the need to widen the increasingly busy junction at Sim Balk Lane and Main Street.