A Trip back in Time

A Chronology of Ellingham & Kirby Cane (2019).

Studying old documents local historian Jo Gooderham has been able to extract and write up fascinating detail about our two communities, from prehistoric times to the end of the second millennium. The chronology sets the scene for local events by giving an overview of the historical milestones of each era, providing a more personal and easily relatable context to national events.

Around the time that Domesday Book (1086) appeared information about the communities becomes more plentiful. The chronology follows the gradual development of the villages from small groups of farms and associated dwellings to the thriving community of today. It also offers glimpses of the tiny changes that occurred over time in daily life until we arrived at the complexity of our present-day existence.

Flipping through the pages you can’t help being drawn to particular snippets:

  • Elizabeth Cobbe in 1518 accusing her uncle of forging part of her grandfather’s will;
  • the riches of the Hammond family of Ellingham a century later;
  • or the arrival in 1896 of William Rees. He started out as an artificial-flower maker in London’s East End. Then, in his fifties, Rees moved to Kirby Cane and set up as a farmer at Abbotts Manor – but readers will have to read the book to learn more about his crimes, and his eventual destination;
  • One example of a felon making good is the tale of Thomas Fiske. Mentioned in 1786, he became a First Fleet convict to Australia. He ended his life there as a well-to-do Tasmanian farmer …

The examples are numerous, and illustrated with maps, pictures and details from local churches and monuments. All fascinating!


Last year the author gifted her account of two thousand years of local history to Kirby Cane & Ellingham Parish Council and copies are available from Kirby Cane Village Store & Post Office prioced £7.50 each.

Proceeds from the book’s sale will go to village projects including a car park that will serve both Ellingham Primary School and the playground/play area.

[A sample from Mrs Gooderham’s book may be read on the Spotlight website, ed.]