Thankful Villages by Ian Curley
(Courtesy of Ian Curley, HCGWS - [Herts Constabulary Great War Society] and Rudi Newman [editor Trench Foot Notes])
Thankful Villages (also known as Blessed Villages; Welsh: Pentrefi Diolchgar) are settlements in England and Wales from which all their members of the armed forces survived World War I. The term Thankful Village was popularised by the writer Arthur Mee in the 1930s; in Enchanted Land (1936), the introductory volume to The King’s England series of guides, he wrote that a Thankful Village was one which had lost no men in the Great War because all those who left to serve came home again. His initial list identified 32 villages.
In an October 2013 update, researchers identified 53 civil parishes in England and Wales from which all serving personnel returned. There are no Thankful Villages identified in Scotland or Ireland yet (all of Ireland was then part of the United Kingdom).
Fourteen of the English and Welsh villages are considered "doubly thankful", in that they also lost no service personnel during World War II. These are marked with a (D) in the list below (note: while the list includes 17 of these, not all have been verified).
|Dorset||Langton Herring (D)|
|Gloucestershire||Coln Rogers, Little Sodbury, Upper Slaughter (D)|
|Herefordshire||Knill, Middleton-on-the-Hill (D)|
|Lancashire||Arkholme (D), Nether Kellet (D)|
|Leicestershire||Saxby, East Norton, Stretton en le Field|
|Lincolnshire||Bigby, Flixborough (D), High Toynton (D), Minting, Allington (D)|
|Northamptonshire||East Carlton, Woodend|
|Nottinghamshire||Cromwell, Maplebeck, Wigsley, Wysall|
|Somerset||Aisholt, Chantry, Chelwood, Holywell Lake, Rodney Stoke, Shapwick, Stocklinch (D), Tellisford, Woolley (D)|
|Suffolk||Culpho, South Elmham St Michael (D)|
|Yorkshire||Catwick (D), Cundall, Helperthorpe, Norton-le-Clay, Scruton|
|Ceredigion||Llanfihangel y Creuddyn (D)|
Tavernspite, in Pembrokeshire, has been mooted as a third doubly thankful village in Wales.
As can be seen from the list Puttenham is the only village in Hertfordshire which is a Thankful Village. I quote from Arthur Mee's Hertfordshire, written in 1939.
“Puttenham. Hertfordshire's furthest West, it has a small gathering of houses and farms in peaceful meadows where the county points a finger into Buclinghamshire, with Chiltern chalk hills not far away.
Puttenham is one of England's Thankful Villages. On a marble tablet in the Church we read that out of 71 souls, 15 went forth to serve in the Great War and were welcomed home again. Their names are here, with the words, Thanks be to God.”