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History

Family History

The village of Wickham Skeith is at least a thousand years old. Throughout that time agriculture has been at the centre of village life. Inevitably, the last fifty years has been a time of great change with a decline in employment on the land.The village has taken these changes in its stride and there has been a significant influx of new residents in the last 30 years.

The current population is just over 300, a decline from a hundred years ago when many villagers worked on the land. The census for 1901 shows a population of 415, while in 1851 613 people lived in the parish.

As with many East Anglian villages, Wickham Skeith is an example of dispersed settlement with houses and farms scattered throughout the parish. However, life has traditionally centred around the Green with its pond, known as the Grimmer.

MillThere was a windmill and steam mill next to the Green and on the 13th January 1890, the boiler of the steam mill exploded. A flying brick struck 6 year old Edward Rosier on the head, breaking his skull. He died on the 5th of February from "compression of the brain".

Possibly the last "swimming" in the country as a test of witchcraft occurred at Wickham Skeith in 1825. Isaac Stebbings, a pedlar aged about 67, was accused of black magic and driving two people (a thatcher's wife and a farmer) insane. He was immersed in the Grimmer and floated three times - a positive indication of guilt. A second trial was planned for the following week, but the clergyman and churchwardens intervened and kept people away from the Grimmer.

Mill Explosion

Suffolk has been a pioneer in developing the History Recorder Scheme. There is a large number of records in the care of the Wickham Skeith History Recorder. If your interest in the village is because your ancestors lived here, check out the Family History page.