The Writing of Rural England, 1500–1800 by S. Bending, A. McRae

By S. Bending, A. McRae

The Writing of Rural England 1500-1800 records and contextualizes the conflicting representations of rural existence in the course of an important interval of social, monetary and cultural swap. It highlights the dialogues and tensions among agriculture and aesthetics, economics and morality, women and men, relaxation and labour. by means of drawing on either canonical and marginal texts, it argues that early-modern writing not just mirrored yet performed a component in developing the cultural meanings of the English nation-state with which we proceed to reside.

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This woman having gone her time, Her husband being dead, Of two fine pretty boys at once was sweetly brought to bed:42 Whereat her wicked landlord straight, Did ponder in his mind, How that their wants he should relieve, and succour for them find. For being born upon his ground, This was his vile conceit,43 That he the mother should maintain,44 and give the other meat:45 Which to prevent he hied fast, Feudalism and Beyond 7 35 40 45 50 55 Unto this widow poor, And on the day she went to church, he turned her out of door.

The publication of ballads also evidences the capacity for print to bring literature to a socially diverse audience, and as a result of this development new types of authors emerged. A man such as John Taylor (Chapter 5), despite his middling origins, worked through a lifetime of cheap publications to construct for himself a public identity and a considerable following. Like the Renaissance stage, therefore, popular print offered a pathway to fame. The experience of Stephen Duck in the eighteenth century, however, demonstrates the potential pitfalls of this route.

David Hey (Harmondsworth, 1981). Suggested secondary reading David G. Hey, An English Rural Community: Myddle under the Tudors and Stuarts (Leicester, 1974). Robert Mayer, ‘The History of Myddle: Memory, History, and Power’, Studies in Philology, 93 (1996), pp. 64–92. ‘Myddle Wood Common’ This belongs to Myddle and Marton, but some persons in Fennymeare do claim common here by reason of vicinage;86 but certain it is that the whole common lies in the manor and parish of Myddle. It was formerly a famous wood of timber; there is a great part of it enclosed, some into tenements,87 as Challoner’s, Cooper’s, Watson’s, Davies’, Challoner’s (a cooper), Jones’s, and Parker’s tenements.

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