Tagged with 18th century England

Death of the Cider Industry

Our ancestors had a lot of processions and when a community wanted to make a statement they often did it with great drama. Lord Bute brought in a tax on cider in 1763 to help fund the ongoing Seven Years’ War. This was a potential disaster for the apple growing regions of the west country … Continue reading

A Mayoral Problem

This is a snippet from the book The English Town by one of my favourite writers, Mark Girouard, a letter written by the Mayor elect of Bridgewater, Somerset in 1774: “Sir, I am creditably Informed by my friend Mr Cox that you are the author of That there epigram That was hung up against the … Continue reading

Scolds Preventing Marriages

I am intrigued by this piece, as it is one of the best arguments I can imagine for making divorce available. It has a ring of veracity to it, and explains why there were so many batchelors in the 18th and 19th century when there were so many women desperate for marriage. It is also … Continue reading

The Success of Mobs

In 18th century England, food riots, which peaked in 1766, were common, increasingly due to hoarding of food, so in the absence of any formal controls, the riots were allowed to happen in order to keep the poor fed. But how successful were uprisings overall? This is again from George Rude’s The Crowd in History: … Continue reading

Telegraphs of Love

One of the plates in Lawrence Stone’s Road to Divorce features a publication of 1796, part of a whole industry cashing in on a readership keen to discover how the rich and famous were misbehaving, with detailed transcripts of divorce trials reaching a wide and fascinated audience, so no different to now. The title page … Continue reading

Reverend on the Run

This comes from Laurence Stone’s Road to Divorce: In the late 18th century, response to a woman committing adultery was increasingly for the husband to bring a case of ‘criminal conversation” against her lover by means of obtaining compensation for the loss of her company, but lawyers increasingly encouraged judgement by juries to find damages … Continue reading

Food Riots

I’ve been interested in this 18th century topic for a long time but always thought it was about food shortages, missing the fact that they were often aimed at stopping food – i.e. local grain – from being shipped out of the country, a matter encouraged by bounties brought in in the 17th century when … Continue reading

The Great Obscure

Here’s another piece from the wonderful John O’London’s Unposted Letters: “Everybody is a somebody, and probably there are few of us who have not wished to go up to a stranger and say to him: “Sir, I perceive that we belong to te same planet; will yu tell me what you think about it, and-ahem!- … Continue reading

The Magic of Proper Names

Here’s another piece from the wonderful John O’London’s Unposted Letters: “Proper names have an interest and fascination all their own and delight in them is a sign of coming literary ability in boy or girl, just as, I am fairly sure, is a love of long words and a tendency to bombast. It shows a … Continue reading

Not a Sisterly Sister

Sailors have always been a tight knit group, bound together by the dificult and dangerous profession. So it is a surprise to find this will from 1776,by Thomas Hele Gist, mariner of the city of Exeter who names his pregnant wife Elizabeth as sole heir and executor, though he does ask his brother in law … Continue reading