Bunwell Heritage Group
  ...publications                                                                                     Home

Vol 2 cover

 

 

VOLUME 2

In this second of a two-volume work, the writers continue to construct their thematically organised history of the village, this time concentrating on the social rather than the commercial aspects of village life. 

However some narratives begun in the first volume needed to be completed and the book opens with chapters on archaeology and coinage found within the area of the village. How St Michael’s Church negotiated the dictates of the Catholics, Protestants and Puritans and its eventual reforming by the Oxford Movement is discussed as is the arrival of the nonconformist movements. 

Talk of the ‘good old days’ needs to be balanced by the experience of cold classrooms, primitive toilets, scarlet fever and corporal punishment; such was the lot of Bunwell’s schoolchildren in the Victorian era.  For most families margins between survival and poverty were thin. Poaching could provide meat for the pot, but was a crime. So were murder, assault, arson, theft and sexual offences; all feature in the book as does the punishment of the transgressors. Whether in poor houses or the workhouse, the parish poor were taken care of but not to an extent that encouraged idleness. Survival was enough. Grinding poverty is a better description. 

Before television and social media filled peoples’ leisure hours, social interaction meant gathering in groups to play sport, produce plays, and to organise and attend fêtes. The village hall provided a centre for these activities. Events leading up to its construction – the years of the ‘Bunwell Show’are described. Memories of a Bunwell childhood spent on a farm round off this social revue. The 173 maps, tables and illustrations and the careful referencing and extensive index make it a valuable resource for historians and genealogists. This volume, published in hardback with a full colour dust jacket, is available from members of the Heritage Group  or by e-mail to info@bunwellhistory.co.uk. Cost £25.00 excluding postage and packing.