Thorpe in the Glebe is probably the most extensive of Nottinghamshire's deserted medieval villages.  Its name is derived from the Danish word 'torp', which was a subsidiary settlement or farmstead dependent on a larger village;  though there is evidence that the area was populated much earlier with finds of flint tools and Roman pottery.

However, by the time the Domesday Book was compiled, Thorpe in the Glebe was waste,  probably a result of the activities of William the Conqueror's army in 1068 as they marched north to deal with the rebellion by Earl Morcar. From the entry in the Domesday Book it appears that the village was then known as Thorpe Regis or, more probably, King's Thorpe. There is no population recorded, so it appears that the area was deserted at this time and subsequently resettled.

William Rufus granted Thorpe in the Glebe (plus several other manors) to the Earl of Chester during the 1930s. He installed the knightly family of the Bochards (or Bozzarts - an alternative spelling) as tenants and the village became known as Thorpe Bochard (or Bochart), Thorpe Buzzard or Bochardisthorpe. The Bochard family held the manor through various re-arrangements of the manors of Thorpe and Wysall until the direct male line failed in the 13th century, when the state passed through Margaret Bochard to John Seagrave in Leicestershire. The Darleys, already resident at Wysall, became the tenants of the Seagraves at Thorpe and eventually bought out their interest about 1300. Tax records of this time show that Thorpe was a small and not very wealthy parish.

It is in the 14th century that Thorpe started to be called Thorpe in the Glebe or Thorpe in the Clottes rather than Thorpe in the Glebe. This may be due to the demise of the Bochard family but is unusual as other similar names have lasted much longer and have not depended on the continuance of one family alone. However, this is also the time the medieval warm period ended and England's climate became colder and wetter. This would have made it far more difficult to grow crops in the heavy clay soil of Thorpe in the Glebe. The word 'Glebe' in this instance is derived from the Latin word 'gleba' meaning clot of earth.

Then came the Black Death of 1349 and, while there are no exact figures of deaths in this area, the national average was about 40% of the population. There were further outbreaks of plague in the succeeding 30 years, which impeded population recovery until about 1470. This was important as villages required sufficient able-bodied males to carry out the agricultural routine, especially on heavy clay land, with the margin between sufficiency and insufficiency being far less in small villages than large ones.

To make matters worse, the then Lord of the Manor, John de Darley, died sometime between 1348 and 1352, possibly from the Black Death and the land was divided between Nicholas Darley (who appears to have inherited the manor house, which was possibly in the site of Church Site Farm) and John's daughter, Margaret, who married Robert Armstrong some time after her father's death. John's widow, Maud, who appears to have had a life interest in the manor though in 13788 Robert and Margaret were given possession of their half of the manor though it appears they were actually living at Wysall or Costock.

By 1442, their descendant, Hugh Armstrong had decided to convert the land to sheep rearing (few men are needed to look after a large flock of sheep). It was leased to William Repon of Willoughby on the Wolds for 20 years at a rent of 46s 8d per annum. The Armstrongs also gradually obtained the whole of Thorpe in the Glebe. In 1491, Gabriel Armstrong enclosed 90 customary acres (about 135 modern acres) and, while this action is often credited with the depopulation of the village, there is no evidence of any displacement of population being caused by it.

During Gabriel Armstrong's tenure Thorpe ceased to be rented out and the Armstrongs ran it as flockmasters themselves.

The village itself appears to have been abandoned by 1500 and was described as a ruin in 1534, though the church lasted some while longer. The church tower was still standing in 1810 but by 1844 only a heap of grass-covered ruins remained, upon which every new vicar read himself in at his induction. The last vicar to do this was Rev R.H.J. Hoskins in 1868.

Thorpe in the Glebe was a late settlement, on difficult soil and with a small population even by the standards of its immediate neighbours. The manorial structure of it was such that at only one point of its history did it have a dominant resident family and there was no one strong enough to steer it through the various changes of the late 14th and 15th centuries, so it failed and became depopulated and enclosed, leaving only the present day ruins in its place.