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1939 Newspaper Article - Walloon Names

The London Evening Standard published this feature story 10 January 1939:


Evening Standard Reporter

"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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