Tagged with social history

A Flute Playing Cobbler for Sale

My research into wife selling continues to turn up bizarre incidents. This is one of my favourites, from the Dundee evening Telegraph of 28 November 1903, claims to relate to Manchester at the end of the 18th century: “A woman, named Price, led her husband into the market place, and publicly proclaimed that she would … Continue reading

English Inns

We tend to think of inns & pubs as aces to eat &/or drink, but they have played a major re in the social history of these isles. This is from a book by Thomas Burke: ‘When the first English road was made the first inn was born. The date of that event no man … Continue reading

Thomas Hardy Buys a Wife

I can’t prove this, but I do wonder if this was the inspiration for Thomas Hardy’s novel, The Mayor of Casterbridge. This comes from Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal of 1 July 1786: STAMFORD, June 23. Monday last, Thomas Hand, a taylor of Spalding, in this country, having expressed an intention of selling his wife, one … Continue reading

Gay, God and Goodness

Gay, God and Goodness

I do not often use the word ‘evil’ in respect of specific people  because it is too strong, too final. Everyone has a reason for doing or saying certain things, and sometimes they live to regret it. But I recently heard of an incident which seems to fit this title. I refer to a Catholic … Continue reading

Snow Thinking

Snow Thinking

In any debates about religion and its benefits/evils, I am happy to play devil’s advocate for either side. The scientist in me sees no point in all the mumbo jumbo and funny clothes but the historian in me sees how important faith of whatever kind has been in human history, and I really love old … Continue reading

Bartered Brides

Bartered Brides

As a sort of coda to my previous, this is about a practice that seemed to appear in the wake of the English Civil War, when churches were vandalised and some used as stables and markets,  and continued well into the 18th century. The idea of a wife standing in the public market place so … Continue reading

An Early Account of a Tsunami

The following is a transcription of an account of an incident in the West Country of England, and Wales of 1607. I found it in the18th century  Gentleman’s Magazine who claimed it was a document found in the Bodleian library. It shows that the name may be new but the event is not. It also … Continue reading

Foundling Fabrics

I have just read ‘Threads of Feeling, The London Foundling Hospital’s Textile Tokens, 1740-1770’ which is a strange and fascinating story of one of Britain’s oldest charities, and one which from the outset attracted much celebrity support, in particular that of the painter William Hogarth. The hospital was established by a wealthy ship’s captain to … Continue reading

Samuel Gist: An Enigma of Manumission

I discovered the start of Samuel Gist’s story whilst researching the Abolition of the Slave trade back in 2007. A 19th century Bristol newspaper noted this son of the city had freed his slaves in his will. This got my research antennae quivering, and the story is still unravelling. Samuel was the son of David … Continue reading