The Lower Severn Vale: Trade and Exploration in Tudor Times

"Bristol, the Lower Severn Vale, the Severn Estuary and the Atlantic Ocean are all closely connected by trade. Liz Napier paints a vivid picture of port life in Tudor Bristol and the beginnings of international trade from original records".

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".

Palm Oil and Elephant Tusks: The Merchant Kings of Bristol

'Over the years of the slave trade Bristol's merchants learned the best combination of 'sortings' to facilitate their business in the West Indies. It was an eclectic, international collection of trade goods containing, for instance Maldive cowries, Manchester cottons, Birmingham guns, Swedish iron bars, Bristol copper and glassware, West Indian rum, Virginian tobacco and South Gloucestershire felt hats. The goods were used as customs duties and homage for the coastal kings, 'dash' payments for African middlemen, and barter for slaves'.

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.

‘It is past the art of man to find us out’: anti-Catholicism and the ‘Bristol Firemen’ in 1730

‘Shortly after midnight on 3rd October 1730, a series of brilliant 'fire balls' or hand-made grenades were seen arching through the air on St Augustine's Back, Bristol, and over the back wall of George Packer's large and opulent mansion house. There was 'a noise like the report of several guns', followed by quickly spreading flames. Within minutes, the merchant's home was ablaze, his household in full flight, and it was only a favourable wind that prevented the flames spreading to nearby warehouses and the dense flotilla of wooden ships crowding the adjacent quay.’ In this article, Steve Poole uncovers a story of organised extortion by arson at Bristol, and the ethnic and religious prejudices which it exposed.

A Brush with the Ancien Regime: French Courtiers at Bath in 1787

In the eighteenth century, the Spa town of Bath was bustling with gentry who came to buy luxury goods and specialist services; but until the 1780s, very few of these visitors had been French. In this article, Trevor Fawcett follows the story of the French Courtiers at Bath in 1787, and their connection to a scandal involving Mary Antoinette on the eve of the French Revolution.

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.

‘Natural Fire’ and the Idyls of Labour: a socialist poet in nineteenth Century Bristol

By Gerrard Sables Issue 17, Summer, 2007 pp. 35-38. Devon-born poet and bootmaker, John Greggory, was a beloved member of the socialist community in Bristol. In this article, Gerrard Stables follows the story of Greggory’s life and traces his connections to the Chartist, Socialist and Trade Unionist movements of Bristol. Throughout his life, Greggory’s poetry evolved and naturally became evermore connected to the social causes which he fought for.  17 - Gerrard Sables:… Continue reading ‘Natural Fire’ and the Idyls of Labour: a socialist poet in nineteenth Century Bristol