In 2004, we obtained a grant from the Countryside Agency and went to work on a Parish Plan. Sounds easy – but it wasn’t! A separate Committee was set up and they worked extremely hard on behalf of the inhabitants of Fleggburgh, Billockby & Clippesby. They devised a lengthy questionnaire and arranged for this to be taken to every household for completion. This was then collected and all the information analysed. From this they were able to establish what people wanted from the parish. A booklet was printed and issued to every household.
Extract from The Parish Plan 2004
The parish of Fleggburgh comprises the villages of Burgh St Margaret, Clippesby & Billockby. The three villages were amalgamated into one parish in 1934. In more recent times Burgh St. Margaret itself has become more generally referred to at Fleggburgh.
“Ye towne of Burgh” was originally two parishes – St Margaret and St Mary, but they united under the lordship of Sir Edward Clere in 1580. St Mary’s church, standing by the edge of a field alongside Tower Road, had fallen into disuse in about 1554 and by 1600 had been turned into a barn by a Mr Baker. In 1781 it was noted that the churchyard produced a good crop of turnips!
“Burgh” most likely derives from “burg”, meaning a fort. There is speculation that the village’s origins are Roman, but there is no evidence to support this. The “by” endings of the names of Clippesby and Billockby would suggest that these were Danish settlements, like so many other on Flegg Island. In 1603 the two villages were amalgamated, with the parishioners attending each other’s churches on alternate Sundays. This was probably due to declining numbers of inhabitants. During the great storm of 15th July 1762, Billockby church was struck by lightning and burnt out. There were no funds to rebuild it and today only the chancel remains in use.
The Penny Loaf distribution is made from the school each January on Plough Monday. Before the reformation the money was used to buy candles for the church, but this was stopped and loaves and ale were bought for the parishioners instead. When the school, which serves all three villages, was built in 1866 for the cost of £400, it was smaller than today, but was attended by 125 children in it’s first year.
Today the Parish is a thriving rural community with an excellent village hall and sports facilities.