There are three villages named Thurlby in Lincolnshire, Thurlby by Bourne, on which this website is based. Thurlby, midway between Newark on Trent and Lincoln.and the third Thurlby which is near Mablethorpe.
The name Thurlby has appeared in several different forms of spelling – Turolvebi, as in the Domesday Survey in 1086, also Turoldvebi, Torulfbi, Thurlobie, Thorlby, being some. By 1207 it had become Thurleby, meaning Thorulf’s farmstead or village. The name Thurlby also seems to mean, the settlement of the Thorold family. The name Thorold appears in the early Church Registers.
Thurlby, near Bourne, is a parish in the county, diocese and archdeaconry of Lincoln, in the south of the district of Kesteven, in the wapentake and rural deanery of Ness.
Even such a matter of fact description as that enshrines some of our past history. Lincoln, known to the Ancient Britons as Lindcoit, and to the Romans as Lindum Colonia. Kesteven, from the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon languages, referring to the woodlands that once abounded in the area. Wapentake, meaning weapon touching, harks back to the gatherings of Danish warriors. Ness, a tongue of land, is evidence that the Saxons found here a level stretch of dry land, surrounded by a waste of fenland between the rivers Glen and Holland.
The words diocese, archdeaconry and rural deanery are a reminder of the days when the Christian Church was established in the land, and that it drove out the strange pagan religion of Saxon and Dane.
The word parish takes us back to Theodore of Tarsus, a Greek whose orderly mind was shocked by Saxon haphazardness, and who when made Archbishop of Canterbury (668 – 690) introduced reforms that led to the division of the whole of England into ecclesiastical parishes, the majority of which remain unchanged in area to this day.
The earliest known British tribe to settle in Lincolnshire were the Iberians, followed by the Welsh, who were driven out by a Belgian tribe. When the Romans landed the chief tribe here was the Coritani, who are said to have been a branch of the Iceni (“the tribe ruled by Boadica). In the year 70 A.D. they were put down by the Romans. As far as is known at present there are no traces of the Ancient Britons in Thurlby.
The oldest existing record of civilisation in the parish is this former Roman canal which runs from north to south and is to be seen to the east of the village. It was one of the greatest feats carried out in Britain by the engineers of the Roman Empire. It is said to have been constructed in the time of the Emperor Nero (37 -68 A.D.) when Cato Decianus was procurator. It was an immense canal 56 miles long, that caught the drainage from the hills to the west, and held the water from flooding the fens to the east, discharging its waters into the River Nene at Peterborough, and into the River Witham near Lincoln. Now days it is little more than a ditch in many places, though at Thurlby it still forms part of the land drainage system of the parish. Along it have passed in turn Roman centurions, Saxon invaders, Danish pirates, and perhaps even Plantagenet kings.