Unquiet Country: Voices of the Rural Poor, 1820-1880
We rarely hear the past voices of the rural poor - the labourers dependent on casual employment, the workhouse inmates, the dispossessed. This book lets them tell their own story. It is, frequently, a story of bitterness and resentment, and one that bursts occasionally into outright rebellion. To many who occupied the early-Victorian countryside, injustice seemed part of the landscape. Robert Lee draws on a remarkable set of historical sources from Norfolk which show how the experience of poverty could lead people into social transgression and political resistance. Using dramatisations of contemporary accounts he presents a series of disturbing true stories, and goes on to assess what each one can tell us about the reality of nineteenth-century rural society. Insurrection, riot, execution, witchcraft, seduction - Unquiet Country visits the dark side of the Age of Improvement.
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agricultural labourer April Attleborough Banningham Barker Benjamin Pulleyne Boileau Bradfield Captain Swing Catherine Boileau charity church churchyard Clippesby Cobel contemporary Corpusty countryside CP.CP Crabbe crime December Depwade door East Anglian Eastoe Elizabeth Rudd enclosure farm farmers February Folklore manuscripts Freebridge Lynn Gressenhall hands Hastings Henry Burrell Heydon Holt Lows inmates January John Lady Catherine land Law Union Guardians Lee Warner letter lives magistrates Massingham Mitford & Launditch Mumford National Archive MH never Norfolk Chronicle Norfolk Record Office Norwich Mercury November outdoor relief parish paupers poacher poaching Poor Law Board Poor Law Union prison protest Pulleyne rabbits Record Office C/GP Record Office MS4322 rector Reepham relieving officer Richard Nockolds Ringstead riot Robert Bradfield Rudd's ruling class Scraggs seems Shipdham social Swanton Abbott Swing things Thursford Tillett tithe Trustees vestry village Walsham Walsingham Ward window witchcraft witches woman women workhouse