The Thurlows

Village News & Information

Norman and Medieval Times

The next historical record comes in the form of the Domesday book, compiled for William the Conqueror in 1086. The villages were owned separately: Great Thurlow was in the possession of Edred, a freewoman, and Little Thurlow was in the possession of Richard, son of the Earl of Gislebert. The entries in Domesday indicate that both Manors had churches and together had eight carucates of land (approximately 120 acres or that which could be ploughed with a team of eight oxen in a year), ploughteams, and a considerable acreage of land with a variety of livestock. At that time there were adjoining manors at Wadgells and Temple End.

This is the first reference to Temple End, which has long been assumed to be associated with the Knights Templar. However, the Order of the Knights Templar was not founded until 1118, when the knights travelled all over Europe as part of the Crusades, and the order was officially suppressed by the Pope in 1312. The Domesday reference to Temple End pre-dates this founding date by 32 years, so one wonders if there was another temple of a different age in Temple End? Nevertheless, the manor of Temple End owned by Rogers Le Bretun and Le Breteuil (who may have been one and the same) was later awarded to the Knights Templar, presumably to help fund their activities. Another archaeological record from the Cambridge Antiquarian Society in 1891 refers to remnants of buildings being uncovered at Temple End in the Ten Acre field, but no further excavations took place. The tithe map shows a Temple Field although this is different from the Ten Acre field. There is strong evidence too from the graffiti in Great Thurlow church and there are three brasses of knights and their families that date from the period and a large number of shields are inscribed in the arch of the Lady Chapel.

More information is available about subsequent Lords of the Manor including Sir Gilbert Peche in 1272, who had the right to hold a fair and market ‘for sheep and toys [a kind of wool]’ here in October. The earliest reference to hunting comes at that time when Gilbert claimed free warren to hunt all furred and feathered animals, except deer and boar. Sir Gilbert Peche was by all accounts a colourful character, and he was tried for ‘taking Master John de Bousser, Archdeacon of Essex at Wroting Talworth by force and detaining him in prison in Gilbert’s manor’.

At about this time a hospital was founded in Great Thurlow and was linked to the hospital at Hautpays in France and later to the church of All Saints in 1291. Edward IV in 1463 included the Hospital of St James, Great Thurlow in the numerous endowments of Kings College, Cambridge. No records of the location exist.

Records exist to show who lived in the villages during this period:

Villato de Thrillowe Magna

Gilberto Pecche Nicholao Poyere Johanne Mauueysin
Matilda Draweswerd Christina Randolf Alicia Robethonn
Johanne de Snichlegh Gilberto Gooche Rogero Sutore
Alicia Soutere Alexandreo Danbour Johanne Lomer
Johanne de Ronhey Stephano de Gretton Alicia Goding
Roberto Raunfrey Johanne Erl Johanne le Barbour
Alfredo Abraham Bartho. Wyberd

Villato de Thrillowe Parua

Willmo de Hanbache Martino at Grene Alexandro de Walpole
Robert le Lord Willmo de Gretton Rogero Bercare
Alano filio Gilberti Roberto Bertelot Rogero de Barkere
Iuone atte Cros Willmo de Bradeleye Roberto att Bregge
Roberto de Swaffham Johanne le Warde Johanne Dernel
Waltero atte Bregge Johanne de Dytton capellano Waltero Berard

and in 1524 in Great Thurlow:

John Bladwell Thomas Carre Thomas Meier
Edward Meller John Meier John Marchall
Robert Knat and a fragment of the remaining document shows four remaining surnames, Loveday, Demok, Wal…yng and Petite

and in Little Thurlow:

William Chirch Thomas Long Thomas Rich William Chirch jun
Ralf Brian Thomas Hallum John Loder John Umfrey
John Dike Robert Randolf John Jerveis William Copcy
Thomas Kempe John Chapleyn John Long Roger Wiknegh
John Isaak Thomas Owres John Barker William Page
John Stamager Thomas Priour John Aldours Ralf Clerke
Nicholaus Clerke Robert Clerke William Baret Thomas Umfrey Simon Page Robert Hallum John Swift John Fissher
Nicholas Cowper

The 1674 hearth tax returns reveal some more familiar names:

Thurlow Magna

Mr Holmes Ro Marsh Richard Man Mrs Mayes
Phill Flenner Jo Mills Jo Barnes Mr Jagard
Fitches Thomas Deekes Abram Fittiles Boyton Webb
Thomas Candler Edward Mowle Tompson Widow Glascocke
Sve Hemstead Jo Pratt Thomas Ewes Doctor Kinge
William Farrowe Ro Bennett Mr Butcher Jo Worledge
Jo Cocke Jo Finche Widow Read Widow Luke
Jo Knights Jo Livermore

Hearth taxes were certified for Callice, Wisbech, Martin, Adkins, Hodskin and Webb.

Thurlow Parva

Mr Ayres Sam Lynton Mr Hill Widow Farrow
Mr Curtis Widow Stowe Mr Person Jo Barton
Jer Mayes Thomas Poulsey James Cocke Ro Smyth
Robert Martin Fr Waever George Willis Thomas Sammond
Mr Owen Jo Calton Ambrose Fish Mr Killingbancke
George Rowles George Hamont William Wilson Jo Pollard
Mary Hill

Hearth taxes were certified for Challis, Wisbitch, Bridges, Delleson, Richard Nugin, Webb, Mylls, Hedge, Adkin and Thurston.

You are here: Home Publications History of Great and Little Thurlow Norman and Medieval Times