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The London Evening Standard published this feature story 10 January 1939:
"If France decided on a campaign to 'liberate' a minority living 'under a
foreign yoke' she could find an excuse in the Cambridgeshire village of
Thorney, near Peterborough."
"More than half the 2000 inhabitants are descendants of Huguenots [sic] who
settled there in the 16th century."
"The Fenland people among whom they settled could not prounounce their
names properly. M. Bailleau became, in the course of centuries, Mr. Bailey,
M. Sige became Mr. Siggee, M. Tegredin became Mr. Tiggerdine, M. Piccaver
became Mr. Peckover, M. Orre became Mr. Hurry, M. Fauvergue became Mr.
Fovargue, M. de la Croix became sometimes Mr. Crow and sometimes Mr. Cross,
M. Cherwood became Mr. Sherwood, and M. Bouchereau became Mr. Butcher."
"Mr. John LeFevre, a fruit farmer at Wisbech, recently left the thatched
house where his family have lived since the 17th century. 'The people
around here pronounce my name Mr. Fever', he told me today, "I have to
pronounce it that way myself or the villagers do not know to whom I am
referring. I am of the seventh generation of Le Fevres."
"I found from the church records at Thorney that the first three
generations of Huguenots intermarried. After that they married freely with
the people in the Fen villages. We still recognize that we are a separate
sect, although now we attend the ordinary services at church."
"When our ancestors came to the Fens the land was waterlogged and many
villages were islands. They played a large part in reclaiming the land and
turning it into prosperous farms. I believe that in living memory some
Huguenots still talked French among themselves. Even now the children show
a peculiar aptitude for French at school."
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Last Updated on: 23 January 2000
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