[Transcription copyright © Pat Newby]
HILGAY is a considerable village on the southern acclivity of the vale of the river Wissey, opposite Fordham, and 4 miles S. of Downham. Its parish contains 1,515 inhabitants, and 7,583A. of land, half of which is fen, but now well drained and cultivated, forming part of the great Bedford level. For improving the drainage, a Steam engine was built on the Ten Mile Bank, in 1842. W.L. Jones, Esq., and Mrs. Peel, are the principal owners of the soil; but here are several smaller proprietors. The first is lord of the two principal manors, called Woodhall and Modeney Priory.
The CHURCH, (All Saints,) is a large and handsome edifice, approached by a long walk margined with trees. It has a nave and chancel of equal breadth and height, and a square tower, rebuilt of brick in 1794, and containing eight bells. The rectory, valued in the King's Book at £10, and now at £1,600, has about 70A. of glebe, and is in the patronage and incumbency of the Rev. W.J. Parkes, M.A.
In the parish are many scattered houses, and two Wesleyan and two Primitive Methodist chapels. The old workhouse was converted into a National School, a few years ago.
The CHURCH ESTATE, comprising two houses and 53A. 2R. of land, is let at rents amounting to £111 per annum. One of the houses and 11A. 2R. of the land, were left by the Rev. Nicholas Spencer, in 1701, subject to the yearly distribution of 30s. among 15 of the poorest parishioners; and 20s. for the ringers.
For the general benefit of the poor parishioners, there are two allotments, viz:- the TOWN HUNDRED, comprising 102A., supposed to have been awarded at the enclosure of the Sedge Fen, on the west side of the river Ouse, in the reign of Charles II; and the POOR'S PARTS, 67A., supposed to have been partly given to the poor in exchange for other land, in Flag Fen. These lands are let by the overseers, at rents amounting to about £130 per annum; out of which they pay yearly about £33 for drainage rates, and £13 2s. to the schoolmaster, for teaching ten poor children reading, writing, and arithmetic. The residue they apply in the payment of the rents of cottages occupied by poor families, and in aid of the poor rates. A yearly rent-charge of 20s., left by Thos. Power, in 1795, for a distribution of bread, is paid out of the Bell Inn lands.
Baker John grocer and draper Boyce John gentleman Day William miller and baker Engledow John butcher Jeaurdan William beerhouse Jones Wm. Lowton, Esq. Wood Hall Mountseer Jas. grocer and draper Nixon John shoemaker Parkes Rev. Wm. Jph., M.A. Rectory Poll James baker Pryer Robert gentleman Scott John millwright Scott William gentleman Staples John beerhouse Smith William blacksmith Sterndale John surgeon Tingay Wm. beerhouse & shopkeeper Townsend Chas. National schoolmr. Whitham William beerhouse PUBLIC HOUSES. Fuller Rt. George and Dragon Howlett William Jolly Anglers Girdlestone Thomas Rose and Crown (& plumber, &c.) Creek William Ship King Fras. White Swan (& butcher) FARMERS. (* are Owners.) Bassingham Wm. Goodchild Wm. Boyce Henry Goodchild John Boyce Joseph Miller Hy., White Hall * Boyce John Peacock William, Creek Brundell William * Proctor William Canham Rt. Geo. Rose Thomas * Case John & Rt. * Scott Thomas Cook George Turner William Cooper Thomas Wayman William * Dams John Wootton John Driver Henry Wright James, Hilgay Lodge
COACH to London, 10½ mg., & to Lynn 6½ evg.
CARRIER to Lynn, Jno. Barrett, Tues. & Sat.
See also the Hilgay parish page.
Copyright © Pat Newby.