The coronavirus pandemic exposed many underlying fault-lines in society. One was that between different generations, surfacing most prominently in disputes about mass gatherings and the right to use public spaces. But what happened at Abbots Pool in rural North Somerset was part of a deeper history of contested access.
Whilst Mere is mentioned in the various diaries of early travellers, these entries give us little which is reliable by modem standards. In the years 1659-70 Joan Aubrey, the Stuart antiquarian of Kington St. Michael in the north of the county, conceived the idea of a Topographical history of Wiltshire, never completed, the text of which was deposited in the Bodlian Library. It was finally published, with a commentary by the Rev J.E.Jackson, by the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society in 1862. In this paper, MF Tighe hopes to provide a guide to the historiography of Mere, as well as pointers to future study.