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Title: Aspects of a microhistory of Sparsholt Hampshire in the nineteenth century
Author: Young, Roger
ISNI:       0000 0000 4283 3562
Awarding Body: University of Winchester
Current Institution: University of Winchester
Date of Award: 2005
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This study of Sparsholt village concentrates on the period from 1841 to 1901, using the decennial Census Enumerators' Books (CEBs). Sparsholt, population around 400 post-1850, is about three miles (five kilometres) northwest of Winchester in the Hampshire downlands, a region of arable farming. For most of the century there were just two major landowners, the Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral and the Hervey Bathurst family of Clarendon Park, Wiltshire; both absentee. In that respect, Sparsholt was therefore neither a typical 'open' nor 'closed' village. The thesis demonstrates that meaningful findings can be obtained with a village having a population of under 500 in 1901, an important issue as the populations of 61.5% of villages in England and Wales were so sized. These results are achieved by linking data from the seven CEBs to a wide range of other local and national sources,considering particularly the impact of the agricultural recession in the last quarter of the century. In contrast, most CEB-based rural studies examine much larger communities, but investigate only one to four CEBs at most, make less in-depth use of other sources and generally do not cover the period of the agricultural recession. In developing Sparsholt's microhistory, the study initially tracks its demographic profile and occupations from the CEBs, and then models its changing socio-economic structure by using other sources and analytical approaches. The latter is achieved by relocating the population found in the 1851 CEB on to contemporary tithe maps and then following the development of each of the main farms and trade or craft businesses and the owners thereof for the rest of the century. Clear evidence is found for the impact of the agricultural recession in the last two decades of the century. The effect is seen through the increase in the average age, changing gender balance and widening birthplace profile of the village. There was also a greater variety of occupations pursued and a progressive consolidation of farmland into the hands of major landowners, who were not traditionally farmers, as historical farmers and owners exited the business. Additionally, increasing democratisation in the village's affairs is observed through electoral enfranchisement and successful trades or craftsmen largely replacing the earlier land-owning farmers in the administrative activities of the village.
Supervisor: James, Tom ; Allen, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available