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History of Thurnham
Thurnham comes from the Old English words ‘born’ meaning a ‘Hawthorn-tree’ and ‘hām’
as a ‘village, an estate, homestead’; therefore, a ‘thorn-tree homestead/village’.
The Domesday Book chronicles Thurnham as Turneham.
Thurnham parish church is a Grade: I listed building, dedicated to Saint Mary the
Virgin. The Saxons built the first chapel in wood, which, in the 12th century, the
Normans rebuilt in stone. They built a two stage tower in the 14th century. In 1586,
Lawrence Wright cast and hung a bell making three. In 1798, Edward Hasted described
the Thurnham church as being a ‘small building, consisting of one isle and two chancels,
having a low pointed steeple at the west end, in which hang three bells’. In 2000,
they installed a kitchen and bathroom at the base of the tower, without regard to
ringing the bells. All ringing had to stop until reopening of the bells.