Elmington Manor Farm: 1584-1911

"Elmington Manor Farm is the best-documented farm in the Lower Severn Vale Levels, which is why James Powell chose as his topic 'The Estate Management of Elmington Manor Farm and environs 1066-1950'". From sources in "public archives, planning departments, libraries and museums" Powell looks at the earliest records of the farm, and how it survived to be surveyed by the "Second World War Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries".

Smuggling through customs at Bristol in 1681

"The trade which made Bristol prosperous was also valuable to the English government. About half the Parliamentary revenue of the Crown came from Customs duties and Bristol contributed around £50-60,000 of it, perhaps up to ten percent of the whole". Jonathan Harlow looks at smuggling through Bristol's port, and various attempts made to lessen the amount of criminal activity".

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'.

The Transition of Taunton from ‘wicked town’ to ‘peaceable borough’

In the years after 1600 Taunton was marked by a heady mixture of radical Puritanism and the volatile wool trade. Together these pitched Taunton into the centre of the Civil War in the area and, on two occasions in the second half of the seventeenth century, into open rebellion against the government. William Gibson follows Taunton’s transition from a centre of rebellion to peaceable borough in the eighteenth century.

Drunkenness and Devotion in a Devon Parish: the Diary of John Bound of Sheepwash, 1680-1775

The diary of John Bound of Sheepwash reveals a number of fascinating things. Through this source we are able to gain information not only about Bound himself, but also about the lives of the women he interacts with, as well as contemporary trade and culture in Devon. In this article, Simon Dixon highlights the inadequacies of categorising historical characters as either devout Christians or ‘ungodly reprobates’. The diary reveals a surprising overlap between those who frequented the alehouse and those who were staunch churchgoers.

A Bristol Apprenticeship: Craft, migration and liberty in the early modern city

The practice of apprenticeship brought many new faces to Bristol throughout the early modern period. In this Article with an introduction by Peter Flemming, Jinx Newley revives the lives of Welsh apprentices from the pages of a surviving Bristol Apprentice book, held at the Bristol Record Office. Looking into the seventeenth century, Margaret McGregor examines the notes of Clerks at the Tolzey Court (which dealt with Bristol apprentices) to find records of teenage runaways.

‘Rich men had gotten all into their hands’: opposition to corn badgers at Midford, 1630

Market practices could be the cause of many disorders throughout the early modern period, so food riots were a common occurrence. Rural customs and traditional rights were based on the belief that the rural community were entitled to a fair price of grain, even in times of dearth. These core beliefs naturally came with strong rules about which market practices were acceptable, and which were not. In this article, we meet a particular type of market villain: the ‘badger’. Neil Howlett uncovers the story of a Midford food riot in 1630 following the arrival of corn badgers.

A Seventeenth Century Wiltshire White Horse? Some thoughts on narrowing the field at the start of the line

Like many of the chalk hill figures of England, the Wiltshire White Horse on the hillside above Bratton dates back to the eighteenth century. In this article Brian Edwards, traces the history of this chalk figure back much further, looking into the origins of the ‘Alfred Horse’ which pre-dated it, in that very same spot. Edwards explores the customary lore of the earlier figure; as well as the potential political motivations for its creation, examining the argument for tracing it back to the Glorious Revolution.

Criminals or Martyrs? Wiltshire Quakers and the Law in Seventeenth-Century England

The first recorded Quaker meeting in Wiltshire took place in 1653. From the very beginning, the Wiltshire Quakers were met with staunch opposition from the local authorities of law and order. It was widely believed among the ruling elite that the nonconformist nature of Quakerism would lead to widespread resistance to authority. In this article, Kay Taylor looks into the ways in which Quakerism in Wiltshire was criminalised, how the Quaker community sought to justify their practices, and the phenomenon of martyrdom.