Signposts to local history

The third edition of "Signposts to local history" [Summer edition] is now on sale in the Felsham PO Stores, price £3.50.

Most of the articles in this edition continue our focus on the farming communities of Felsham and Gedding in the early years of Queen Victoria’s reign; basically from 1837 to 1851, the year in which the first relatively comprehensive census was taken of the UK population. The main article attempts to provide some introductory information on the lives of Felsham’s tenant farmers and their families. Patterns of land-use, farm size and field size, and various farming practices are also tentatively explored. The cover shows Lower Green Farm as depicted on an estate map which was probably drawn up in the mid-19th century when the farm changed hands.

The discovery of photographs taken in Felsham during the First World War showing women and children harvesting flax was a big surprise and they are reproduced in the magazine. The text that accompanies the photos provides background information on the uses of flax during the two World Wars.

Other articles focus on some of the local craftsmen: the thatcher, the baker, the wheelwright and the carpenter, and show how important they were in the functioning of the local economy. The article on the Bread Charity reveals how the labouring classes in Felsham were very dependent on hand-outs to supplement their meagre wages, particularly in the form of a dole of weekly bread.

Last, but not least we have a fascinating article by Bill Wyman in which he tells how he discovered a previously unknown Roman site in Gedding.

Christopher Bornett (Editor)