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Title: Church Broughton Parish, Derbyshire : an oral history, 1900-1940
Author: Arthur, Janet
ISNI:       0000 0004 9354 6490
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2019
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This study is an oral history of a Derbyshire dairying parish during the first forty years of the twentieth century. The aim was to discover the nature and cohesion of society in a parish with no resident lord of the manor, the effects on the parish of changes in agricultural practice and the impact of government interventions on the lives of individuals. The lives of residents were affected by the history and layout of the parish, based on the geography and previous ownership. Having no resident lord of the manor generated a social structure with three layers: firstly, seven key people, outsiders who did not own land, secondly, networks of small landowners and artisans, who had lived there for generations, finally, labourers, many also families of long standing. Religion was important in supporting this social structure. Being an ‘open’ parish had enabled a chapel to be built and the provision of a school, though not all children attended this school. Through widespread ownership, there was a freedom to live and work without being beholden to neighbouring estates, as alternative employment could be found elsewhere for any surplus workers. Mechanisation improved farming practice, but, though government intervention during the First World War helped, the downturn afterwards and competition between farmers meant dairying was precarious, until the foundation of the Milk Marketing Board in 1933 to control production and price. The sale of the Duke of Devonshire’s farms in 1918 to the occupiers and the County Council removed the prestige that his tenants had enjoyed. The retirement of key people, headmaster, church warden farmers and vicar, in the 1920s and 1930s, weakened ties and put greater reliance on government provision. Relationships were further disrupted when entrepreneur Basil Mallender bought Barton Blount, in 1925, and tried to align Church Broughton with his estate and impose his authority, generally against the wishes of villagers, who were accustomed to a cooperative community. Collecting oral contributions and letters from parishioners began in 1972 and was supplemented with documentary evidence from the church chest, Derby Local History Library and Derbyshire County archives. This research is unusual, following the earlier oral history method of George Ewart Evans and Raphael Samuel - open-ended interviews over time, with seventy contributors, that uncovered the feelings people had about their situation - but is also original, because small ‘open’ parishes have not attracted research in the same way as estate parishes. It revealed relationships that showed an ordered and tolerant community enjoying the social aspects of religion and willing to defend itself from Basil Mallender. However, progress in agriculture and greater intervention from government, meant that the experiences contributors described proved to be, in George Ewart Evans words, a ‘prior culture’ on the point of disappearing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available