On the first of July, Nigel Howe and Ian Curtis joined the children of the school at one of their regular services in the church. This gave Nigel the opportunity to present the school with a case containing a collection of sixteen Roman coins and other artefacts, all of which he had found in the parish. Many of the coins are in very good condition and will give children the chance to handle material that they could only otherwise read about. It also provides them with a direct link to the history of the village.
The headteacher, Mrs Milton, also formally received the contribution from the History Association of £400 for books to support the history curriculum. The money has already been spent on an exciting – and colourful – set of books that range from the Romans to the Victorians.
In recent weeks, working on the behalf of Titchmarsh History Association, Nigel Howe and Ray Garside have been scouring the Church Field armed with metal detectors. In particular, they have been looking for evidence of the Pickering’s manor house that we suspect was located there. On 9th June they returned to the village to show what they had found. And what a treasure trove it turned out to be!
There was a total of over two hundred items, ranging from the Roman period through to the twentieth century. The horde includes several coins among which two date from the reign of Charles I. The personal belongings include a number of iron pattens that were fixed to shoes for walking in icy or muddy conditions; belt buckles; and small pieces of jewellery. Among the domestic artefacts are keys: lock escutcheons; thimbles; and iron pot legs. There are also several musket balls of a variety of sizes. The later period is represented by such things as a Land Army badge and a number of small toys, including a potato gun. It is quite possible that the owner of this last item still lives in the village.
Sadly, our two intrepid detectives did not uncover anything that definitively proves the existence on the site of the manor house itself.
We were delighted to meet with Nigel Howe, who was born in the village and lived here as a youngster but now lives in Islip. He told us of his interest in metal detecting and of the numerous finds he has had over the years.
He very kindly gave Titchmarsh History Association the two buttons pictured above, that he found whilst metal detecting in the fields around the village. The first one is embossed MARRIOTT, TITCHMARSH and the other KING, TITCHMARSH.
We believe that these buttons came from Drapers & Tailors who lived in the village in the mid 1800s. According to the 1881 census John Marriott lived in Back Street, he was a Master Draper and Tailor, employing 9 men and an apprentice. The same census records George King, a Master Tailor, living in Front Street; providing the evidence of their activities in the village.
We are fortunate to have been donated a batch of Titchmarsh parish magazines, and are delighted to find that six of these are new to us.
The following magazines have been added to our archive and are available to view on the history pages of Titchmarsh Village website www.titchmarsh.info/index.php?cat=136
During September, the Association helped two groups from the University of the Third Age to discover more about the history of the village.
On 11th we accompanied Julia Powell, churchwarden of St Mary’s Church, as she gave the Peterborough group a guided tour of the church, to which we were able to add details of its wider historical background.
A week later, Sylvia and Ian led a group of twenty members of the Thrapston group on the heritage trail, taking in most of the historically significant features in the centre of the village. An emerging point of interest in this work is the possible location of Sir Gilbert Pickering’s manor house in the Church Field. Starting with the Enclosure map of 1779, we are now looking for further evidence of its existence there.
Both groups finished their tours with refreshments in the church.
Over fifty people attended the reunion in the church on the 19th June. Those still living in the village were joined by others who have since left, a few having travelled long distances to be there. Over tea and cakes they reminisced about old friends and times past, one or two friends meeting up again for the first time in over fifty years. Old photographs were pored over and soon the stories started to flow. The members of the History Association would have liked to have recorded all the recollections and anecdotes, but such was the buzz of conversation that that was impossible. Some though were recorded and have added to our knowledge of an important period in the village’s history.
If friendship and good humour are in any way accurate measures of such things, then it was a very successful event. Living history indeed.
The 30th November marks the end of the financial support that we have received from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The money has been used mainly to buy materials, equipment, to put on presentations, and to pay for professional help in our productions. It has been a busy year during which we have been able to:
• carry out further research into the history of the village, collating it into an accessible archive. The work has included individual projects such as Mike Greasley’s investigations into the Lilford dynasty and Fraser Mitchell’s detailed analysis of records – including those from various censuses – to find out more about a diverse range of topics from witchcraft in the seventeenth century to the lives of those commemorated on the war memorial in the last century. This latter theme was also pursued by Leslie Ray who has been looking into the story of his great-uncle’s experiences in the First World War. He has also been researching the legend of the Lovell bride and, from this, written a ballad which some of you will have heard at our ‘Ten Things about Titchmarsh’ presentation;
• one hundred years worth of parish magazines (1861 – 1961) have been digitalised and are now available to be seen on the village website www.titchmarsh.info. Summaries of the baptisms, marriages and deaths recorded in the magazines has assisted with the numerous family history enquiries, both from within the village and further afield.
• produce material for the two presentations we ran earlier in the year;
• work with children at the school on aspects of village history;
• produce the DVD of the village in Jubilee year. For this we have to thank Bert Ash who did most of the filming and Geoff Love who has arranged for it to be professionally processed;
• transcribe old super 8 film onto a digital format. Our thanks to Mark Harris for doing this;
• compile a ‘history trail’ leaflet. Shirley Curtis been leading on this. The leaflet will complement the information on the display board being produced by the Jubilee committee;
• thanks to Albin Wallace, who set up a blog for the history project to record and maintain a record of our progress (http://titchmarshvillage.wordpress.com)
• and finally, publish two books, ‘Titchmarsh House Histories’ which provides a fascinating oversight of the village in 2012; and ‘Titchmarsh Voices’ recalling life as it was in the village in the middle of the last century.
Recently, we have been pleased to have Janet Putley join us. Janet has been instrumental in the past in collecting material about the village and her knowledge is going to be very useful in further developing the archive.
We will be bringing all this together at an exhibition to be held in the church from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday 30th November. There will be an opportunity to hear Leslie’s ballad, watch the DVD, and purchase the books. House Histories is priced at £10, Titchmarsh Voices £6 and the DVD at £5 (or all three for £20). There will be light refreshments available. The Parochial Church Council has kindly agreed to let us keep the exhibition up until 7th December.
Even though the funding has ended, we will still carry on with the work and are already planning our programme for next year. If you have any ideas on areas for research or would like to join us in this exciting work, please contact any of the people mentioned above.
27 September: Ian met Peter and Denise West from Australia. They are researching the history of an ancestor born in the village in the 1780s who later received a ‘fourteen year holiday paid for by the British taxpayer’ i.e. he was deported. We had a look round the village and the church and searched – sadly fruitlessly – for the graves of any relatives.
4 October: Ian has received an enquiry – again from Australia – for information on the Pickering family. As the Pickerings were the lords of the manor for a couple of centuries, this could be a significant contact. We are hoping that the contact will perhaps cast light on the precise location of the Pickering manor house.
The following passage appeared in the October/November edition of the Titchmarsh Times:
Titchmarsh History Association
We are currently planning an exhibition to illustrate the work that we have been doing over the year. It will also give us an opportunity to launch the two books, Titchmarsh House Histories and Titchmarsh Voices, and to show the film that was made of the village in Jubilee Year. The PCC is kindly allowing us to use the church for the exhibition which will be open initially from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday 30th November.
Our grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund runs out at the end of the year, but we will be continuing with the work and are already planning our programme for next year. Details will be posted in the Titchmarsh Times.
Sylvia Prestwich, Terry Higgins, Ian Curtis
As a result of damage to the stone wall at the Horseshoes B & B, the magnificent stone pier cap had to be removed revealing a name and date on the underside!
Jim and Sandra Wells have now reset this magnificent stone back in its place on the top of the wall.
What a finding though, what is the name of this mysterious stonemason – is it Allen, Atten, Anen? Was he a villager? No doubt he was the stonemason who worked this stone, (which came from the quarry in Ketton near Stamford), maybe he was an employee of Lord Lilford, who owned most of the village in 1876.