A Church as it should be? Victorian Restoration in South West England

'In this paper Weller demonstrates that, chiefly with "examples from the parishes in and around Bristol and Somerset, that the older church buildings we see today, whilst for the most part still possessing a Medieval structural core, have undergone varying degrees of transformation, sometimes including partial or occasionally total demolition, during the Victorian Age"'.

‘So much loss and misery’: taking the long view of the West Country flooding

"‘Those who have not been within six miles of Bridgwater within the last fortnight have missed one of the most remarkable sights ever witnessed in this country’, remarked the Western Gazette in November 1875. ‘Floods are no new thing in Somersetshire... but never,since the moors were artificially drained, never since railways were introduced, have the floods attained such a height, covered so enormous an area and caused so much loss and misery, as during the last few days". Steve Poole looks at the history of flooding in the West Country and how it has been presented, whilst taking into consideration how it has shaped the physical development of the region.

The 1913 Suffrage Pilgrimage, Electioneering and Women’s Politics in Bristol

"The aim of this article is also to shift attention away from the suffragettes towards a consideration of the broader base of suffrage politics in Bristol in the immediate pre-war years. By examining the non- militant, or constitutional movement, we can gain a more complex picture of the nature of support for women’s suffrage and can assess its long lasting influence on the politics of the city".

William Crouch of Englishcombe and Wellow (1503-1586): M.P., Ruthless Property-Dealer, Administrator and Trouble-maker

16th century Cornish historian, Richard Carew, marvelled at the way in which ‘the golden shower of the dissolved abbey lands rained well-near into every gaper’s mouth. Among those with open mouths eager to receive this monastic bounty in the Bath area was William Crouch. Bettey provides insight into one the most unscrupulous men of this era, who seized the opportunity of the sale of monastic property to amass huge wealth.

The Notorious Case of James Nayler

'James Naylor's entry into Bristol in 1656, seated on an ass in imitation of Christ, together with the severity of his public punishment, has long been regarded as one of the most notorious and colourful episodes of the Civil War era. But was the punitive reaction of the city authorities a response to his political radicalism or to his religious heterodoxy? Flora Menzies takes a fresh look at the evidence'.

She might have, which is all that matters: History, drama and the case of Mary Hamilton, 1746

Mary Hamilton was perhaps the most notorious cross-dresser or ‘female-husband’ of her day. She lived in Somerset, among other places, and was the subject of scandal across the country for her habitual crime of marrying other women. Her story was preserved in the pages of an anonymous pamphlet by a famous contemporary novelist and dramatist. Through the story of Mary Hamilton, Sheila Hannon considers the rights and responsibilities of modern-day novelists and dramatists in their use of historical evidence. To what extent can writers take liberties with historical record in the name of ‘dramatic license’, when much of the ‘historical evidence’ that remains is itself fiction?

Cheese Schools and Cider Classes: the Development of Agricultural Education in Somerset

During the late nineteenth century a quiet revolution was going on in the teaching of agriculture. Growing foreign competition along with economic depression in the agricultural sector, and the increasing demands of an urban population for more standard, high quality food products, all contributed to the development of a more scientific approach to farming. Agricultural societies, prominent individuals from the fanning world, and latterly the state, came to see the promotion of better education as a way of helping a struggling agricultural sector. In this article, Janet Tall provides just one example of an educational movement which was sweeping across the country, and the impact it had on rural Somerset.