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.”
The blog Who Owns England? by Guy Shrubsole and Anna Powell Smith has been a near constant source of excellent original research into the state of land ownership in England for the last few years. It was happy news when the learnings from this project were augmented in summer 2019 with the arrival of an eponymous book written by Guy.
Now it would be amiss of me to state at this point that both Guy and Anna are good friends of mine and I was one of the people who read Guy’s draft and fed back into the book’s journey. Luckily, I genuinely thought and do think that this is a really great read which draws the reader through the important information Guy and Anna have uncovered, illustrated with insights, stories and more than enough linguistic colour to be really quite compelling.