Tagged with 18th century

Stealing Grain from the Poor

The 18th century saw a huge number of food riots, commonly blamed on food shortages, but really due to farmers hoarding of shipping the grain abroad while those who worked on the farms, brought the harvest in went hungry.This is from News from the English Countryside 1750-1850 from Woodbridge, Suffolk, April 1772 “It is impossible … Continue reading

Longevity of our Ancestors

A lot of people seem to think our ancestors lived to be abut 35 but this is largely based on massively high infant mortality. I have come across a lot of people who lived to be al east twice that, and occasional citings of centenarians, usually in country villages. But I think this one takes … Continue reading

A Strange Cow

Here’s another anecdote from News from the English Countryside 1750-1850, this time an agricultural oddity from 1770: “Birkbeck Fell… A farmer’s wife in this neighbourhood, who attended duly to the milking of her cows morning and evening, observed for 2 or 3 mornings successively that her best cow was deficient in her usual quantities of … Continue reading

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

‘Butcher’ Cumberland Entertains

The Duke of Cumberland, 2nd son of George II became infamous north of the border for his massacre of the survivors of the Battle of Culloden in 1745. He died the year after this incident in 1764. “On Saturday about 12 o’clock, his royal Highness the Duke of Cumberland entertained a company  with the following … Continue reading

Colchester’s Problems

This is another small excerpt from Mark Girouard’s wonderful book the English Town: “Colchester was a thriving textile town, the centre of the East Anglian baize industry but by the early 18th century was financially embarrassed, its properties mortgaged to Daniel Defoe. It ceased to function in 1742 and until resuscitated by a public spirit of … 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

Change Partners

I’m old enough to have been a huge fan of Crosby Stills and Nash from the start, and used to listen to Songs for Beginners by Nash to help me through maths cramming but have always favoured Stills, as a far more cerebral musician – he writes pop music structured more like symphonies, and is … Continue reading

A Scold Too Far

HEre’s a short piece that makes me glad I live now. Because before divorce was widely available, many people were forced to live together even when they were clearly incompatible. This is a sad case of one man: 1736 7 August, yesterday Edwin  a Gardener attempted to hang himself on a tree on Chelsea Common, … 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