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Hilgay, Norfolk

The village of Hilgay is located on the southern banks of the River Wissey in southwest Norfolk, just over 5km as the crow flies south of Downham Market and 12.7km north of Littleport. The modern course of the A10 bypasses the village to the west and crosses the river to the north of the village. 

The modern village sits on a raised island within the fens, the drainage of the fens has elevated this island even further in more recent times. The name Hilgay derives from the Old English to mean 'island or dry ground in marsh, of the family or follows of a man called Hythla or Hydla' during the Anglo Saxon period and was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1087 when the main landowner was recorded as the monks of Ramsey Abbey who built a priory here as a Benedictine Cell, known as Modney Priory.  The church of All Saints is situated very much on its own in the southeast of the village and dates from the 13th century. 


Local Information Websites

Hilgay Parish Council

Hilgay Village Hall

Norfolk Heritage Explorer Parish Summary

Downham Market Parishes

British History Online

English Heritage - search the list

Heritage Gateway


 The Fenland Project No. 4


Projects by Year



Hilgay Test Pit Pottery Distribution Maps 2018


Click here for the summary report of the Hilgay test pitting