North Willingham
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North Willingham is a village at the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds which predates the Norman-commissioned Domesday Book of 1086. Unlike the nearby villages of Tealby and Walesby, whose shared suffix of '-by' indicates they were Scandinavian settlements prior to the Norman conquest, North Willingham's title in the Domesday Book is of Anglo-Saxon origin. Being recorded both as Wifilingham and Wivilingeham, a name derived from it being the home of the family or village of 'Wifel', it seems that the village was probably set up when Anglo-Saxon settlers migrated to Lincolnshire in 400 and 500 AD, although the date is unknown. 

After 1066, the lands were divided between three Norman barons, one of whom was Ivo Taillebois who was William II's steward and is believed to have led the siege of Ely against Hereward the Wake in 1069 during William I's reign. In addition, Taillebois owned land in Norfolk as well as in Lincolnshire, and as with the other two barons who shared land at North Willingham with him, Gocelin fitzLanbert and Ralf Pagenell, also held land at Tealby, a village only a mile or so to the northwest. 

By the 16th century, North Willingham was one of the larger villages in the with 53 families in 1563, albeit it remained smaller than Tealby which possessed 97 and also Market Rasen with 64. In 1536 one of its inhabitants called Thomas Moigne (also spelt Moygne), who was a lawyer and Recorder for Lincoln at the time, was reluctantly involved in leading the Lincolnshire Rebellion of 1536. This rebellion was directed against Henry VIII's religious Reformation, although much of the anger of the commons was based on several rumours and the strong dislike they felt against some of Henry VIII's ministers, rather than the King himself. Moigne was a member of the gentry and had attempted to evade the rebels by escaping from them when they had gathered at Caistor, but had eventually been forced to swear an oath of loyalty and lead them. The same was true for the other gentry and nobles forced to lead the commons, and their leadership and forced loyalty were ensured by repeated death threats. In spite of clearly desiring that he and other members of the gentry lead them, the commons were distrustful of any conversations the gentry had in secret and prevented them from talking privately.

Ultimately the Rebellion did not succeed. Whilst other members of the gentry were acquitted, Thomas Moigne had corresponded briefly with Robert Aske who was to become Grand Captain of the far more threatening Pilgrimage of Grace in Yorkshire and 200 of his tenants had joined the rebellion with him. He had also acted as spokesperson for the commons on a number of occasions. Although in his three-hour long defence he was nearly acquitted, he was found guilty of treason and was hung, drawn and quartered. It is believed that other leaders such as 'Captain Cobbler' (Nicholas Melton) and the vicar of Louth, Thomas Kendall were executed in the same way. Additionally, just two years later Sixhills Priory was dissolved, barely three quarters of a mile away from St. Thomas' Church in North Willingham.

 Florentine Tenturier moved to North Willingham in 1674 having already fled France  to London to escape persecution as a French Huguenot (Protestant); after he bought the manors of North Willingham and Ludford from Thomas Caldwell, his daughter then married another French Huguenot from London, the apothecary Matthew Boucherett (1st). Due to this marriage the lands owned by Tenturier were then to pass to him, enabling the Boucheretts to become the dominant family in the village for the next two hundred years. 

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Last edited on 7th November 2009