The above (from page 73) is a good example of how strong the connection was between the foundations of the coop movement and the desire of people to be free of hideous urban slum conditions and return to a rural agricultural existence.
I’ve just finished reading these three excellent booklets about enclosure and the open field system in East Yorkshire… Two were written in late 1950s and the third in the mid eighties. All were thoroughly researched, succinct and insightful.
“Changing the story isn’t enough in itself, but it has often been foundational to real changes. Making an injury visible and public is usually the first step in remedying it, and political change often follows culture, as what was long tolerated is seen to be intolerable, or what was overlooked becomes obvious. Which means that every conflict is in part a battle over the story we tell, or who tells and who is heard.” Rebecca Solnit
I have yet to read this book but have it on authority that it will blow my socks off so I thought I might take the step of telling you all about it asap as my backlog of books is somewhat chronic as of late!
I have just found out that Little Toller books is republishing his biography ‘Brother to the Ox’ in a few months time, which is great news as copies are going for silly money on the internet at the moment.
I have been really enjoying reading a number of pamphlets which I picked up recently from ‘Bristol Radical History Group‘ who seem to do a lot of great work down in the south west.
This one on Anglo-Saxon Democracy is of particular interest, although there are many others which I will write up at some point soon.
These few paragraphs are good food for thought, the italics in the last paragraph are mine:
The Rise of the Church
If the major cause of the retreat of Anglo-Saxon democracy is the increasing use of charters to create bookland beyond the control of the local courts and thus the local community then it also has to be accepted that the use of charters to gain rights and privileges at the expense of the local populace was first introduced by the Roman Catholic church and all of the charters of pre-Conquest England were denrived from the form of the private charter of the later Roman empire. Continue reading →
255-7 THE END OF SUMMER KENT BERKSHIRE — HAMPSHIRE SUSSEX THE FAIR
The road mounts the low Downs again. The bound-less stubble is streaked by long bands of purple-brown, the work of seven ploughs to which the teams and their carters, riding or walking, are now slowly descending by different ways over the slopes and jingling in the rain. Above is a Druid moor bounded by beech-clumps, and crossed by old sunken ways and broad grassy tracks. It is a land of moles and sheep. Continue reading →
Roy Palmer has spent much of the last thirty years hunting for ballads and using them to weave together a people’s history of England. He has mastered the art of this in a number of excellent books of which this is a great starting point.
This book is utterly superb and should be bought without hesitation. Each song has a melody and words, along with a page or two giving its historical context.
The Long Affray: The Poaching Wars in Britain
by Harry Hopkins
Published in 1985, this life changing book was given to me by Sam Lee.
“A beautiful telling of the age-old battle between peasant and landowner where for the price of a rabbit or a pheasant men were murdered, transported as convicts and executed.
This ancient struggle over game was not just about food for the poor poachers and their families, it was about social rank and the power of the landed gentry, the burgeoning class politics of the time and the harsh realities of rural life.”