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Title: Rural crime and protest in Wiltshire 1830-1875.
Author: Billinge, E.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3464 1496
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 1984
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Throughout the period 1830-1875, the position of the agricultural population of many southern and eastern counties of England, including Wiltshire,, was one of great uncertainty and often dire poverty resulting from chronic seasonal and"structural unemployment. This thesis traces the development of unrest which sprang from the grievances of the rural poor in Wiltshire, from the Swing Riots in the winter of 1830-31, to the emergence of agricultural trade unionism on a national scale, the 'Revolt of the Field', in the early 1870s. For much of this period the poor bargaining position of the agricultural labouring population meant that protest was often expressed anonymously and in criminal forms, notably arson, livestock maiming and threatening letters. Side by side with this underground tradition however, a more organised and open tradition kept up a feeble existence, before establishing itself more strongly in the 1860s and 1870s when the worst rural poverty began to ease. The extent and nature of protest was determined by a complex array of local conditions. This thesis considers first the nature of rural society in Wiltshire, and then criminal activity as an indicator of rural poverty or as a manifestation of protest. Each of the subsequent chapters deals with one of the major areas of protest; Swing rioting, arson, Anti-Corn Law League agitation, strikes and agricultural trade unionism. Each is considered in relation to a number of parishes in an attempt to illustrate how factors such as the nature of settlement and agricultural activity, occupational structure and the availability of alternative employment, and the response of local landowners and farmers, as well as wider economic and political trends, determined the pattern of rural unrest
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology