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North Stifford Village

North Stifford Village Sign 2011

In 2008 the North Stifford Village Community Group discussed the possibility of installing a Village Sign, but due to lack of funds etc. the idea was put on the back boiler until it was resurrected mid way through 2010.

A village sign sub-committee was formed comprising Cliff Cowin and Maureen Nicholas to take the project forward.

The Artist

Jane Swift Designer & Illustrator  www.janeswift.co.uk

Jane Swift

Work in progress

Work in progress

The finished paintings

The Signmaker

Eurographics 31 High Street, Aveley, Essex  www.euro-graphics.net

The Blacksmith

A. D. Theobald & Son Artistry in Ironwork - Motts Forge, Muckingford Road, Linford, Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. Telephone: 01375 851122

Unveiling cerenomy

The sign was unveiled by Thurrock M.P. Jackie Doyle-Price on 1st July, 2011. She was assisted by Jane Swift, the artist who was commissioned to produce the paintings for the sign.

Other local dignitaries, councillors and representatives from the organisations who generously donated funds joined villagers at the ceremony on the village green, and then went on to enjoy an evening of fun and entertainment at the annual village barbeque evening which had been arranged to follow and celebrate the unveiling ceremony.

The finished sign and what it all means

Side 1

St Mary’s Church with pilgrims on horseback.

From the 13th century pilgrims travelled to Canterbury Cathedral to visit the holy shrine of Thomas Becket who had attained sainthood. North Stifford formed part of the Pilgrims’ Way.

Before going to Tilbury to cross the river to Kent on their journey to Canterbury, pilgrims crossed the Mardyke Bridge, and walked along Pilgrims' Lane and thence up the hill to St. Mary's Church where they prayed for a safe journey.

An alternative local route took them along Pilgrims' Lane to St. Clement's Church in West Thurrock before crossing the Thames on foot at the ford which used to exist there at low tide.

Side 2

A montage of pictures as follows:-

1. The background showing the Mardyke River, the bridge (then an iron bridge) and farmland, was taken from a drawing by Jane Palin c1870.

The Mardyke River used to be an important trading route for the village.

2. The hay cart represents our farming heritage.

3. The Cricketers: Cricket has been played in the village for over 100 years.

4. The Thatched Cottage in Well Lane.

Wording on the pictures - Domesday Village - Stiforda

This is an actual copy of the

Domesday entry for Stifford.

Formerly known as Stiforda

In Stifford St Mary has 40 acres. [There was] then 1 villan; now 2, and [there are] 2 bordars [and] 1 acre of meadow. [There was] then 1 plough; now half [a plough] and it is worth 3s. There were also 30 acres [belonging] to this land, which William de War[enne] has by exchange, as he says. There are also 30 acres more and 2½ acres of meadow, and [this] is worth 3s.

Hundred of Chelmsford. St Mary holds Fryerning and Ingatestone now as then as 3½ hides and 10 acres. Then as now [there are] 2 villans. [There were] then 6 bordars; now 7. Then as now [there is] 1 slave and 1 plough in demesne.

The men [had] then 1½ ploughs; now 1. [There is] woodland for 500 pigs, and [there is] 1 sokeman with 30 acres, 1 horse, 9 head of cattle, 20 pigs, 16 sheep. It was then worth 70s. now 60. [..] St Mary holds Fristling as 1½ virgates. [There were] then 3 bordars; now 4. [There...

About Domesday Book                           Domesday Book Glossary

Research was done and quotations for the work involved were obtained. Planning permission was granted, and then the fundraising began.

With our normal village fundraising activities it would have taken possibly 4 to 5 years to raise sufficient money, so applications for funding were made to various organisations.

The Community Group were delighted when a cheque for £500 was received from the National Grid. This was followed by another £500 donation from the Grays Public Purposes and Recreational Charity, and we then received a pledge of £3,500 from Veolia Mardyke Trust. These wonderfully generous contributions plus other kind donations from villagers enabled us to go ahead and have the Village Sign made.

Here follows a picture progress of steps on the road to the unveiling ceremony which took place on the 1st July 2011.


This metre long metal base was set in concrete to securely hold the metal post and frame


Laying the paving feature and Mo planting flower barrels

Craig Surry cutting the board


Cutting over laminate

Feeding laminate

Lamp post



starts work

Battlesbridge Antiques

David Theobald

Making scrolls

Nearly done

Installing on village green