Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Dalham village - in the footsteps of my ancestors

My third great grandmother Maria Bishop was born in April 1816 in a beautiful little Suffolk village called Dalham which is situated along the ancient Saxon Icknield Way path. Last Saturday we had the chance to visit this lovely  peaceful village and to walk where my ancestors had walked.
Maria's father Frederick was a Journeyman Miller for the villages of Dalham, Gazeley and Barrow during the first half of the 19th century. He died on the 19th February 1870 at the grand old age of 95.

The remains of one Mill is still standing in the village but originally there were three windmills in this village.
We had to ask for the whereabouts of the church as this is situated at quite a distance above the village next to the stately home Dalham Hall, in fact we had to walk a small section of the Icknield path to reach the church. The church dates to the 14th century, but it stands on the site of a much earlier Saxon building mentioned in the Domesday Book. Inside, the church has some beautiful carved wooden pews, each with a different flower and animal carved at the end. 
We searched among the grave stones but unfortunately didn't find any belonging to family that were still standing, though many were covered in lichen and were unreadable.
These two graves bare the name of Fitch which was the maiden name of Frederick Bishop's wife, Ann Fitch.

After walking back to the village we stopped off at the village pub to have a light lunch, like the church this would have been and still is a local meeting place, maybe even more frequently attended by Frederick than the church.
Visiting the areas where our ancestors came from helps us to visualize how they lived and helps us to feel closer to them.