A Trip back in Time

Jo Gooderham, A chronology of Ellingham & Kirby Cane (2019, 4th edition), £7.50 from Kirby Cane Post Office & Stores.

Last year the author gifted Kirby Cane & Ellingham Parish Council her account of the past two thousand years of local history. Local historian Jo Gooderham studied old documents and extracted fascinating details about both communities from prehistory to the end of the second millennium.

The chronology sets the scene for local events by giving an overview of the major historical milestones of each era, providing a more personal and easily relatable context to national events.

Around the Domesday Book of 1086 information about the communities themselves becomes more plentiful. The chronology shows the gradual development of the villages from small groups of farms and associated dwellings to the thriving community of today. Also, it gives glimpses of the tiny changes that have occurred in daily life to arrive at the complexity of the present day.

Flipping through the pages you can’t help being drawn to snippets such as 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 had started as an artificial flower maker in London’s East End but in his fifties moved to Kirby Cane and set up as a farmer at Abbotts Manor – readers will find more in the book about his crimes, and his eventual destination.

An example of a felon making good is Thomas Fiske, mentioned in 1786, and becoming a First Fleet convict to Australia, ending as a Tasmanian farmer – the examples are numerous, and are illustrated with maps, pictures and details from local churches and monuments. All fascinating!

Jane Love

Copies available from Kirby Cane Village Store & Post Office @ £7.50 each.

Proceeds to village projects including car park that aims to serve Ellingham Primary School and the playground/play area.

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