Category Archives: Dorset

Deserted Villages by John Wood and Trevor Rowley

This is a really short and enjoyable read; for us, worth the print price alone for p19’s:

Emparking reached its zenith in the eighteen century , when the removal of villages to create or enlarge parks was a widespread phenomenon.

It then goes on to list a number of examples and features the story of Milton Abbas in Dorset which was dismantled over a period of fifteen years to make way for Baron Milton’s new park.

Trevor Rowley is an Emeritius Fellow at the University of Oxford, so this book can’t easily be dismissed by revisionist ‘historians’ who often seek to play down such occurances when defending the reputation of the British ruling class.

Originally published in 1982, this new third edition is an invaluable aid to recording and identifying the remains of past settlements and placing them in their total landscape context. As well as tracing the processes that led to desertion, this book provides a guide to the type of remains to be expected and describes some good examples

(1830) Eight shillings a week

Eight shillings a week

This dates from the winter of 1830, when starving farm-workers in the Southern Counties riotously demonstrated for a basic wage of a half a crown a day. They committed a breach of the peace but otherwise harmed no one, yet after the demonstrations three of them were hanged and over four hundred were transported. At that time a loaf of bread cost a shilling.

Come all you bold Britons where’re you may be,
I pray give attention and listen to me,
There once was good times but they’re gone by complete,
For a poor man now lives on eight shillings a week.

Such times in old England there never was seen,
As the present ones now but much better have been,
A poor man’s condemned and looked on as a thief.
And compelled to work hard on eight shillings a week.

Our venerable fathers remember the year,
When a man earned thee shillings a day and his beer,
He then could live well, keep his family all neat,
But now he must work for eight shillings a week

The nobs of old England of shameful renown,
Are striving to crush a poor man to the ground,
They’ll beat down his wages and starve him complete
And make him work hard for eight shillings a week.

A poor man to labour believe me ‘tis so,
To maintain his family is willing to go,
Either hedging or ditching, to plough or to reap,
But how does he live on eight shillings a week?

So now to conclude and finish my song,
May the times be much better before too long,
May each labouring man be able to keep,
His children and wife on twelve shillings a week.