A house and its people

a house and its people

A history of a demolished house and of its many occupants over time was undertaken. Using several different sources, it was determined that the house was built in the mid-seventeenth century by a family that had held land in the village from at least 1609. All the occupants were traced until demolition of the house in the 1820s. The research uncovered seventeenth-century court cases that shed light on the family's long-running dispute over rights to inhertance and the guardianship of children. The colourful life and career of one of the last occupants, a retired major in the British army brought new perspectives to the history of the house. His ownership was distinguished by visits from senior American political figures and military friends from abroad. An extensive series of personal correspondance and other documents showed the enduring but neverthess fractious relationship between the wealthy major and his extended family struggling to make a living in America.

This case study uncovered a rich vein of sources that revealed the contrasting troubles and fortunes experienced by people living in early modern England and colonial America. The economic difficulties faced by English farmers and the landholding policies of a new lord of the manor led eventually to demolition of the house.

 

 

 

 

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