Tydd St Giles

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Tydd St Giles
Tydd St. Giles Church - geograph.org.uk - 120677.jpg
Grid reference: TF424168
Location: 52°43’48"N, 0°6’36"E
Population: 603
Post town: Wisbech
Postcode: PE13
Dialling code: 01945
Local Government
Council: Fenland

Tydd St Giles is a village in the very northernmost extent of Cambridgeshire. The church after which the village takes its name, St Giles, was built in 1084 on a natural rise in the land of the Fens, and this might mark the foundation of the village itself. The church itself is built of Barnack stone, known to be the gift of the Abbot of Peterborough.

Although the village is just about old enough, it does not appear in the Domesday Book, because the village was in the liberty of the Bishop of Ely.[1]


The village is on the table-flat fenland, and the average altitude of the land is exactly sea level. The village is roughly square shaped (formed by the four main roads of Church Lane, Hockland Road, High Broadgate and Newgate Road). The eastern side of the village is dominated by the Norman church. The western side of the village is dominated by the Community Centre, a large blue roofed barn-like structure.

The civil parish of Tydd St. Giles also includes the hamlets of Foul Anchor and part of Tydd Gote, which lies partly across the Lincolnshire border in the parish of Tydd St Mary. This is the northernmost parish in Cambridgeshire and of the Diocese of Ely – Tydd Gote is the northernmost point – and here Cambridgeshire's and the Diocesan boundary is formed by Eau Dyke, to the north of the village.

The village has no direct A-road access, but is joined to the A1101 by the B1165.

Eau Dyke is the only natural watercourse in the village, natural here in spite of its name as it follows the course of the old Cat River. Across the southern boundary of the village runs a part of the North Level Main Drain, which drain is a vital part to the draining and continuing existence of the Fens; the drain joins the River Nene at Foul Anchor, after passing through a pumping station, that brings the water up to the level of the river.

A survey of 1868 described the village thus:

TYDD ST. GILES, a parish in the hundred of Wisbech, Isle of Ely, county Cambridge, 5 miles north-west of Wisbech, its post town, and 6 from St. Mary Sutton. The preparation of woad for dyeing is carried on. The construction of the Bedford Level canal, which is 100 feet wide and 30 feet deep, has greatly improved the quality of the land. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely, value £653, in the patronage of the bishop. The church is dedicated to St. Giles. The parochial charities produce about £80 per annum. There is an endowed school, and the Independents have a chapel.[2]

Foul Anchor

Foul Anchor is a hamlet at the very northern edge of Cambridgeshire and vying with Tydd Gote ss the county's northernmost point.

At Foul Anchor the North Level Drain meets the River Nene and is emptied into the river with a pumping station here, vital for the preservation of the fenland farms.

St Giles Church

The Norman church dedicated to St. Giles, dominates the eastern side of the village. The church, although extensively redesigned in the 1800s (see below), still retains its Norman architecture and feel. The West Window was designed by Alan of Walsingham, the designer of the famous "octagon" lantern on Ely Cathedral, this rare clear glass mediæval window (which survived the depredations of Oliver Cromwell) fills the whole of the western end of the building. All of the woodwork and pews in the church are later Victorian additions.

In the Lady Chapel there are still some remnants of the church's original mediæval stained glass, the rest of the church's stained glass is Victorian. The East Window shows the life and passion of Christ, while the North-Western Window depicts the church's (and village's) patron saint, Saint Giles and St. Paul (one of the patrons of the Church of Ss. Peter & Paul in Wisbech). The outer southern wall of the church still has the remains of a mediæval sundial, which was in use when the church was a cell of the priory in Wisbech.

The church is one of the few in the area to have a separate tower. The tower fell away from the eastern end of the church in the 18th century (due to poor foundations and strong wind), and was rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott when the building was extensively renovated in the 1880s. Local legend has it that the tower was pushed over by the devil, as he could not abide the sound of the church bells.

The Church has a copy of the Coventry Cross of Nails hanging in the sanctuary.

The church also has a (tentative) claim to having had a pope in the parish. It is believed that Nicholas Brakespeare, who later became Bishop of Rome, was a curate of the parish. As a consequence the local pub is called the 'Crown and Mitre'.

Brigstock and Wren Charity

Brigstock & Wren is a charity established in the village to help people in the parish. At the time of the charity's founding in its current form in 1910, it managed 29 acres of land and three cottages in Tydd St Giles, and controlled 12 acres of land in Sutton St Edmund. The committee of the charity consists mostly of local landowners, all elected by the wider membership, and the parish priest ex officio, and this committee decides on applications for assistance.

Brigstock & Wren originated in the British attack on the Dutch in Sole Bay in 1672. One of the officers involved was Matthew Wren, son of the Bishop of Ely. In his will (written just before the attack), Wren left 15 acres of Low Marsh to the poor of the village. By 1837, the Charities Commissioners also acknowledged that John Brigstock had left land to the poor in 1667, although Brigstock never owned the land but had merely controlled the land for an older charity (whose name is now lost), and his name was on the deeds[3]

Tydd Steam Brewery

The village is home to a micro-brewery, Tydd Steam. The brewery was founded in 2007 by Will and Anna Neavson. The newly installed plant is capable of producing 5 barrels per brew. The Brewery is situated in a renovated and converted barn. The barn was used as a garage for two steam tractors that were used by the farm. The tractors are now kept in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life in Lincoln.[4] Tydd Steam's Armageddon ale was awarded a bronze medal at the CAMRA Peterborough Beer Festival in 2008.[5][6]

About the village

The village has seven listed buildings in its historic centre around Church Lane and Kirkgate, including the parish church and its tower.

The Old School is a Victorian primary school building and school master's house on Church Lane, which unfortunately has fallen into a state of considerable disrepair. The Old Tithe house (also on Church Lane) is a Grade I listed building that was formerly used as a parish hall but abandoned for centuries until bought by a local member of SPAB and restored to its former glory.

Tydd manor is a Grade I listed Elizabethan manor house.[7]

On Hockland Road is Paget Hall, a Grade II listed building. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott for his brother Rev'd Canon John Scott, then Rector of the parish. It was built around the same time as the church was renovated.[8]


  • The Fenland Citizen

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Tydd St Giles)


  1. A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4: City of Ely: Ely N. and S. Witchford and the Wisbech Hundreds, Authors: R B Pugh (Editor), T D Atkinson, Ethel M Hampson, E T Long, C A F Meekings, Edward Miller, H B Wells, G M G Woodgate, Cambridge 2002 pp. 224–232
  2. The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland, 1868
  3. A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4: City of Ely: Ely N. and S. Witchford and the Wisbech Hundreds, Authors: R B Pugh (Editor), T D Atkinson, Ethel M Hampson, E T Long, C A F Meekings, Edward Miller, H B Wells, G M G Woodgate, Cambridge 2002 pp. 224–232
  4. http://www.tyddsteam.co.uk/tydd.htm
  5. "Tydd Steam Brewery". http://www.tyddsteam.co.uk/tydd.htm. Retrieved 6 April 2011. 
  6. http://www.peterborough-camra.org.uk/index.php?module=pbfawards&func=main&thisyear=2008
  7. A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4: City of Ely: Ely N. and S. Witchford and the Wisbech Hundreds, Authors: R B Pugh (Editor), T D Atkinson, Ethel M Hampson, E T Long, C A F Meekings, Edward Miller, H B Wells, G M G Woodgate, Cambridge 2002 pp. 224–232
  8. Tydd St Giles - British Listed Buildings