Long Thurlow is a delightful little hamlet built on the boundaries of Badwell Ash and Great Ashfield parishes. There are now approximately 70 houses of which 10 are in Great Ashfield and the rest in Badwell Ash. It could almost claim village status in its own right. There is, however, a subtle difference. All the old Suffolk villages, with their Saxon names, date back to the Dark Ages, where they consisted of a cluster of cottages and the village Thane's house surrounding their parish church. Long Thurlow "just happened". The old maps show that even as late as 1836 there were only three scattered farmhouses, a couple of semi-detached houses for farm workers, and a smithy. Another building which could have been an old manor house stood at the end of the village.
This is all that existed until the 1850s, when the emerging railways were able to bring cheap Welsh slate for roofing. Soon after this, a row of 10 slate roofed, redbrick cottages with a grocer's shop at the end were built, and the nucleus for a village street was started. One or two more buildings appeared over the next few years. Between the wars a few more modern houses were built, and the first semi-detached council house was added. Even so at the end of the Second World War only 28 houses existed in this area.
There was however a flourishing public house called the "Thurlow Arms". So by now Long Thurlow was supplied with its own groceries, hostelry and smithy. Small as it was, in the 1950s a water main was installed, and in the 1960s the far-sighted little District Council of Thedwastre added a sewage scheme to the area. Thanks to all these amenities development exploded, the large gaps between the houses were filled, and Long Thurlow became what it is today.
Unfortunately the pub, grocery-cum-post office and smithy have now disappeared. But we are left with a happy collection of families formed into a Neighbourhood Watch, always ready to help and support each other, and more than willing to socialise.
Roy le Grice
Long Thurlow has held several successful Open Garden Weekends over the past few years. In 2014 £2,200 was raised for the East Anglian Air Ambulance.