Autumn 2017 - WW1 Launch display


Village historians and local school children have joined forces for a new project to commemorate the men of their community who fell in the First World War.

The project between the Tilney All Saints History Group and the village’s primary school will culminate with an exhibition and memorial service next spring.

And organisers have appealed for anyone who can help with the work to get in touch.

Tilney All Saints War Memorial




Roll of Honour

Great War 1914-18 WWII 1939-1945
  • Herbert Baker BART
  • George BURROWS
  • Malcolm BROWNE
  • Russell Edwards FULLER
  • Gerald Harold Roland LEVERINGTON
  • Victor KELTON
  • William NEWTON
  • Norman REEVE
  • Ernest Edward CONSTABLE
  • Herbert GOTSELL
  • Harold ROBINSON
  • Frank Stanley ROBINSON
  • Ernest Leonard RUSH
  • William Ernest TURNER
  • Arthur WICKS
  • William WICKS




Apart from one extremely dubious tale in Charles Sampson’s ‘Ghosts of the Broads’, East Anglia can lay claim to only one traditional giant: namely TOM HICKATHRIFT, the giant of the Norfolk Marshland. Tom is mentioned many times in works on local folklore.

The Land of the Giant

The majority of the action in the tales takes place in the far western corner of Norfolk, in a rough triangle bordered by King’s Lynn, Wisbech and Downham Market, and more specifically in that area marked nowadays on the map as ‘Marshland Fen’. Upon the western edge of this region is ‘The Smeeth’, a name that once applied to the whole Marshland (and probably derives from an Old English word meaning ‘smooth’).

This was, in olden days, a fine pastureland about 2 miles or so across and of 1200 acres in extent. Over 30,000 sheep and cattle were grazed here by the  ‘Seven Towns of Marshland’ to whom the plain was common – namely Tilney, Terrington, Clenchwarton, Walpole, West Walton, Walsoken and Emneth. In 1923 the area was made into the new parish of Marshland St. James, and the Smeeth is now a straggling collection of both private and council houses, with a school, pub and small church, all strung out along Smeeth Road.

Somewhere in this region of the Marshland, say the legends, was born Tom Hickathrift, “in the reign before William the Conqueror”, the son of a poor labourer also called Thomas Hickathrift. His father died not long after Tom was born, and his poor old mother was forced to work day and night to support him, since he was very lazy, and ate a huge amount, “for he was in height”, says one story, “when he was but ten years of age, about eight feet, and in thickness five feet, and his hand was like unto a shoulder of mutton; and in all parts from top to toe, he was like unto a monster, and yet his great strength was not known”...............for more information visit West Walton & TSL schools project.

With your interest in the history of Tilney All Saints you will no doubt be aware that Tilney is not mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

It means that in our research of ancient history of the village, we do not have a survey of that time. Where villages have this profile they can compare today with 930 years ago.

When we started the History Group in 2006, someone pointed out that TODAY IS TOMORROW’S HISTORY, and this is why we would like to present the idea of completing a survey by the year 2020. This would give us three years to collect the data and publish the final book. BUT for this project we need to know:

1. Whether enough current residents would be willing to participate in the survey.

2. Whether there are people with the skills and readiness to help us form a TAS Domesday Book Working Party.

Our History Group membership at present is quite small, and with two special interest groups already formed and busy, we do need to expand to achieve this further goal.

We think the TAS Domesday Book 2020 a very worthwhile project for several reasons.

1. To interest and involve more residents in researching TAS history.  It is an opportunity for every household to take part. No one in any part of TAS needs to be left out.

2. To fill in gaps in our knowledge of properties, farms & fields in our ancient parish.

3. To attract younger people.

4. To involve the school.

5. To link up new knowledge with the ten years of research the History Group has recorded, for instance:

a. stories from the past.

b. studies of several properties.

c. family histories where members have helped those researching.

d. archaeology results (Archaeology Interest Group or DIGS)

e. transcriptions (Transcribers’ Interest Group or TIGS)

6. To preserve a record of Tilney All Saints at a point in time for the future.

7. To discover more old photos of TAS – both places and residents.

We placed an article in the local paper to encourage interest (see attached) and would very much like to hear from as many TAS households as possible.  You can email your interest (or lack of) by completing and sending the form to our contact address or email your interest.  We would especially like to hear from anyone who would be interested to be a part of the Working Party.  As yet nothing is decided at all.

It is rarely possible to obtain 100% participation in such projects, and at the outset, we would like to make it clear that the History Group would fully respect those who choose not to take part and inform us of this choice.

The History Group would like to say a big thank you to those who have donated to the cost of publishing the Indentures book.  THE COST IS NOW COVERED!

A small team has been working on transcribing17th & 18th centuries Apprentices’ Indentures in Tilney All Saints, and looking into how we eventually present these.  Initially the idea was to transcribe from photographs of the originals and present the 51 typed transcriptions in a folder and CD for Wisbech & Fenland Museum, where the originals are archived.  But we are realising that it would be good if the transcriptions were also made more widely available for the use of:
  • Tilney All Saints History Group members & friends
  • Residents of the village
  • Family History research
  • Local History research
  • Social History students
  • Local schools

The result is we are looking at digitising the documents with the transcriptions for access on a website, and publishing a small number of books.

The self-publishing is almost complete so the book should be out by the end of July. Contact us if interested. There won't be too many available for sale, and we haven't decided yet how much.

If you have any views or comments that you would like to share with us, please complete the attached form.