"Mary Jane Steer concentrates on farming life where Bristol expanded into the Severn Vale in the later 19th and 20th centuries. George Watkins and his family are the focus of her research. Like most of the rural population before 1900 they worked mainly as agricultural labourers, although George came to the area as a labourer on the Severn Tunnel in the early 1880s".
"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".
"Three civil defence exercises covering Bristol – in 1939, the 1950s and 1960s – not only have an eerie fascination for their word-pictures of a city plunged into imaginary wars; the written scenarios also throw light on what concerned the scenario writers. As the likely damage in war became more than the authorities could handle, so the planners’ responses took a sinisterly authoritarian turn"
Parish registers have long been regarded as the preserve of family historians, and, more recently, demographic historians. They should be regarded not only as bureaucratic records of the rites of passage, or sources of population data, important as these are, but also as chronicles of communal memory and experience. In this study, Steve Hobbs reveals the wide range of historical research that can be informed by the memoranda and jottings found in these sources.
The study of linguistics can often tell us more about a place than we realise. In this article, Richard Coates looks into the etymology of two Bristol Hill names, contextualising one as being of Celtic origin, while the other appears to have ancient linguistic roots. This article highlights the significance of place name evidence, making a case for its value in historical studies.
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.
'The surviving notebooks of eighteenth century magistrates can be used by historians to investigate the extent to which customary culture was constrained and regulated by law. Wood-gathering may have been essential to the economy of the rural poor, but it remained theft in the eyes of the law. Carl Griffin opens the notebook of William Hunt of West Lavington in Wiltshire and finds that it was a crime that kept the magistrate peculiarly busy'.
'There is a considerable Welsh presence in contemporary Bristol. Welsh accents are often to be heard in the city's streets, and that presence has doubtless grown since the building of the two Severn bridges. This is by no means a modern phenomenon, however, and in this article, Peter Fleming explores the experiences of the Welsh in Bristol during the reign of the Welsh king of England, Henry VII'.
This is an extract from the diaries of Bristol Quaker Sarah Champion Fox published by the Bristol Record Society edited by Madge Dresser. Dresser provides an analysis of the extract. It provides context from the life Sarah Champion Fox, and discusses her role in the history of women. In addition, she also gives an insight into the mindset of Bristol's female icons, placing her in an important period of the city's history.