Place:Thurleigh, Bedfordshire, England

Alt namesLalegasource: Domesday Book (1985) p 30
Backnoe Endsource: hamlet in parish
Church End in Thurleighsource: hamlet in parish
Cross End in Thurleighsource: hamlet in parish
Park End in Thurleighsource: hamlet in parish
Scald Endsource: hamlet in parish
TypeParish (ancient), Civil parish
Coordinates52.2°N 0.45°W
Located inBedfordshire, England
See alsoWilley Hundred, Bedfordshire, Englandhundred in which it was located
Bedford Rural, Bedfordshire, Englandrural district in which it was located 1894-1974
Bedford District, Bedfordshire, Englandnon-metropolitan district covering the area since 1974
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog

the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

Thurleigh is a village and civil parish in north Bedfordshire, England. There was a church here in Saxon times. The current church has some parts still dating from around 1150, and at about that same time a castle was built here.

Thurleigh is about 6 miles (10 km) north of the county town of Bedford. As well as the village centre, the parish is spread across five "Ends", local parlance for a hamlet – Church End, Cross End, Scald End, Backnoe End and Park End, covering an area of about six square miles. (These hamlets have been redirected here. The ones most likely to be duplicated elsewhere have had the suffix "in Thurleigh" added.)

end of Wikipedia contribution

Thurleigh was originally an ancient parish in the Willey Hundred of Bedfordshire, England. It was an ancient parish with no subsidiary chapelries or townships.

It was made a civil parish in 1866 and in 1894 it became part of the Bedford Rural District. Since 1974 it has been in the non-metropolitan Borough of Bedford.


the text in this section is based on an article in Wikipedia

In 1941, during World War II, an airfield known as RAF Thurleigh was constructed on a plateau just north of the village for RAF Bomber Command. It was used initially for training both RAF and Polish personnel, but in 1942 was turned over to the USAAF and four squadrons of B-17 Flying Fortresses moved in, and over the next three years flew 341 bombing missions. A memorial to these men stands in the village. Events and characters from the USAAF's time at Thurleigh were used as the basis of the novel and film Twelve O'Clock High.

After the war the airfield was used by the Royal Aeronautical Establishment for research and development work. The runway was extended, necessitating the closure of the road between Thurleigh and Keysoe, and the demolition of the hamlet of Backnoe End.

Research Tips

  • The website British History Online provides three chapters of the Victoria County History Series on Bedfordshire. The first covers the religious houses of the county; the second and third provides articles on the parishes of the county. The parishes are arranged within their "hundreds".
  • GENUKI main page for Bedfordshire which provides information on various topics covering the whole of the county, and also a link to a list of parishes. Under each parish there is a list of the settlements within it and brief description of each. This is a list of pre-1834 ancient or ecclesiastical parishes but there are suggestions as to how to find parishes set up since then. GENUKI provides references to other organizations who hold genealogical information for the local area. There is no guarantee that the website has been kept up to date and therefore the reader should check additional sources if possible.
  • Bedfordshire family history societies are listed in GENUKI.
  • The FamilyTree Wiki has a series of pages similar to those provided by GENUKI which may have been prepared at a later date and from more recent data. The wiki has a link to English Jurisdictions 1851. There is a list of all the parishes in existence at that date with maps indicating their boundaries. The website is very useful for finding the ecclesiastical individual parishes within large cities and towns.
  • A Vision of Britain through Time, Bedfordshire, section "Units and Statistics" leads to analyses of population and organization of the county from about 1800 through 1974. There are pages available for all civil parishes, municipal boroughs and other administrative divisions. Descriptions provided are usually based on a gazetteer of 1870-72 which often provides brief notes on the economic basis of the settlement and significant occurences through its history.
  • These two maps indicate the boundaries between parishes, etc., but for a more detailed view of a specific area try a map from this selection. The oldest series are very clear at the third magnification offered. Comparing the map details with the GENUKI details for the same area is well worthwhile.