Although only seven miles West of the ancient city of Lincoln, the village of Wigsley is actually just inside the County of Nottinghamshire, set amidst the farms and fields of the flat agricultural landscape known as the East Nottingham 'sandlands'. The land use here has long reflected the quality of the soil and is largely arable, with sugar beet and cereal generally favoured. The village was recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as 'Wigesleie', which derived from the Old English personal name of 'Wicg' and the word 'leah' meaning 'a clearing' - thus 'Woodland clearing of a man called Wicg'.
On the outskirts of the village are the remains of RAF Wigsley; a satellite airfield of the much larger RAF Swinderby. It remained operational until 1958. The old control tower still stands guard, a gaunt and silent witness to past deeds of heroism. It was here at this airfield back in the dark days of 1943 that a young Scottish Flight Lieutenant William Reid undertook his conversion course to Lancaster Bombers and subsequently went on to win the Victoria Cross in a bombing raid over Dusseldorf.
Wigsley shares the Parish Church of St Helen in the nearby village of Thorney, where the church gates form a memorial to the Great War. On the gateposts are the names of the men of the Thorney section of the Parish who lost their lives:
On the iron gates are the words:
IN MEMORIAM 1914 - 1918
Return to the "Thankful Villages" article