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Through them we follow the changes in the village itself from the zenith of medieval open-field farming in the thirteenth century to its destruction with the coming of enclosure in the middle of the nineteenth century, right through to the village today.
Firmly based on an enormous wealth of documentary and other evidence gathered over 35 years, the book concentrates on the villagers themselves and portrays them as real people much like us. Drawing on manorial and parish records, wills, inventories, court cases, newspaper reports and a host of other sources, Villagers takes the reader on a journey through time to see our ancestors as they really were.
Villagers is a new book by author James Brown, telling the story of the ordinary Cambridgeshire village of Gamlingay through 750 years of history and bringing the past to life in an extraordinary way.
Villagers introduces us to a myriad of fascinating people from Gamlingay’s history, such as the medieval widow who took a lover and lost her home, the son of an alewife who became Mayor of London and the strutting Tudor gentleman at war with the rest of the village. We meet the husband who sold his wife, another who was too drunk to notice his wife fornicating in public, and the man who built a mansion for himself and his mistress and almost accidentally founded a Cambridge college.
"This fascinating study should inspire local historians everywhere. An impressive and engaging one-place study that reflects the whole of rural England." Your Family Tree
"It’s certainly not your average historical tome. Chatty and full of asides, it is also genuinely funny." Cambridge News
"This book is an easy, interesting, informative and entertaining read, and the author is to be congratulated on his industry and skill. Highly recommended." Bedfordshire Local History Association
"Using documentary evidence, and with great humour, Brown introduces all sorts of characters, entertainingly painting a vivid portrait of rural English communities from 1279 to the present day." Family Tree
"James Brown's style is easy on the eye and has much similarity with Bill Bryson's more historical works, both in the clever use of humor and the high standard of research." Amazon