Normandy Historians - Home Page
Antiquities and Peculiarities
of Normandy

Why is "CHRISTMAS PIE" so called?

This is another question often asked of Normandy Historians. I have mentioned before that the Parish of Normandy contains not so much a village but rather a collection of hamlets strung together. The hamlets are Christmas Pie, Flexford, Normandy proper centred about the Guildford Road crossroads, Pinewoods, Willey Green and Wyke.

The curious name of Christmas Pie, which has excited much hurnourous comment, owes its name to property owned by a prominent local family named Christmas. There are many references to this family in the Court records of the Manor of Cleygatc which date back to 1513 in the reign of King Henry VIII. Christmas's are often noted as serving as members of the Homage which was the Jury of the Court. The "Pie" part of the name comes from the Saxon term "pightel" or "pightle" meaning a small piece of arable land. Until the area was built up during the 1920s there was a small field called "Pie Field" near the Christmas Pie crossroads.

The parish register of Wanborough dated 1598, records the christening of three children to John Christmas between 1613 and 1620, namely Edward in February 1613, Thomas in May 1619 and Joan in September 1620.

Map Christmas Pie 1828

Map Christmas Pie 1828

Flexford is a corruption of Flaxford (the form shown on old maps) and derives frorn flax weir or verd meaning flax meadows by a stream. At Little Flexford Farm there is still a pond in which flax was retted. This term meant the softening of the stems of flax to allow the fibres to be separated for the manufacture of linen. This pond has the status of a Grade2 listed building!

The name Pinewoods is self-explanatory although the woods are now confined to the rising ground to the north of the main road. This hamlet has always been isolated from the rest of Normandy by a stretch of open country. It developed around the former beerhouse called "The Nightingale" somewhat earlier than the rest of Normandy.

Willey Green is at the lowest point of the parish and was until recently subject to flooding in bad weather. The name means the place where willow trees grow. These trees are to be found in damp situations often along river banks. The hamlet includes the only pub in Normandy, The Duke of Normandy, but was originally, part of the Parish of Worplesdon and although parts were nibbled away over the years it was well into the 20th century before it was formally incorporated into Normandy Parish.

Wyke has the distinction of appearing in Domesday Book where it is recorded as being a hide held by Godric from Earl Roger. A hide was a somewhat variable measure of land of approximately 100 acres but in Domesday was used as a basis for taxation. There is mention of a hall, the site of which was probably at East Wyke Farm where ancient remains including Surrey White Ware pottery has been found. The name went through various forms as Wuccha, Wicca, Week (still preserved in Weekwood), Wick and finally Wyke and the ecclesiastical parish is that of St.Mark's, Wyke. Until St.Mark's church was built in 1847 a large section of the parish was a detached part of St.Mary's at Worplesdon.

I live at Whitepatch Bottom in Normandy Parish. Bottom is the Surrey word for an area at the base of a hill, very often a marshy valley. In William Cobbett's day the Devil's Punchbowl at Hindhead was known as High Combe Bottom. In his "Rural Rides" Cobbett called it "Higginbottom" which was probably the local pronunciation. Until fairly recently the hill behind our houses had a prominent white patch near the top as a result of old gravel workings, hence the name Whitepatch Hill and its associated Bottom.

Map Christmas Pie 1871
Map Christmas Pie 1871

Jack Kinder

Home Page
Antiquities and Peculiarities Index
Back to Index
© Copyright by Normandy Historians All Rights Reserved.