Lingwood in Norfolk is younger than the
Domesday Book. When King William commanded
his grand survey in 1086, the village
was part of Blofield, its present day neighbour
and, ever since, this idyllic village has been a
hostage to history.
The district workhouse was sited here in
1837; a result of the Poor Law Amendment
Act, reminding Lingwood that ‘the poor are
always with us’.
After World War I the
village’s future was faced with more changes
when its parental estate was auctioned and
Norfolk County Council outbid all others to
claim the acreage for allotments for returning
WW1 soldiers. An army of smallholders contributed
to feeding the nation with produce
despatched from Lingwood’s own railway
In 1939 another war intervened and
the old soldiers began fading away.
By the 1950s the need for housing brought
Lingwood’s council property into the
limelight. Arable land was turned over to
building developments; the railway sidings
became redundant while the demolished
workhouse made way for more houses.
Today, Lingwood’s lively population, the size of a
small town, has fine community spirit.
Historians of English cricket remind us that
Bill Edrich who famously played for
Middlesex and helped England win the Ashes
in 1954-55 was born a Lingwood boy.
Newmarket born Stephen Peart proudly claims
his Norfolk roots. After writing The Book of
Strumpshaw in 2010 he was approached to do
likewise for Lingwood. Taking up the challenge,
the author went in search of his family
namesakes who helped lay the railway
through the village in 1880.
Stephen believes that community history is
bound in the lives of its people. For The Book of
Lingwood he brought a forty year experience
working in regional broadcast television and
applied it to giving celebrity status to the
village and its people. Before the books of
Lingwood and Strumpshaw, Stephen wrote
two volumes and several magazine articles on
‘his other hobby’ the history of East Anglia’s
Imprint: Halsgrove. ISBN 978 0 85704 203 3, hardback, 297x210mm, 160 pages, £24.99. Published October 2013.