All Saints Church, Hilgay
Hilgay shown within Norfolk
|Area||33.38 km2 (12.89 sq mi)|
|- Density||35 /km2 (91 /sq mi)|
|OS grid reference|
|District||King's Lynn and West Norfolk|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Post town||DOWNHAM MARKET|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
Hilgay is a civil parish in the English county of Norfolk, 4 miles (6.4 km) outside of Downham Market. It covers an area of 33.38 km2 (12.89 sq mi) and had a population of 1,174 in 500 households as of the 2001 census. For the purposes of local government, it falls within the district of King's Lynn and West Norfolk.
Hilgay village sits on a raised isle, some 66 feet (20 m) above the surrounding fenland. Its elevation has become more pronounced as the draining of the fenland has caused the ground to shrink. It was notable in Saxon and early Norman times for the large numbers of fish and eels found there. Hilgay Old Bridge still crosses the river, but the newer A10 road bypass crosses just below it.
A journalist describes Hilgay like this:
"Hilgay, a village and a parish in Downham district, Norfolk. The village stands on the river Wissey, 2 miles (3.2 km) from the Ouse, 3 NE of Hilgay fen . station, and Market-Downham and has a post office under Downham Market. The parish comprises 7,860 acres (31.8 km2) of which 5,908 are in the Fens. Real property, £13,492. Pop., 1,624. Houses, 365. The property is much subdivided. The hall about ½ a mile from the village, belonged to the abbots of Ramsey, went at the dissolussion to James Howe, belonged now to the Jones family and was rebuilt in the Tudor style in 1840."
The scholar and poet Phineas Fletcher (1580 -1650) became chaplain to Sir Henry Willoughby, who presented him in 1621 to the rectory of Hilgay, Norfolk, where he married and spent the rest of his life.
George William Manby, who lived for much of his life in Hilgay, is buried in the churchyard, and his memorial celebrates his invention of a rocket to send a line to ships in distress. Prototypes were tested from the roof of the church tower, and he was awarded £2,000 by Parliament, as use of the device had saved 230 lives by 1823.
- Census population and household counts for unparished urban areas and all parishes. Office for National Statistics & Norfolk County Council (2001). Retrieved 20 June 2009.
- Blair (2006)
Media related to Hilgay at Wikimedia Commons
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