-Enlightenment cases, ecclesiastical and
judicial authorities joined, indeed, directed subsequent prosecution of the
accused, in the Huntingdonshire of the nineteenthcentury, the church and
the law stood firmly against belief in witchcraft. But official reactions
are not fully post-Enlightenment: it should be remembered that the parish
constable, an office typically held by a local farmer or other community
member, refuses to give relief to
In an age of Imperial confidence, the social rhetoric of Victorian Britain frequently manifested a perceptible unease when considering cultural problems within the home nation. The imagery of ‘darkest England’, dependant as it was upon a powerful colonialist discourse, authorised and transmitted a register of language whereby an internal Other might be configured as uncivilised, and thus capable of being subject to the explorer and the missionary. Much, of course, has already been written upon the Gothic possibilities of this phenomena which characterised an Imperial age which allegedly declined with the nineteenth century. No similar consideration, however, has yet been made of its continuation into the twentieth century, a progressively post-colonial era in which the Imperial (or Imperialised) Other, in consequence, functions differently. This article considers two Gothic short stories, one in a reprinted Edwardian collection, the other a component of an original collection, both of which were issued in volume form in the late 1940s. The two narratives examine classic ‘cultures-within-cultures’, pockets of resistance within the fabric of the Imperial nation, though in a cultural context radically different from their Victorian predecessors. Algernon Blackwood‘s ‘Ancient Sorceries’ (1908), published in the 1947 reprint of his John Silence, and L.T.C. Rolt‘s ‘Cwm Garon’ published in Sleep No More (1948) share a preoccupation with the casual, localised, travelling which has replaced Imperial adventure, and with the decline of identifiable Christian institutions and landmarks themselves the products of earlier missionary activity in a familiar, though threatening, European landscape. In both short stories a form of devil worship is enacted before the eyes of the traveller, and in a landscape which fascinates and somehow holds him. In ‘Ancient Sorceries’, where the Devil does attend the bacchanal, the protagonist is almost seduced into willing participation but, on evading the sexual lure of the sabbat, vows never to return. Rolt, writing after the recent horrors of the Second World War, discards the presiding Devil in favour of a mortal substitute, but still leaves open the possibility that, in Kilvert‘s words, ‘an angel satyr walks these hills’. Neither welcomed nor seduced by the satanic community, Rolts protagonist finds himself fascinated by the land, and thus drawn into unwilling participation. In colonial terms, these two narratives explore the frequently rehearsed dangers of ‘going native’ that lie at the core of, among other works, Kipling‘s ‘The Mark of the Beast’, Rider Haggard‘s She and Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness. A subject people is identified, but their strength either supernatural or merely cultural, the ability to preserve a distinctive and resistant way of life tests the limits of the perceiving power. These are, in a sense, Imperial fantasies for a post-colonial world, a reflexing of colonised culture back in upon the formerly colonising nation.
This is a book-length study of cohabitation in nineteenth-century England, based on research into the lives of hundreds of couples. ‘Common-law’ marriages did not have any legal basis, so the Victorian courts had to wrestle with unions that resembled marriage in every way, yet did not meet its most basic requirements. The majority of those who lived in irregular unions did so because they could not marry legally. Others, though, chose not to marry, from indifference, from class differences, or because they dissented from marriage for philosophical reasons. This book looks at each motivation in turn, highlighting class, gender and generational differences, as well as the reactions of wider kin and community. It shows how these couples slowly widened the definition of legal marriage, preparing the way for the more substantial changes of the twentieth century.
Roman Catholic women's congregations are an enigma of nineteenth century social history. Over 10,000 women, establishing and managing significant Catholic educational, health care and social welfare institutions in England and Wales, have virtually disappeared from history. In nineteenth-century England, representations of women religious were ambiguous and contested from both within and without the convent. This book places women religious in the centre of nineteenth-century social history and reveals how religious activism shaped the identity of Catholic women religious. It is devoted to evolution of religious life and the early monastic life of the women. Catholic women were not pushed into becoming women religious. On the basis of their available options, they chose a path that best suited their personal, spiritual, economic and vocational needs. The postulancy and novitiate period formed a rite of passage that tested the vocation of each aspirant. The book explores the religious activism of women religious through their missionary identity and professional identity. The labour of these women was linked to their role as evangelisers. The book deals with the development of a congregation's corporate identity which brought together a disparate group of women under the banner of religious life. It looks specifically at class and ethnicity and the women who entered religious life, and identifies the source of authority for the congregation and the individual sister.
Pauper Policies examines how policies under both old and New Poor Laws were conceived, adopted, implemented, developed or abandoned. The author engages with recent literature on the experience and agency of poor relief recipients, and offers a fresh perspective on poor law administration. Through a ‘policy process’ approach, the author exposes several significant topics in poor law history which are currently unknown or poorly understood, each of which are explored in a series of thematic chapters. It contains important new research on the adoption and implementation of enabling acts at the end of the old poor laws, Gilbert’s Act of 1782 and Sturges Bourne’s Acts of 1818 and 1819; the exchange of knowledge about how best to provide poor relief in the final decades of the old poor law and formative decades of the New; and the impact of national scandals on policy-making in the new Victorian system. The volume points towards a new direction in the study of poor law administration, one which examines how people, both those in positions of power and the poor, could shape pauper policies. It is essential reading for anyone with an interest in welfare, poverty and society in eighteenth and nineteenth-century England, as well as those who want to understand the early workings of the welfare system.
Sports history offers many profound insights into the character and complexities of modern imperial rule. This book examines the fortunes of cricket in various colonies as the sport spread across the British Empire. It helps to explain why cricket was so successful, even in places like India, Pakistan and the West Indies where the Anglo-Saxon element remained in a small minority. The story of imperial cricket is really about the colonial quest for identity in the face of the colonisers' search for authority. The cricket phenomenon was established in nineteenth-century England when the Victorians began glorifying the game as a perfect system of manners, ethics and morals. Cricket has exemplified the colonial relationship between England and Australia and expressed imperialist notions to the greatest extent. In the study of the transfer of imperial cultural forms, South Africa provides one of the most fascinating case studies. From its beginnings in semi-organised form through its unfolding into a contemporary internationalised structure, Caribbean cricket has both marked and been marked by a tight affiliation with complex social processing in the islands and states which make up the West Indies. New Zealand rugby demonstrates many of the themes central to cricket in other countries. While cricket was played in India from 1721 and the Calcutta Cricket Club is probably the second oldest cricket club in the world, the indigenous population was not encouraged to play cricket.
The study of witchcraft accusations in Europe during the period after the end of the witch trials is still in its infancy. Witches were scratched in England, swum in Germany, beaten in the Netherlands and shot in France. The continued widespread belief in witchcraft and magic in nineteenth- and twentieth-century France has received considerable academic attention. The book discusses the extent and nature of witchcraft accusations in the period and provides a general survey of the published work on the subject for an English audience. It explores the presence of magical elements in everyday life during the modern period in Spain. The book provides a general overview of vernacular magical beliefs and practices in Italy from the time of unification to the present, with particular attention to how these traditions have been studied. By functioning as mechanisms of social ethos and control, narratives of magical harm were assured a place at the very heart of rural Finnish social dynamics into the twentieth century. The book draws upon over 300 narratives recorded in rural Finland in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries that provide information concerning the social relations, tensions and strategies that framed sorcery and the counter-magic employed against it. It is concerned with a special form of witchcraft that is practised only amongst Hungarians living in Transylvania.
This book of essays on British social and cultural history since the eighteenth century draws attention to relatively neglected topics including personal and collective identities, the meanings of place, especially locality, and the significance of cultures of association. The essays capture in various ways the cultural meanings of political and civic life, from their expression in eighteenth-century administrative practices, to the evolving knowledge cultures of county historical societies, the imaginative and material construction of place reputations and struggles to establish medical provision for the working-class in the face of entrenched special interests. They also explore the changing relationship between the state and the voluntary sector in the twentieth-century and the role of popular magazines and the press in mediating and shaping popular opinion in an era of popular democracy. It is of interest that several of the essays take Manchester or Lancashire as their focus. Themes range from rural England in the eighteenth century to the urbanizing society of the nineteenth century; from the Home Front in the First World War to voluntary action in the welfare state; from post 1945 civic culture to the advice columns of teenage magazines and the national press. Various aspects of civil society connect these themes notably: the different identities of place, locality and association that emerged with the growth of an urban environment during the nineteenth century and the shifting landscape of public discourse on social welfare and personal morality in the twentieth-century.
histories – most notably and influentially
David Hume’s 1754-62 History of England – and these, in their turn, facilitated the composition of historical literature and art. In the nineteenthcentury,
national pride in the phenomenal success of Britain’s Empire, and the desire
to legitimate that colonialism with a long and glorious heritage, gave further
impetus to the study of early native history, as did the emergence of middleclass writers like the bookseller Joseph Cottle (the 1801 author of an Alfredian
epic), who had often not been classically educated and thus
with them, and that they sometimes also work to disturb. It is these dominant
constructions of England that we will outline here.
6.1 Historical legacies
One of the most powerful constructs of England associated with the folk arts is
that of England as rural idyll. In 2008 the BBC broadcast the first series of Lark
Rise to Candleford, a Sunday-night period drama adaptation of Flora Thompson’s
three novels set in the rural Oxfordshire of the late nineteenthcentury.
The BBC’s adaptation of Flora Thompson’s Lark Rise To Candleford delighted
millions of Sunday