Thankful Villages

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Millions of families throughout the UK suffered the loss of close family relatives in the Great War of 1914 -18. Losing one family member must have been truly devastating but try to image the grief of William and Julia Souls, of Great Rissington in Gloucestershire who lost five sons.

It appears that barely a family or community across the UK escaped World War I untouched by such terrible loss, except that is for the “Thankful Villages”.

WWI soldier and nurseThe term “Thankful Villages” was first used by the British writer and journalist Arthur Mee in his King's England, a guide to the counties of England in the 1930s. A Thankful Village was said to be one which lost no men in the Great War as all those who had left to serve 'King and Country' came home again. For instance, in Yorkshire East Riding he writes about Catwick, "Thirty men went from Catwick to the Great War and thirty came back, though one left an arm behind." Incredibly, Arkholme in Lancashire saw 59 of their sons go to war and all returned. It was also suggested that such villages had no war memorials, although some had monuments, usually in the church, in gratitude for their good fortune.

Among the 16,000 villages in England, Arthur Mee estimated that there were at most 32 Thankful Villages, although he could only positively identify 24.

More recent and ongoing research by Norman Thorpe and Tom Morgan, has identified 41 parishes throughout England and Wales from which all soldiers returned, these are listed below;


Stoke Hammond, south of Milton Keynes

Ceredigion, Mid Wales

Llanfihangel-y-Creuddyn, southwest of Aberystwyth


Herodsfoot, northwest of Looe


Bradbourne, north of Ashbourne


Strethall, west of Saffron Walden

Glamorgan, South Wales

Colwinston, south of Bridgend


Brierley, south of Ross-on-Wye


Coln Rogers, north of Cirencester


Little Sodbury east of Chipping Sodbury


Upper Slaughter


Middleton-on-the-Hill, north of Leominster


Puttenham, near Tring


Knowlton, near Canterbury


Arkholme, east of Carnforth


Nether Kellett, east of Carnforth


Saxby, east of Melton Mowbray


Bigby, east of Scunthorpe


Claxby, north of Market Rasen


Flixborough, north of Scunthorpe


High Toynton, east of Horncastle


East Carlton, west of Corby


Woodend, west of Towcester


Meldon, west of Morpeth


Cromwell, north of Southwell


Maplebeck, north of Southwell


Wigsley, south of Newark


Wysall, south of Nottingham


Teigh, north of Oakham


Harley, southwest of Telford


Aisholt, north of Taunton


Chantry, west of Frome


Chelwood, west of Bath


Rodney Stoke, near Cheddar


Stocklinch, near Ilminster


Tellisford, south of Bath


Woolley, north of Bath


Culpho, north of Ipswich


South Elmham St Michael, in the Waveny Valley


Catwick, north of Beverley


Cundall, east of Ripon


Norton-le-Clay, near Ripon


Scruton, south of Catterick


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