Jim Pentney, Stroud and Myeloma Fund-Raising


Myeloma UK is a national charity working on awareness and research into the ‘hidden blood cancer’ of which 24,000 people are treated across the country. Jim Pentney was diagnosed two years ago. Since then, he has had a stem cell transplant and last year took part in the charity’s Challenge 24, organised to cover some 24 miles in any interesting way. He went from the Severn at Framilode to the Thames at Lechlade by bike, canoe and van (see photos).

The challenge is more ambitious now, to cycle with a large group from London to Paris in September. James Beecher is kindly providing Jim with an electric bike, the target being for each rider to raise £2000 for the charity.

Here’s Jim’s fundraising link


Here are photos of Jim’s previous Severn escapade:




Dashboard • London Paris Ride

London Paris Ride: Make a donation today to support London Paris Ride


The Moral Economy

Remember the moral economy?

Back in the 18th century when

Citizens would register anger

At unjust wages and unfair prices

With protests, demonstrations, gatherings,

Rioting, strikes, and beating pots and pans

In a cacophony of rough music,

With carnival skimmington processions,

And letters to the landlords and the rich

With a repertoire of collective dissent.

This was the expression and practice

Of the moral economy at work and play:

The belief in ethics and morality,

In justice, fair play and commonality,

Rather than the ‘laws’ of supply and demand:

The red in tooth and claw market forces

Of profit-seeking capitalism.

Remember William Blake:

‘To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower’?

The Heavens, the Long Table, Doverow Hill,

Juniper Hill, Cirencester Park,

Food banks, the cost-of-living crisis:

Once more the moral economy

Is confronted by the search for profit.

What next in the repertoire of dissent,

From the proud traditions and heritage

Of the moral economy?

What next?


Toll Houses and Turnpike Gates

Toll Houses and Turnpike Gates

There’s no rhyme or reason in my turnpike,

Toll house and mile post investigations,

I just walk or ride out on a whim,

But recording rather than re-imagining the past,

Just like a true old school antiquarian –

Armed with my 1967 pamphlet:

Turnpike Houses of the Stroud District.

Cox, C

Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society,

Volume 86, 1967,

Plus maps, notepad, pencils, I-phone and I-pad.

Rodborough was first and easy:

  1. The red brick Pike House by the Prince Albert at the top of Walkley Hill;

At the cross-roads as you’d expect; the adjacent, stone cottage was once the toll house –

‘Miss Pacey … had once been told by a former old inhabitant of Rodborough that the gate was fixed to the wall of the cottage.’ SO 846045

  1. Then along to Butterow SO 856040 – ‘same neo-Gothic style’ as Cainscross, ‘with typical 3-sided front’; ‘It stands where the 1825 road crosses the older hillside track from Rodborough to Bagpath’; it was a sweetshop and tobacconist in 1967; ‘Mr Holbrow of Watledge told the writer that his wife’s grandmother, whose family kept the pike, could remember when young seeing the legs of a man hanged on the gallows dangling out of the cart on the way down the hill.’
  2. The next one was easy as it’s on my way to work – if you cross directly from the Clothier’s Arms to the cobbled lane that leads down to Lodgemore, glance at the building on your left, directly opposite the pub. This was a corner shop when we moved here in the mid-1980s, but there was once ‘The Anchor Gate’ SO 844049 here, commanding the Bath Road and the canal.
  3. A walk over the canal leads you up to the Cainscross Road; cross at the pelican to reach the junction of Beard’s Lane and Cainscross Road: the site of ‘Prospect Place’ SO 841052; ‘Until recently a one-storey small toll-house stood at the junction of Beard’s Lane with the Cainscross Road, opposite Murder Lane. At present the site is only shown by a tarmac patch just outside the start of Beard’s Lane. The site was much resented in the 19th
  4. Little Mill, Stroud, SO 854055: ‘At the far end of Park Gardens, Slad Road, is a private track, on the north side of which stood the toll-house.’
  5. Bowbridge needed a bike ride SO 858804 – ‘A toll-house stood at the NE corner of the crossing of Bowbridge Lane and the New London Road. The original route from Stroud to Chalford was up Nelson Street, along Lower Street and down Bowbridge Lane to near the canal bridge, where it turned left up what is now the “road to Gunhouse”, for the hill-side route to Chalford. This older track was cut across by the building of the new Stroud – Chalford turnpike road, and a few years ago the remaining buildings of the Bowbridge “loop” were demolished, and the old road is now blocked off.’
  6. Next up: Stroud Hill SO 869052 at the junction of Bisley Road and Bisley Old Road – ‘The spot is still known as The Pike. It may not have been long in use, but some of the stones at the base of the wall of the small enclosure are probably the remains of the house.’
  7. Burnt Ash 886012: ‘This is at the corner of the junction of the road from Tetbury and Avening with the Cirencester-Minchinhampton road, opposite the Ragged Cot. The former cottages have gone …’
  8. Hyde Gate, Minchinhampton SO 858012: ‘Just down the turning to Hyde and Chalford, near The Ragged Cot, … is a stone cottage … Across the road were said to be the shattered remains of the former gate post in the hedge, but the writer was unable to verify.’
  9. Near Forwood, Minchinhampton, 869005: An 1801 Act allowed the alteration of “the road from Nailsworth via Howcombe Hill and Iron Mill Hill up Well Hill” passing “Forwood and Trap End Gate to the West End of Minchinhampton”. ‘A cottage stands on the likely spot, at the junction of roads below Well Hill, but doeas not resemble a toll-house in position or appearance … it has not yet been investigated.’
  10. Woefuldane SO 879003: ‘The site is a long, narrow close between Hollybush Farm and Woefuldane Bottom, on the road from Hampton Fields to Minchinhampton. It is now covered by rough grass, below the level of the field behind, and is marked by a tree, though the actual house site (which was roughly in the centre of the close) has not yet been located.’
  11. Then down to the junction of Stratford Road and Wick Street – ‘Road widening has now quite obliterated the site of Stroud’s first toll-house’ (c.1734). SO 858056
  12. Salmon Springs at SO 847060 once had a toll-house: ‘This stood opposite the track to Callowell, the site being now obliterated by the brick building of the brewery.’
  13. Paganhill is handy for work SO 837056: ‘The toll-house stood at the junction of the Stroud-Paganhill-Cainscross road with roads to Whiteshill and Puckshole, opposite Paganhill Lane. This is the original road to Stroud from the west, replaced by the present Cainscross Road.’
  14. Cainscross SO 835049 is handy, if I want to walk that way home after work. This is how it was described in 1967: ‘The crenallations over the front bay have gone, the charges board has gone … the bay itself is now part of a barber’s shop, while the garden of course is no more … the smithy and cottages across the Dudbridge road have already been demolished, and the milestone temporarily removed. It is to be hoped that this interesting early neo-Gothic toll-house will not have to be destroyed… There was a riot here in 1734 (“on Sunday night, the 19th June 1734, whilst in a house situate near the turnpike at Cainscross, a tumultuous company of disguised people sounding a horn, and playing a fiddle, and armed with firearms and other weapons, came up to the turnpikes and commenced hewing with axes; and when deponent [William Bennet, innholder] looked out about two hours after, he saw that the turnpikes were utterly demolished.”).
  15. Dudbridge is handy for shopping at Sainsbury’s SO 838044: This was one of the original toll-houses of the Nailsworth Turnpike … built about 1783 … its site would seem to be covered by the Midland Railway embankment.’
  16. Then up the hill: Selsley Hill SO 835042 ‘The site is about opposite the cricket ground where the slope slightly levels out. Dwellings have been built up the left hand side of the road, but the site is probably where a track enters the road by a gate.’
  17. Lightpill next at Kitenest Lane’s junction (SO 840038) with ‘the new Nailsworth road. The building was demolished only a few years ago … the typical functional shape.’
  18. The Lightpill again SO 840041:‘Cyprus Inn – ‘This is a doubtful site, the only evidence so far being on the 1st edition 1-inch map which marks T.P. here … There is no indication on the Tithe map of a pike-house, and it may be that the site was a temporary bar, using the inn, before the piking of The Anchor Gate near the Clothiers’ Arms.
  19. The Spout, Woodchester SO 843027; ‘The site is on the N.E. corner of the junction of the road from the Bear Inn with the main Nailsworth Road, opposite Hillgrove … frequently used for meetings of Trustees in the 1780s …’
  20. Woodchester Park Stile, Southfield Road, SO 841028: ‘Pike Cottage stands on the S.E. corner of the junction of Southfields Road’ and the road from Selsley down to the A46. ‘A small hatch-like window gives on to Southfield Road.’
  21. Inchbrook (by The Crown) 843008: ‘This was on the outside of the bend of the road by The Crown and was one of the original toll-houses on the Nailsworth Turnpike. A stream passes by the site … ‘
  22. Nailsworth Turnpike 851998: ‘This is a very difficult site to identify … the main entrance to Chamberlain’s Mill’ [?] ‘but it may previously have been at slightly different points … the first site was probably below the Mill; and the keeper, John Hyde, was attacked at least twice in the early years.’ Then in 1790, after those early years, there was a start on the “New Road from the Bridge at Nailsworth through Howcombe and the Well Hill to join the Tetbury Road in Minchinhampton Town” ‘and when this road was opened , the surveyor was to be “empowered to sell the Turnpike House in the possession of John Hyde at the foot of Nailsworth Hill and to build a turnpike house where the new and old roads divide and to erect a gate across the New Road adjoining the said house.” Road alterations have complicated the issue, the earlier road toward High Beech having been … to the left of and considerably lower than the present pitch … At present the writer must confess he cannot positively identify the site.’
  23. Nailsworth – junction of Horsley and Shortwood roads, SO 847993: ‘a rectangular cottage with no obvious functional features … The house does not now stand on the actual road corner, but it seems possible that the adjoining cottage was built between the toll-house and the Shortwood road; making this now a right-angle junction, where formerly there would have been room to turn.’
  24. Horsley Road 843985: ‘3-sided front … blocked-up recess … The toll-board recess is now blocked-up but the outline of its arch is still visible.’
  25. Tiltups End (Horsley – Tetbury road; now a track) 845973: Started in 1782, demolished in 1965 – ‘The plate of the adjacent milestone was found behind the house, and has now been replaced on its milestone, which, though broken, has now been built into the new road-side wall … Mr Kimsbrey of Tiltups End informed the writer that his grandmother was the last pike-keeper, and got 2s 6d a week” and lamp oil”. She had to board some of her family as the cottage was too small.’
  26. Hazel Cottage, Nailsworth, 852996: ‘this is the complement to … Avening Pike, and barred the NW end of the new valley road … Hazel Cottage is a villa replacing the earlier toll-house … and stood opposite the track leading up to the cricket ground. Known as Hazelwood Toll House.’
  27. Avening 881980: ‘The toll-house was originally a small cottage with an asymmetrical 3-sided front. To this other building has been added …’
  28. Culver Hill, near Amberley, 845015: ‘For some time a toll-house stood near Quarry Hilll close to Culver House … probably only of short duration … The site has not been positively identified, but would most probably have been at the junction of the road to St. Chloe, nearly opposite the lane to Culver House, where the common ends.’
  29. Balls Green 866995: ‘The site lies within the ground of existing cottage where a side-track from the left enters the Nailsworth-Minchinhampton road via the Iron Mills, at Balls Green … possibly of short duration.’
  30. Up the hill to Stancombe SO 897069: ‘At the junction of the old Stroud-Bisley road with the Cirencester-Bisley –Painswick route, now largely abandoned, along which Charles the First’s army is said to have marched from Tetbury to the siege of Gloucester in 1643’; ‘To the typical 3-fronted shape have been added a porch and a wing.’
  31. Holbrook Farm, Calfway, SO 906075: ‘Twin cottages stand on the right just before the turning to Througham … This cross-route, Bath to Cheltenham, would be of little more than local importance after the improvement of the Minchinhampton-Stroud road and new routes through the Slad valley and later through Painswick. One point of interest is the date 1742 on the stone gatepost opposite the cottages.’
  32. Pass The Camp SO 914092: ‘The toll-house stood on the left immediately before the first building of The Camp, and in Autumn 1965 the site was being covered by a new construction.’
  33. Then carry on to Fostons Ash SO 914114 Opposite the pub ‘is a long, narrow enclosure now occupied by conifer seedlings. The toll house stood at the north end of this close, about opposite the milestone, and just beyond the parish boundary, the parish stone still being in situ across the inner field wall.’
  34. Holloway, Bisley, SO 906054: ‘Three stone buildings stand in echelon at the road junction of Holloway. Here meet the roads from Bisley to Chalford, to Oakridge, the Holloway to Jaynes Lane, and also an old, now abandoned, track to Rookswood in the Holy Brook Valley. The actual toll house … was probably the most southerly of the three.’
  35. A bike rode to Painswick takes in quite a haul: Washwell SO 869101 – ‘Melrose Cottage, Cheltenham Road, Painswick, stands out at the junction with the main road of Pullens Road, opposite Lower Washwell Lane. It is a straight-faced stone cottage to which later additions have been made at the back. It was identified by the occupant, Mrs Leech, who said her older relatives referred to it as the Pike … the former road from Gloucester Street towards Clattergrove before the main Cheltenham Road was built, ran behind this house.’
  36. Then the Eagle Inn, Painswick Road, at the junction with Wragg Castle Lane SO 854084: A toll-house stood ‘in the corner of the grounds of the present residence.’
  37. Near The Culls, Wick Street, SO 850062: Wick Street used to be ‘the route from Stroud to Painswick and Gloucester … a track led to down to Salmon’s Mill shortly before The Culls. The old toll-house stood on the far side of this track, though not on the site of the present building along this stretch of road. It was probably not long in existence as a toll-house.’
  38. Butt Green, Painswick SO 867101: The toll-house ‘stood at what was the top end of Painswick (Gloucester Street) opposite the pound and just before the 6th milestone, from which it is now separated by a new road. There isd a shed with a hatch on the site, but from the appearance of the stones it does not seem likely that the actual building has survived even in the vestigial form of a wall.’
  39. On another day, bike out to Haywards Field/Ryeford Road junction SO 812047/813047 – A toll-house ‘stood where the road from King’s Stanley and Ryeford enters the main Stroud-Stonehouse road, and is now obliterated by road-widening.’ There was ‘An earlier site … however … The road alignments at the approaches to Stonehouse differed from the present ones before the building of the G.W. Railway … The earlier site was somewhat to the west of the later one.’
  40. Then on to Horsemarling, Stonehouse SO 806062 – ‘This appears to have been on the east side of the road, just north of the present terraced houses before the turning to Horsemarling Lane … the site has not been positively identified.’
  41. Canal Bridge, Frampton, 746085: Similar style as The Perryway – ‘They were probably specially designed, and in brick, of one storey only, with a central chimney stack, but lack any special feature as a toll-house.’
  42. The Perryway, the junction with Nastfield Lane 763071: Similar to Frampton Canal Bridge, ‘but with a double frontage … In August 1966 it was empty, awaiting demolition.’
  43. Frampton Green 750082 – There was originally a bar ‘at both ends of the Green … and … close to The Bell … probably the pike-keeper’s hut, by the western gate … likely that this was the toll site, but that when the Berkeley Canal was extended past Frampton, the more convenient site [Frampton Canal Bridge], at the junction of the Saul and Framilode road with the road to Fretherne and Arlingham was chosen instead.’
  44. Claypits Farm, Alkerton, 767058: ‘Now obliterated, the site was close to a field boundary just south-east of Claypits Farm.’
  45. Little Haresfield SO 803091: ‘A bus shelter now occupied the site, which is at the right-hand corner of this T-junction.’
  46. Pike Lock, Eastington, 784061: ’This stood on the north side of the canal, where the Stonehouse-Whitminster road was entered by the Alkerton road, at the canal bridge … it was demolished to make way for a canal lock-keeper’s house. The writer was told in 19164 that the toll-board had been removed when the building was demolished and stored in a shed – which got burnt down …’
  47. Whitminster Cross Roads 776080: ‘This site would appear to have been on the south-east corner of these cross-roads … one of the original three toll sites on the Severn to Stroud roads, these appearing as Stroud, Cains Cross and Wheatenhurst. Nothing is known to the writer of its appearance or when it ceased to exist.’
  48. Horsepools Hill 841108: ‘This L-shaped building on the left about half-way down Horsepools Hill is known locally as Pike Cottage, though it stands in an unlikely position on a not-inconsiderable slope … it would seem to have had only a short existence as an actual toll-house.’
  49. Frocester Court 788028: ‘The toll-house is joined to a larger, later house … the southern of the two is obviously the older.’
  50. Frocester Hill cottages 793019: ‘At the base of the hill, the earlier route turned up sharp left and zigzagged up to the Nympsfield road. The present alignment to the right was made in 1784 … On a level stretch of the older route is a cottage …it may … have been a toll-house before the one at the top of the old hill-road [Nympsfield Hill 795014] … was built. But the identification is very tentative.’
  51. Nympsfield Hill 795014: ‘opposite the entrance to Woodchester Park and the road to Nympsfield stands a low shed … Inspection of the interior however [indicates] a dwelling … seems to be the remains of the toll-house that stood here before the 1784 realignment was made up Frocester Hill … the road to Uley was not built until 1822.’
  52. Tinkley Farm 824002: ‘There is cartographical evidence of a toll-site here, but the writer has not yet come across evidence of this as a turnpike road, though clearly it must have been in some group. The actual building has gone, and various farm buildings occupy the presumed site.’
  53. Ragged Barn 822983: ‘This site … stands at the junction of the old Nympsfield Road with the newer alignment from Horsley.’
  54. Brockworth SO 891152: Just by Green Street – ‘An architectural palimpsest. The front of the toll-house, recognisable by the recess over the door projects forward from a larger stone cottage apparently built round and over the first building; the large stone quins of the earlier building were left. The remains of the frontage were extended upward by brick courses, and a brick building added on the other side to the stone cottage.’
  55. Walls Quarry, Brimscombe SO 866201: ‘This is a small square cottage to which is joined a later building, formerly a bakery – it stands at a track junction nearly opposite the entrance to Brimscombe Church, on one of the few level stretches up this steep hill.’
  56. The Bourne SO 876021/2: ‘Unfortunately no relics of either site now remain’; one toll-house stood ‘just south of the railway bridge, and is probably to be identified by the track running alongside the base of the embankment, which could be the original alignment of the Stroud-Chalford turnpike road … when the railway was built, the Chalford road was realigned higher up the slope, and a new toll-house would then be built where the newer entrance to the Toadsmoor Valley road joined the newer Chalford road.’
  57. Near Brimscombe Bridge SO 867025: ‘The only evidence seems to be on the 1819 map of Stroud. It was probably only a catch bar on the lane linking the old and new roads, between the milestone and Brimscombe Bridge.’
  58. Chalford Church SO 892025: ‘Some large stones on the corner by the stores opposite the canal bridge and the church may represent the site: there seem to be old quoins built into the wall. It is a possibility … that here … an earlier toll site existed on the other side of the canal before the railway was built.’
  59. Cowcombe Lane SO 907022: ‘At the top of Cowcombe Hill the road levels out and turns left, opposite the narrow lane leading to Aston Down. The toll-house site is just before the bend. The stone footings remain, about 12 feet square, in a walled close, the well down the slope now being covered in, but with the iron hands for the turning handle still extant.’
  60. Frampton Mansell SO 925018 Pike Lane: ‘two cottages on the south side of the road to Cirencester opposite Pike Lane. In 1963 an elderly occupant told the writer that when she first moved there about 40 years before, a letter arrived for a previous occupant, addressed to ‘Pike Cottage’,
  61. Longtree Cross Roads, Chavenage Green, 877960: ‘This cross-roads, close to the presumed Hundred meeting place, was formerly of greater importance, the eastward road being called London Road or London Lane … the westward … leading to Chavenage Green probably being the connecting link with the [Roman] route from the Severn crossing’; ‘The toll-house stood in a close by the north-western corner of the cross-roads, but the site is now a dump for road materials.’
  62. Tetbury 888935: ‘the first gate on the Tetbury-Avening-Minchinhampton road … demolished to widen the road’ in 1821.
  63. Latterwood, Tetbury, 808971 and 810977: ‘The earlier site lies on the west end of the road, some way before the fork in the Old Bath Road, right to Symons Hall, left t0 Ashel Barn and Tetbury’. The second site ‘presumably dating from the construction of the new Horsley Road, is at the junction of the Old Bath Road with the road to Horsley, the site is now a road materials dump, but a toll-house of typical 3-sided frontage stood there as late as the 1930s’.




‘This survey does not claim to be exhaustive. Some toll-gates mentioned in documents have not yet been identified’ – for example, ‘Rockness Hill near Horsley, Bowle Hill near Rodborough.’

Standing by some deserted country cross-roads,

Twilight gloom, the flight of a bat, the cry of an owl –

It’s hard to imagine that this was once an important thoroughfare,

An admired example of enlightenment modernity:

A turnpike road, improved by turnpike trust funds,

By labourers with barrow, pick and shovel,

By surveyors with rod and line, shouting instructions.

It’s hard to imagine that there was once a toll house here,

With lumbering carts led by teams of eight horses,

Coaches fleet of wheel and horn,

Passengers muffled against the rain and storm,

Farmers with flock and herd,

Travellers with tall tales of highwaymen,

Would-be rioters in barn, inn and beer house,

Itinerants criminalised by Vagrancy Acts,

Enclosure and toll-gates,

Sightseers following in the wake of King George,

On their way from the waters at Cheltenham,

To view the locks at Wallbridge,

The tunnel at Sapperton,

All stopping here to pay their dues at the turnpike gate.

But now, all there is,

Is a tell-tale quoin within a Cotswold stone wall,

A milepost,

A deserted crossroads,

The screech of a bat,

The cry of an owl,

And darkening Cotswold cumulus.

But if like Coleridge, Wordsworth and de Quincey,

You place your ear to the road,

You might just catch the sound of a far-off coach,

The reverberations heralding its advent:

‘You either see it, or you don’t’:

Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.



Chartism and Voting 1839-2024

(With thanks to Deborah Roberts for the memories above

from our tribute to the Chartist meeting at Selsley in 1839)

Getting the Right to Vote Wasn’t Easy

An Easy Guide to this History


In 1819, in Manchester, a perfectly legal peaceful meeting of over 60,000 women and men campaigning for the vote for working people was attacked by the military. Over 400 were wounded and 18 died: ‘The Peterloo Massacre’.


At that time, the aristocracy essentially controlled parliament: less than 10% of men had the vote. Then in 1832, middle class men gained the vote. This increased the electorate to about 20% of men. Working-class men and all women were still voteless. Many working-class people had campaigned hard for the vote and had helped the middle classes but were left excluded, disappointed and angry.


This disappointment helped lead to the movement known as Chartism. It was called that because it had a Charter (‘The People’s Charter’) with Six Points that would bring political rights to ordinary people.


The Six Points: 1. All adult males to have the vote rather than needing to own property to vote. 2. Ending the law that you had to own property to be an MP. 3. Make sure that industrial working-class towns and cities had the right number of MPs. 4. MPs to be paid so that it wouldn’t be a hobby of the rich and ordinary working-class people could afford to become MPs.5. Secret voting to stop bribery and intimidation by bosses and landlords etc. 6. Annual parliaments to ensure MPs and governments kept their promises.


The Chartists presented three petitions to parliament (1839, 1842, 1848) with millions of signatures in support: each one was rejected by a parliament setting its face against democracy. Indeed, Chartist leaders faced not only imprisonment but also transportation and execution. It needed courage to stand up for the right to vote and millions showed that courage. Let’s not let them down: this is our heritage!


Remember that! Please honour this memory by ensuring that you are registered to vote!


And also remember the mass-meeting of 5,000 people in support of the People’s Charter on Selsley Hill in 1839 (twenty years after ‘Peterloo’). Our local ancestors took a lot of risks on that day to show their support for the Six Points – so let’s remember that in Stroud and the Five Valleys and beyond by making sure we are registered to vote. They showed courage up there on Selsley Common. Let’s not let them down.


Now for a short quiz: 1. Which of the Six Points has not become law? 2. Can you find out when each of the other five became law? 3. When did all women over the age of 21 get the vote? 4. And men? 5. About what percentage of soldiers in the First World War did not have the vote? 6. When did people over the age of 18 get the vote? 7. What are your opinions on lowering the voting-age to 16?


Finally … Chartism was a movement of its time and focused on men … but not solely …

The following is from the hugely-popular Chartist newspaper, the Northern Star, from 1839:

‘Address of the Female Political Union of Newcastle-upon-Tyne

to their Fellow-countrywomen’
‘We have been told that the province of woman is her home, and that the field of politics should be left to men; this we deny … For years we have struggled to maintain our homes … greet our husbands after their fatiguing labours. Year after year have passed away, and even now our wishes have no prospect of being realised, our husbands are over wrought, our houses half furnished, our families ill-fed, and our children uneducated … We are a despised caste, our oppressors are not content with despising our feelings, but demand the control of our thoughts and wants!’


We remember the fallen at Remembrance-tide.

Let’s also remember the Chartists and register to vote at Election-tide.


If you want to find out more about Chartism nationally, you can visit http://radicalstroud.co.uk/the-5-ws-and-the-h-of-chartism/


If you want to find out more about the meeting on Selsley Common, you can visit http://radicalstroud.co.uk/we-put-on-our-best-blouses-aprons-and/

And also http://radicalstroud.co.uk/selsley-hill-august-2nd-2013-and-may/


Workshop of the World

Workshop of the World

Raphael Samuel

Edited by John Merrick

Verso 2024

An extract to stimulate similar writing

about Stroud and the Five Valleys

through a cooperative collective endeavour

with people proffering a couple of sentences or more

about trades and jobs and sights to be seen

through the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.


‘The orthodox account of the industrial revolution concentrates on the rise of steam power and machinery, and the spread of the factory system … But if one looks at the economy as a whole rather than at its most novel and striking features, a less orderly canvas might be drawn – one bearing more resemblance to a Breugel or even a Hieronymus Bosch than to the geometrical regularities of a modern abstract. The industrial landscape would be seen to be full of diggings and pits, as well as tall factory chimneys. Smithies would sprout in the shadows of the furnaces, sweatshops in those of the looms. Agricultural labourers might take up the foreground, armed with sickle or scythe, while behind them troops of women and children would be bent double over the ripening crops in the field, pulling charlock, hoeing nettles, or cleaning the furrows of stones. In the middle distance there might be navvies digging sewers and paviours laying flags. On the building sites there would be a bustle of man-powered activity, with housepainters on ladders, and slaters nailing roofs. Carters would be loading and unloading horses, market women carrying baskets of produce on their heads; dockers balancing weights. The factories would be hot and steamy, with men stripped to the singlet, and juvenile runners in bare feet. At the lead works women would be carrying pots of poisonous metal on their heads, in the bleachers’ shed they would be stitching yards of chlorine cloth, at a shoddy mill sorting rags. Instead of calling his picture ‘machinery’ the artist might prefer to name it ‘toil’.’

Rights of Common


Common Right, Enclosure and Social Change in England, 1700-1820

J.M. Neeson

Some gleaning made from this uncommon text,

So as to share knowledge in common:

Timothy Nourse in Campania Felix, or a Discourse of the Benefits and Improvements in Husbandrywrote thus of commoners in 1700:

‘very rough and savage in their Dispositions’ with ‘leveling Principles’ which make them ‘refractory to Government’, ‘insolent and tumultuous’.

Worse than animals, he averred,

commoners had to be chastised

and controlled rather than cultivated.

In 1781, an anonymous observer of squatters and those living on common land in forest, heathland or on ‘waste’ viewed them as ‘more perverse, and more wretched’, living in ‘habitations of squalor, famine and disease’ amounting to ‘most fruitful seminaries of Vice’ where lies ‘sloth the parent of vice and poverty begotten and born of this said right of Common. I saw its progress into the productive fields of lying, swearing, thieving – I saw the seeds of honesty almost eradicated.’

He commented on those living in Hampshire forests on common land; ‘idle, useless and disorderly’, attracted to ‘pilfering and stealing.’ He was similarly minded when in Herefordshire’s Black Mountains:commoners were subject to ‘IDLENESS, the fell ROOT of which VICE always finds it easy to graft her most favourite plants.’

Ah! Protestant self-help thrifty busy virtues,

Where are you when we need you?

You lazy good for nothing commoners.

Go and read Robinson Crusoe,

(Tawney and Weber too for us)

If only you could read.

But don’t follow W.H. Davies:

‘What is this life if full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.’

Stop wasting time.

Gathering fuel on the commons indeed.


Tending to and milking a cow.

Looking out for rabbits.

Gathering fruits, berries and nuts.

Being satisfied with that you have.

Or exchanging surplus so as to just get by.

Lending or borrowing tools.

Enough is not as good as a feast, I say.

I call that a fast.

We need more of everything – apart from commons,

And shared open fields, of course.

And commoners and squatters, of course.


More enclosure. More arable. More pasture.

Greater efficiency. Higher yields. Higher rents.

Higher profits.

And more labourers working for a wage.

And those labourers will have more children.

And a greater population is needed for the King,

The army, the Empire, and our endless wars against the French.

Neeson wrote that the ‘argument about the legitimacy of ending common right in the eighteenth century was more than a conflict between the moral economy and the self-interested individualism of agrarian capitalism. Increasingly it was also a debate over how best to serve the national interest. Or, more exactly, and crucially, a debate about what sort of society best served that interest …’

And, ‘best served by the industry, independence and patriotism of a flourishing peasantry’ or ‘served best by a multitudinous, fecund, ever-growing proletariat, no matter how poor …’

‘But behind both views was a fundamental concern

with Britain’s economy and political hegemony.’

A List of Wars from the 18th Century to the end of the Napoleonic Wars

1. War of the Spanish Succession 1701-14

2. Great Northern War 1717-20

3. War of Austrian Succession 1740

4. Carnatic Wars 1744-63

5. Seven Years War 1756-63

6. Anglo-Mysore Wars 1766-99

7. First Anglo-Maratha War 1775-82

8. American Revolutionary War 1775-83

9. French Revolutionary Wars 1792-1802

10. Napoleonic Wars 1802-15

11. Second Anglo-Maratha War 1802-05

12. War against the USA 1812

13. Anglo-Nepalese War 1813-16

Enclosers, of course, weren’t thinking of all these endless wars

as they took over the common fields …

Neeson again: ‘But this does not mean that “good” agriculture triumphed over “bad”, like some conquering hero in a gothic romance. It means that one mode of agricultural production gave way to another. (“Backward” agriculture is itself an astonishingly narrow concept. It assumes that productivity alone defines the many relationships, social as well as economic, that agriculture represents.) In the end, enclosers enclosed for a number of reasons: chief among them the prospect of higher rents, a belief in the efficiency of larger, consolidated holdings, and an emotional and intellectual commitment to a more individualized production, to private enterprise. The conquering hero is more accurately described as an investing landlord or an enterprising freeholder. But neither the higher rents nor the (arguably) more efficient units of enclosed villages, nor the change in the zeitgeist of the agricultural establishment should be taken to mean that before enclosure agriculture was necessarily badly run, or backward. Communal regulation did not mean inadequate regulation. The system may have been less productive if we define productivity in terms of agricultural production, though we should note that the jury on this is still out.’

It wasn’t just the fuel – wood, turf, furze, bracken,

Or the food or the grazing that gave sustenance,

It was also the community of reciprocity;

The sharing, the mutuality

That fashioned a community,

And the arranged or happenstance meeting

In field, lane, pathway, Holloway, baulk or common,

And the ensuing conversation

And sharing of the time of day

(‘Good morrow, Gossip Joan,

Where have you been a-walking? …’);

And ‘wasting time’ didn’t mean laziness,

It might have been incomprehensible to the elite,

But the lower orders could have an eye for the picturesque too,

You didn’t have to be educated to have an eye for the sublime:

John Clare textualized what many saw and felt:

‘How fond the rustics ear at leisure dwells

On the soft soundings of his village bells

As on a Sunday morning at his ease

He takes his rambles just as fancys please

Down narrow baulks that intersect the fields

Hid in profusion that its produce yields

Long twining peas in faintly misted greens

And wing leafed multitudes of crowding beans

And flighty oatlands of a lighter hue.’

But it’s true to say that the Protestant virtues

Of frugality, economy and thrift

Were also fashioning this way of life.

But the critics of commons could only see

A lazy, indolent absence of ambition –

But if needs were few, then there was time

For recreation and ‘Saint Monday’ traditions;

There was no tyranny of the clock,

No outlook that ‘time was money’ …

But energy was there in abundance,

And to use an anachronism,

‘Time-Management’ too, as in this case study

Of enclosure and the Beautiful Game:

The Northampton Mercury contained an ‘advertisement for a football match’ at the end of July 1765 to take place over two days, August 1stand 2nd: ‘This is to give notice to all Gentlemen, Gamesters and Well-Wishers to the cause now in Hand. That there will be a FOOT-BALL play in the Fields of Haddon … for a Prize of considerable value … All Gentlemen Players are desired to appear in any of the Public Houses in Haddon aforesaid each day between the hours of ten and twelve in the Forenoon, where they will be joyfully received and entertained.’

On Monday 4th August 1765, the Northampton Mercury reported thus:

‘We hear from West Haddon in this County, that on Thursday and Friday last a great Number of People being assembled there in order to play a Foot-Ball Match, soon after meeting formed themselves into a Tumultuous Mob, and pulled up and burnt the Fences designed for the Inclosure of that Field, and did other considerable Damage; many of whom are since taken up by a Party of General Mordaunt’s Dragoons sent from this Town.’

Football matches are just one example

Of a whole repertoire of opposition

To the supporters of enclosure:

Grumbling, counter-petitioning,

Refusal to cooperate with surveyors,

Tearing down hedges and fences,

Writing formal letters of opposition,

Leaving threatening letters of opposition,

Refusal to sign enclosure bills,

Refusal to sign sundry legal documents,

Stealing boundary markers,

Removing indicators of field boundaries,

Writing local landscape poems,

Expressing anger in public,

Expressing feelings of violation,

Ensuring those feelings were shared communally

And transmitted through the generations:

Here is an example – a full generation

After enclosure had hit this particular village:

‘To the Gentlemen of Ashill, Norfolk,

This is to inform you that you have by this time brought us under the heaviest burden and into the hardest Yoke we ever knowed; it is too hard for us to bear … You do as you like, you rob the poor of their Commons right, plough the grass up that God send to grow, that a poor man may feed a Cow, Pig, Horse, nor Ass; lay muck and stones in the road to prevent the grass growing. If a poor man is out of work and wants a day or two’s work you will give him 6d. per week … There is 5 or 6 of you have gotten the whole of the land in this parish in your own hands and you would wish to be rich and starve all the other part of the parish …

Gentlemen, these few lines are to inform you that God Almighty have brought our blood to a proper circulation, that have been in a very bad state a long time, and now without alteration of the foresaid, we mean to circulate your blood with the leave of God.’

And here’s John Clare:

‘Inclosure came and trampled on the grave

Of labours rights and left the poor a slave

And memorys pride ere want to wealth did bow

is both the shadow and the substance now …’

And John Clare again:

‘That good old fame the farmers earnd of yore

That made as equals not as slaves the poor

That good old fame did in two sparks expire

A shooting coxcomb and. hunting Squire

And their old mansions that was dignified

With things far better than the pomp of pride …

Where master son and serving man and clown

Without distinction daily sat them down …

These have all vanished like a dream of good …’

And the folklore passed through the generations:

‘The law locks up the man or woman

Who steals the goose from off the common

But leaves the greater villain loose

Who steals the common off the goose.’

And when we look at the opposition to enclosure,

And the repertoire of dissent,

We must remember that not only

Are the textual records incomplete

(You have to keep secrets, don’t you?),

But that the repertoire of dissent’s

Oral opposition within an oral culture

Is, of course, impossible to recapture:

The hatred, bitterness, sense of violation,

Feelings of robbery, jobbery, misery and theft,

The loss of gleaning rights and rights of estover,

The loss of pasture and right to roam:

All, of course, the intangible history

Of all those villagers and commoners

’Condemned to the enormous condescension of posterity’.

In conclusion, john Clare again:

The Lament of Swordy Well:

In Swordy Well a piece of land

That fell upon the town

Who worked me till I couldn’t stand

&crush me now Im down

There was a time my bit of ground

Made freeman of the slave

The ass no pindard dare to pound

When I his supper gave

The gypseys camp was not afraid

I made his dwelling free

Till vile enclosure came & made

A parish slave of me

Alas dependence thou’rt a brute

Want only understands

His feelings wither branch & root

That falls in parish hands


What of letter writing & formality,

Using the goose and common trope?

A case study:

A letter sent to the Marquess of Anglesey:

‘Where is now the degree of virtue which can withstand interest? …

Should a poor man take one of Your sheep from the common, his life would be forfeited by law. But should You take the common from a hundred poor mens sheep, the law gives no redress. The poor man is liable to be hung from taking from You what would supply You with a meal & You would do nothing illegal by depriving him of his subsistence; nor is Your family supplied for a day by a subtraction which distresses his for life! … Yet the causers of crimes are more guilty than the perpetrators. What must be the inference of the poor? when they see those who should be their patterns defy morality for gain, especially when, if wealth could give contentment, they had enough wherewith to be satisfied. And when the laws ae not accessible to the injured poor and Government gives them no redress.’

The Marquis replied thus:

‘Excepting as the mere fact of the Inclosure, the forming of which no one has a right to contest, All your statements are without foundation & as your language is studiously Offensive I must decline any further communication with you.’

‘The law locks up the man or woman

Who steals the goose from off the common

But leaves the greater villain loose

Who steals the common off the goose.

The law demands that we atone

When we take things we do not own

But leaves the lords and ladies fine

Who take things that are yours and mine.’

For anyone for whom John Clare is a new discovery:



The Lonely Tree

With thanks to Bob Fry

Edited letter from Henry Burgh, Justice of the Peace,

to the Home Secretary, Lord John Russell, M.P. for Stroud:

‘Rodborough, March 29th, 1839, 6p.m.

My Lord I acknowledge receipt of Your Lordship’s Directions this morning.

I have taken measures to have them put into Execution.

Some of the Chartists came to Stroud yesterday Evening,

and today about quarter past two about 500 marched

up Rodborough Hill by my house with 9 Flags

and a strange Band of Musick…

I have stopped the Beer Shops and Publick Houses…

There are several policemen placed…’

‘Did you see any of that, Beech Tree?

Did you hear any of that, Beech Tree?

Did you hear the huzzahs for the Chartists?

And the catcalls for Lord John Russell?

Did you hear the Chartists’ Six Points,

And the declamation of the People’s Charter?

Did you see those famous national Chartist leaders:

The charismatic Henry Vincent

And the Botany Bay bound John Frost,

Up there on the horse drawn wagon,

That served as hustings for the disenfranchised?’

‘I came into this world on March 29th, 1839,

Stirred into life about two o’clock in the afternoon

By that march of hundreds of Chartists

Campaigning for the vote for working people.

It wasn’t just the light that summoned me

From my sheltered subterranean home,

It was curiosity and affinity too.

And here I have stood since then,

Offering shelter and succour and shade

To one and all,

Regardless of birth, origins, status,

Identity, orientation, gender, race or ability;

A tree that stood on a common,

That sprang to life one early Victorian spring,

Called from the earth by the tramp of hundreds,

And a sympathy for their aspirations,

Growing stronger through the centuries,

Springtide sap rising with democracy.

But don’t call me the Lonely Tree.

For just like the sycamore of the Tolpuddle Martyrs,

I am a tree of the commons and the commoners.

I am anything but a Lonely Tree.

Only those without a knowledge of this history

Could call me a Lonely Lonesome Tree.

I am a tree of the People.

I am the tree of the Commons.

I am the Commoners’ Tree.’



            Cast your mind back to the turn of the year:

‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Season’s Greetings’, ‘Happy New Year’ …

And Ben and Bexie in the doorway at Peacock’s

In their sleeping bags with books and a chess set

In the incessant torrents of December;

It was Ben and Bexie who galvanised me

As I faced the welter of Christmas charity appeals;

I didn’t know where to contribute – so many!

And as someone brought up on the adage,

‘Parity not Charity’,

I’ve always felt ambivalent about charity:

Patching up the status quo and all that,

But as William Blake said,

You can see the world in a grain of sand,

So, you can be charitable at the micro level

While keeping your eye on the ball the rich are having …

But I was also brought up in a Christian manner,

So here comes Corinthians 13.13,

The Three Divine Virtues,

Faith, Hope and Charity:

‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity,

these three; but the greatest of these is charity.’

And so here I am and so here we are,

Hoping to offer practical and financial support

To the Blue Lantern Project:

Sustainable, temporary living accommodation

For the homeless …

But, for the moment, let’s go back to Ben and Bexie,

As the personification of homelessness,

With the image of a modern-day Scrooge

Before his agonised redemption,

Looking, perhaps, like Suella Braverman:

‘Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?’

So, what did ‘Happy New Year’ and ‘Merry Christmas’

Mean to Ben and Bexie?

To answer this, let’s pursue a few synonyms

On our journey through the streets to redemption:

Homeless: unhoused – houseless – uncared for – displaced – dispossessed – outcast – unsettled – vagrant – vagabond – itinerant –

Notice how the last three shades of meaning

Morph not just into Victorian values of self-help

But, also, contemporary shades of meaning:

Remember that Tory cant about ‘crap parents’,

And as though homelessness were a lifestyle choice …

Vagrant – vagabond – itinerant –

So much of the reality of modernity

Is elided with those three words

As we shall see at the end of this presentation.

Now a few synonyms for wealth:

Riches – fortune – prosperity – affluence – property – substance – possessions

Now a few synonyms for inequality and injustice:

Disparity – unbalance – disproportion – unevenness – irregularity –

Wrong – unfair – disservice – offence – insult – injury – inequity – indignity – affront – unjust

Unhappy New Year!

Sadness – sorrow – grief – gloom – desperation – despondence – forlornness – misery – despair – distress – anguish – pain – mournfulness – dejection – depression – melancholy – hopelessness – pessimism – joylessness – wretchedness – dolefulness – weariness –

The man in the Black Dog film sleeping rough

In the tent beneath the railway bridge

In Gloucester before he was flooded out

Further broadened my horizons with this:

‘When you sleep in the streets, the streets become your home.’

Think of that when you next nestle down

At your real or metaphorical hearth –

Hearth – residence – dwelling – root – roof – shelter –

Security – protection – safeguarded –

Of course, you have none of those when you sleep rough.

Now the Church of England was once nicknamed

‘The Tory Party at prayer’.

And I suppose people with a belief

In self-help, competitive individualism,

A low-tax perception of the State as a Nanny,

And the perception of sleeping in a tent by a floodtide river

As a ‘lifestyle choice’

Might support the Office for National Statistics

In its proposal to drop the publication

Of the deaths of homeless persons

(741 in 2021)

With talk of – and I unironically quote here –

‘an improved and more efficient health and social care landscape’ –

What on earth does that mean, for God’s sake?

Meanwhile, in the real world away from that disingenuousness,

Nearly 75,000 single-parent households

Face the threat of eviction this winter,

According to Shelter’s statistical analysis,

What with falling behind with the rent and/or no-fault evictions:

The lack of ‘genuinely affordable’ social housing

Results in a supply-demand imbalance,

With competition for a roof driving up rents;

A few more stats:

1.5 million properties

Lie vacant at the moment

In England and Wales;

Nearly 275,000 people

Are recorded as homeless in England;

Think back to that long list of synonyms,

And now reflect on the fundamentals of that lexicon:

Wealth, poverty, inequality, injustice,

And reflect upon the hyper-normalisation of homelessness,

Of people sleeping in the streets and shop doorways,

Like some twenty-first century Gustav Dore engraving,

And now let’s try to translate our thoughts into action:

Together we can make a difference

As we see the world in a grain of sand,

Or in a shop doorway at Peacock’s in Stroud.


Blue Lantern Pilot Project for the Homeless

Having lived and advocated in the homeless environments in the City of Gloucester, the ambition is to produce a safe and warm environment and to live without fear within our own home. For all those that are not experiencing a home, young or old, able bodied or not, right minded or not, this will be a home welcoming to all.

I personally believe we have to start somewhere and the Pilot Project is exactly that: a start with a goal to produce a temporary, transportable self-sustainable home with the wrap-around services of a community; welcoming to the homeless with the benefit of such a home and also contributing to the community where it sits.

It can then be replaced in time by a sustainable permanent structure to suit the needs of the individual and the community.

The unit exists on paper and similar units are in production now and used in various forms for the homeless.

The other moving parts to create the sustainable aspects exist today, I’m not proposing inventing the wheel, the spokes just need to be put together to create the wheel.

Steve Gower

BENEFIT GIG up The Prince Albert Saturday March 2nd 7.30

Donation details on The Prince Albert website


Randwick 1832 Experiment











Near STROUD, Gloucestershire








The whole of the Profits of this little publication will be given in aid of the

object it refers to.






A statement of the rate at which the idle time of the Poor is exchanged, for

the blessings of Food and Raiment, by which personal decency is

promoted, and immorality checked.









The following papers have been put into my hands by a lady, who was an eye-witness of the facts therein stated, I trust they may not be deemed unworthy the perusal of the public, as affording an affecting specimen of the beneficial results of Christian energies, judiciously exerted in relieving the distress, and ameliorating the condition of the Working Classes. Mr. G. to whom the suffering manufacturers of Randwick are indebted, for thus checking the accumulation of their miseries, is the person whose benevolent heart has for several years been exercised in promoting means for the moral improvement of the Poor; and who, with his sister, (influenced by the same feeling) have but recently taken up their abode at that village, and are in no other manner connected with the neighbourhood.


Trafalgar-place, Stoke, Devenport,

           March 1st, 1832



Extracts from Letters written at Randwick, near Stroud, in Gloucestershire, during the month of February 1832.


“Mr. and Miss G. removed into the parish of Randwick, about six weeks ago. Being told there were many poor persons in the neighbourhood, they prepared themselves with a quantity of clothing, flannel belts &c. that they might be ready for the dreaded Cholera. The great mass of misery that met them the moment they exerted themselves, was quite overwhelming! Starvation threatened the village. As labour was unattainable, and the parish-officers wholly unable to meet the increasing demands for money, not a night passed without the occurrence of some robbery, and war seemed to be declared against property under all its forms. The men wandered about in a state of desperation: thirty of them were collected together on a green ready for any kind of mischief, when Mr G.- was requested to go and speak to them; he did so immediately – listened to all their sorrows, went home and spoke to their wives and children, who were in rags and misery. Having always considered that giving to the poor ruins entirely the independent spirit of man, he then proposed to them, that having nothing to do, they should work on the roads, and have some article of clothing in payment. The misery the men had experienced from being idle, led them to accept the proposal with joy, and the provision of calico and gingham was soon distributed to their wives, one of the most notable of whom sat up the whole night, and the next time Mr. G. came to the place, shewed him three little girls looking as neat as possible, in new frocks and pinafores. When the husband came home, who had been absent two days, seeking work, and saw his children so changed in appearance, he burst into tears, and though generally considered a hardened desperate man, his emotions of gratitude when he saw Mr. G. were deeply affecting. The number of applicants for work increased every hour, but they could offer nothing but their hands, as tools of every description had disappeared, either for rent or food. The first thing Mr. G. did was to buy a quantity of rakes, spades, hammers, and wheelbarrows. He then proceeded to organize his little band, choosing an old soldier for an overseer, and also a man who could keep regular accounts of the names and families of the men; how many days they worked; and the article of clothing they most stood in need of. Nothing now remained but to determine what they should do.

“The path to the Church and Sunday-School was first put into beautiful order, and last Monday, the whole gang, consisting of fifty men and boys, were set to mend a road of a mile-and-half long, leading to the house of a gentleman, who has been very benevolent to the poor. All this has been repaired without a single penny being paid, or one drop of beer drank. While Mr. G. was cheering the men on the road, Miss G. paid to the wives in clothing, the wages they had earned, promoting the men’s industry by allowing their wives to earn what they could by needle-work. Dozens of shirts, shifts, &c. are now before me, nicely made and ready for distribution; besides which these men have been supplied with potatoes to keep their families. Not one penny goes into any one’s hands, but every thing is paid either in potatoes or clothes: by this means drunkenness, as well as every kind of extravagance, is prevented. The change already in the people is really surprising: – they look so happy, feel such confidence in their benefactor, and testify such a high sense of honour, that they are really more watchful over every one of his tools, than he would be himself. – Last night two men volunteered to sit up, after a hard day’s work, to watch the tools, as they could not be put under lock and key.

“A.’s was the first money our friends have received for this noble undertaking: -they have asked no one’s assistance, and no one’s counsel but the Lord’s, and He has given them such a blessing as must be witnessed to be understood. There is such a self-evident beauty in the work that it is impossible it should not go on, and I trust God will put it into the hearts of those who have money, to help such “cunning workmen” in His school of charity,

I must not omit to say, that a copper of soup is made every week, so that any sick or nursing mother may have a good meal. I could write you sheets of most interesting details; one man and his wife have been set to weave flannel, and they are paid in calico and gingham. Another man has had his loom taken out of pawn, and is to weave cloth for jackets, &c. There is a carpenter, a stonemason, a gardener, a shoemaker, and a tailor, in the party, and each man who has a trade, is restored to his usual work, receiving the same payment as the others. The party to-night amounted to ninety-five, and the expenses of all that has yet been done do not exceed one hundred pounds!! So immense has been the good produced more by mind than money. – What would I give for some of the riches of T-. This is indeed a true “Reform,” as the men said themselves. Miss G. intends that in the evening when the work is done, and the men drawn up in order to deliver their tools, they shall sing with one heart and voice, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” – The chief singer of the chapel is to lead them, and I cannot tell you what a favour I feel it to work for so glorious a cause, and I am thankful I have seen what I shall never forget.”


From the same.


“Yesterday I had the extreme pleasure of witnessing eighty men and boys hard at work, mending a road, each with some new garment, and a dinner of potatoes, looking as happy as possible, who only a week before were ready for burning and every outrage; begging to earn a penny for their wives, and not a day’s work to be had. This room except our occupied chairs, is full of shirts, shifts, and petticoats. I wish M. had heard him lecture a great girl who came with a crowd to beg work, and a little brother dropping with rags. So Miss was packed off to make her brother tidy first, and in a few hours she brought him with every hole mended. The men went to work yesterday in a roar of laughter, for Mr. G. had established one of the party hair-cutter to the rest: every boy had his hair cut yesterday, and the men will today. I helped Miss G. supply fifty women with work. Oh, for money to help such charity!! Mr. G. never gives a garment without taking the old one, which is immediately burnt. He means to establish in the village a public kitchen, where wholesome soup of meat and vegetables will be made at the least possible expense, and a large tub of water and soap will be always ready, that every poor object, stranger or inhabitant, shall have a good meal, and go away clean. A most respectable woman is hired for this purpose, who will always be on the spot. Mr. G. refuses no man that will work, and I never saw him so gloriously employed. God’s light in him is so shewing itself to the world, that I believe hundreds will glorify our Father for the works he has been led to do. M.’s money came most opportunely, for though Mr. G.’s work goes on, his poor men, have now increased to a hundred and fifty; and as he keeps them on potatoes while they work, of course this requires money. Miss G. put the last of her charity purse into his hand to-day, and began to feel rather discouraged from no help appearing from others, but I told her that I was sure that some would come, and M.’s money fully justified my sanguine feeling.

“It is the most complete scheme I ever witnessed, and calls for every effort of mind and body to keep and organize such a number of poor fellows. Mr. G. is with his men at seven, and for the last three days has had nothing from that time till six at tea. The “meat that many know not” of, sustains this blessed follower of Him who went about doing good.” It is a brilliant exhibition of God’s inward power. Mr. G’s great object is to get his men neat to go to church, for many of the poor creatures had hid themselves in a wood to escape observation. Last Sunday I saw many in their new clothes, who had not been there for months, and we expect more next Sunday, as several smock-frocks have been worked for this week. On Wednesday I assisted in singing the verse, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow:” it was deeply interesting and affecting. After they had repaired the road to the church and the gentleman’s house, the wells were made easy of access, that the old women may fetch water without trouble, and the little paths to their cottages were mended. I went to a miserable place which all the poor must pass with their funerals, where there was such a swamp, that their feet must have been wet through before they arrived at the Church; this is now made a nice dry path, on Mr. Mc.’Adam’s plan. On this ground I heard a poor fellow beg to be taken into Mr. G‘s service, though he must have walked four miles for the purpose. Yesterday I witnessed a scene I should like to draw: – Mr. G. put his band of boys into a beautiful quarry, where they were to break stones. The hammers certainly flew faster when Mr. G-appeared, but they were as happy as possible, spending their tempers on the stones instead of their hungry parents. I went alone into some cottages yesterday; one family had only 1s.6d. a week. A man told me, from the scarcity of work, he rarely tasted any thing but bread, and not often at that. I then found a poor cripple crying from exhaustion, at four o’clock, not having tasted any thing for the day. The parish only allowed her sixpence weekly. Her wretched worn face bore marks of protracted suffering. I could not rest until she was supplied by Miss G. with a plentiful supply of soup for many days. This is poverty indeed!

From the same.

“What misery has been before me to-day, while receiving the work from Miss G.’s women; one who had five children and a sick husband, had only 4s.6d.a week; a man has just left me with actually only trousers and a waistcoat, not another rag; another woman with one arm, and clothes scarcely hanging together, is allowed nothing.

“I never heard such tales of abject suffering in my life; and every unnecessary morsel is quite an offence; my heart sickens at the sight of such real misery. Yesterday I went to a Weaver, who with a wife and five children exist on 4s. 6d. a week. The man looked both hungry and despairing at me, and his wretched hollow cheeks made me feel my very clothes a reproach. In the next cottage an old pair, broken down with want and age, had only one shilling a week. Still if more money comes, no one can possibly be more effectual in relieving this misery on less than Mr. G-. Any improvement for the general good that his head workman proposes, he allows, but nothing of any private venture whatsoever. Yesterday one of the men asked Miss G- to keep him as her gardener, but she told him that it was only by having the fewest possible servants themselves that they could serve others. “Well,” he said, “as long as I live and you live, your garden shall be kept in order, for I will come to it early and late.” As weaving has hitherto been their only employment, I set out yesterday, with a large bag of needles, and worsted to teach knitting, as all the stockings to be worn by the men are to be made by the women. Some nice girls learnt quickly, and ran off delighted, with extra needles to teach another, a charge given to each; and to-day I have given Miss G- a list of forty knitters.

One of my pupils is a poor cripple, who made my heart ache – he cannot stand, and lies awake at night, crying with pain from a wound in his back; he looked at me with such a countenance of misery, as quite overcame me. “Ma’am” he said, “I have nothing to cover me but what you see;” and he was in rags, shivering with cold, not having a bit of flannel about him. Under his stool, by the wretched chimney, sat a little dog, who never leaves his suffering master, and he said, “I would even sell my dog to buy something to keep me from the cold, though I have had it so long. I then looked at his bed, and never did I see such a nest for infection and disease. I did not leave him till he could knit well, and his beaming smile paid me tenfold for all the dirt that in any other cause would have made me sick and afraid. Miss G. supplied me with a shirt, &c. for him, and I have seen him again today, he looked so happy, having knit a great bit for me; the very occupation had done him good. He has since taught many women, and the prospect of making himself a pair of stockings quite delights him.

From the same.

“As all cottagers’ gardens have gone to ruin for want of tools, &c., Mr. G. wishes as soon as his resources will allow it, to have them all put in order, and he intends being a partner with each man in the produce of his garden, which he will stock with useful herbs and vegetables; by this means he will have a right to visit the gardens, watch over the people, cheer them at their labours, and lead them to beg the Divine blessing on the right employment of every leisure hour.

“A few days ago, as Mr. G. was going through  the Churchyard, a woman told him he was the most blessed Gentleman that ever was, and that it never could be told the misery he had saved her from, for her two boys would surely have been in Gloucester jail if he had not taken hold of them, and made them earn some decent garments; – that for some time they had been ashamed to be out in the day time, and therefore stole out as soon as it was dark, and she was quite sure that hunger would have led them to robbery and every kind of sin, “ – they are two fine boys, and now very industrious. I must tell you that the congregation at the Church is nearly double; and the Methodist Chapel is full to overflowing.

“Oh! that means could be adopted for setting these industrious fellows to work in their own way – in manufacturing blankets, flannel, and serge, for the use of the poor in different parts of the country, who will, probably, next winter, be half perished with cold for want of these essential articles. J.G. tells me that an order for £200 worth would be an immediate blessing to these poor people.

“I am happy to add that a gentleman of moderate landed property near us, has been so struck with the happy results of Mr. G.’s practical benevolence, that he immediately placed six acres of land under his direction, to cultivate potatoes for next winter, where I have just had the satisfaction of seeing some of the men employed in using the breast plough in turning up the ground.”


Conditions on which a Labouring Man may have Employment.


A Basket of Potatoes, for one day’s work.            For 2 days, Pinafore for a Girl.

Six Quarts of Soup, for one ditto,                                  2 ditto, Flannel Petticoat.

one quart to be delivered daily to his wife.                 1 ditto, Leather Cap.

Clothing.                                               6,7, or 8 ditto, Pair of high Boots for a child.

For 8 day’s work, a Sunday Hat.                                   2 ditto, Worsted Stockings.

3 ditto, calico for a Sunday Shirt.            14 ditto, Sunday Jacket and Trowsers.

1 ditto, a large coloured Neck  Handkerchief. 5 Gingham for a Girl’s   frock.

12 ditto, Pair of excellent Shoes.


4 ditto, Pair of knitted worsted Stockings. 18 days, A good single Bedstead.

12 ditto, Sunday Waistcoat.                                   6 ditto, Three Straw Mattresses.

30 ditto,                Coat.                                                      5 ditto, A Blanket.

15 ditto,                Trowsers.                          12, 14, or 18 ditto, A Pair of ditto.

13 ditto,                Breeches.                                         7 ditto, Rug Cover for the Bed.

6,7, or 8 ditto, A workman’s Smock-Frock.    6 ditto, One Pair of                                                                                              strong warm Sheets

according to length.

3 ditto, A common round Hat.                      Tools, &c. for the                                                                                                                           Labour on Land.

6 ditto, Russia-Duck Trowsers.                                         6 days for a Pickaxe.

1 ditto, Flannel Belt.                                                           4 ditto,         Spade.

4 ditto, under Waistcoat.                                                   5 ditto,        broad Shovel.

6 ditto, A working Waistcoat.                                            4 days for a Rake.

When the Man works for his Wife and Children,       15 ”      Wheelbarrow.

he may have.                                                                            ditto,        Hoe.

For 8 day’s A Pair of Women’s Shoes.                                  ditto,        Grubber.

2 ditto, Cloth for a Shift.                               1 ditto,        A Packet of Garden Seeds.

2 ditto, Stockings.                                          1 ditto, for the loan of Garden Tools

for a week.

1 ditto, Neck-kerchief.

3 ditto, Flannel Petticoat.                                   ditto, One Cwt. of Coals, delivered

ditto. Upper  ditto                                                                            at Ebley.

6 ditto, Gingham Gown and Lining.

1 ditto, Cap.

8 ditto, Straw Bonnet.                                                                      Books of Religion.

14 ditto Duffle Cloak.                                                                      For 8 days, A Bible.

2 ditto, Child’s Shift Cloth.                                                             3 ditto, Prayer Book.

2 ditto,              Shirt Cloth.                                                             3 ditto, Testament.

4 ditto, Pinafore for Boy, made up.                                            3 ditto, Hymn Book


No. 1 – The Labourer may give the number of Days with intervals, as it may best suit with his other engagements, – the sole object being the profitable employment of his idle time.

No. 2 – The sample of each thing to be made to be shown to the Men before the engagement of work is made.

No. 3 – Nothing to be delivered till three Days after they are earned.

No. 4 – As it is wished that every Person in the Village should have his or her hair in a decent form, a Hair-Cutter is employed to go from House to House for this purpose.


Any aid that may be kindly contributed towards the foregoing object, will be received by Mr. BYERS, Bookseller, Devonport; or HARVEY and DARTON, Booksellers, Gracechurch-Street, London.


We thank the Stroud District (Cowle) Museum Service for giving us permission to make  a transcript of the document that follows. Copyright resides with the Stroud District (Cowle) Museum Service. Thanks also to Alice Butler for making the transcriptions.

My good Friends,
As the plan which has been pursued among you for the last six weeks is entirely new, and as few even among those who have been most benefitted, could explain it to an enquirer, I have determined to give you a printed letter, which you can first read yourselves, and then lead to any one who may want to know what Christian work Mr. GREAVES is about.
You may remember we came amongst you early in December, when we found almost the whole neighbourhood in a state of physical want, and moral degradation, such as I shall not attempt to describe, neither shall I say how much of this was the necessary consequence of waste, extravagance, and profligacy. When times were good, I fear you never thanked God for then present mercies, but perhaps like the prodigal, you wasted your substance in riotous living, so when hard times came, you were not prepared to meet them. The depth of your misery then, we fear, is attributable to yourselves; but as your merciful God and Saviour will not that any of his children should want the absolute necessaries of life, so he stirred up his faithful Ministers to make an earnest appeal to him in behalf of those who thus suffered, and it is in answer to their prayers, that this plan was put into my mind, and that sufficient energy was given, to try the execution of it; to God then and to God alone, belongs all the glory for whatever good has been done, or evil prevented; so love and praise Him all ye people. When I first met you assembled on the Camp Green, you were almost famishing, without any decent apparel to go forth in search of work; you were idling not from choice it is true, but this idleness added greatly to your misery; you were completely wretched, and none seemed at hand to help you. You asked me to furnish you some occupation by which you might get food for your suffering wives, and crying children; but having neither land nor money of my own, I thought it were impossible to relieve so great a multitude; we had already laid our as much as we could spare, in materials intended for clothing, purporting to give them you by degrees; but your wants were so urgent that you offered to work for them immediately, – I consented to this, and promised that every man should be supplied in exchange for time (he could have done worse with than lose it) with potatoes almost sufficient to feed his family, and that the surplus value of his labour should be paid in excellent articles of clothing. Numbers came to me, and your neighbours, hearing there was corn in Egypt, came to earn a portion also, but none of you had any tools, so I was obliged to purchase considerable stock. I set you to a labour for the public good, and you did so cheerfully in the highways and byways as sons of the soil, seeing clearly enough that you would derive even more benefit from this than the rich; they have not to fetch water, and they can ride over a bad road, while poor men and women must walk, winter and summer, over rough stones, through mire and clay, or up and down such steep ways as are dangerous to the infirm, the aged, and the children. Six weeks hard labour, with only potatoes for your food, and not a drop of fermented liquor of any kind, has somewhat changed your neighbourhood and yourselves; and many among you now come into the house of God, wearing the appearance of decent, healthy, happy labourers. My plan has not quite satisfied the Parish Officers, as my object was not the reduction of the Poor Rates, but to relieve the poor themselves. I therefore firmly insisted that your small allowances should be continued to you, even while you were working under my direction, but if we live until next Winter, I trust and hope, the Parish will have its full share of benefit from all we are doing. Another objection has also been made, which is that the advantages of working on this plan, are sufficiently great to make you careless, and even reluctant to seek work elsewhere; this inured me to make the experiment of paying you all off, thus urging you to strive to provide for yourselves. Only a few went forth were able to get more than two or three days’ employment, and the rest pressed me most earnestly to provide them occupation a little while longer, offering again to work only for potatoes, if we cannot go on furnishing them with clothes: but I doubt not the Giver of our mercies will enable us to do this, and thus to fulfil that sacred duty which as a God of love he has imposed upon us.
And now my good friends I finish in the words of the holy men of old, – “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together, for he has regarded the poor when he cried, the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.”
I am, in the bond of universal love, Your Christian brother,
Randwick, Gloucestershire March 18th, 1832

Personal Decency promoted, AND IMMORALITY CHECKED,

Exchanging Men’s idle time for the Blessings of Food and Raiment. Randwick 1832.
Conditions on which a Labouring Man may have Employment.


A Basket of Potatoes, for one day’s work.            For 2 days, Pinafore for a Girl.

Six Quarts of Soup, for one ditto,                                  2 ditto, Flannel Petticoat.

one quart to be delivered daily to his wife.                 1 ditto, Leather Cap.

Clothing.                                                                6,7, or 8 ditto, Pair of high Boots for a child.

For 8 day’s work, a Sunday Hat.                                     2 ditto, Worsted Stockings.

3 ditto, calico for a Sunday Shirt.            14 ditto, Sunday Jacket and Trowsers.

1 ditto, a large coloured Neck Handkerchief.   5 ” Gingham for a girl’s Frock.

12 ditto, Pair of excellent Shoes.


4 ditto, Pair of knitted worsted Stockings.     18 days, A good single Bedstead.

12 ditto, Sunday Waistcoat.                                 6 ditto, Three Straw Mattresses.

30 ditto,                Coat.                                                      5 ditto, A Blanket.

15 ditto,                Trowsers.                          12, 14, or 18 ditto, A Pair of ditto.

13 ditto,                Breeches.                                        7 ditto, Rug Cover for the Bed.

6,7, or 8 , A workman’s Smock-Frock.   6 “, One Pair of strong warm Sheets

according to length.

3 ditto, A common round Hat.               Tools, &c. for the                                                                                                                             Labour on Land.

6 ditto, Russia-Duck Trowsers.                                         6 days for a Pickaxe.

1 ditto, Flannel Belt.                                                           4 ditto,         Spade.

4 ditto, under Waistcoat.                                                   5 ditto,        broad Shovel.

6 ditto, A working Waistcoat.                                            4 days for a Rake.

When the Man works for his Wife and Children,       15 ”      Wheelbarrow.

he may have.                                                                            ditto,        Hoe.

For 8 day’s A Pair of Women’s Shoes.                                  ditto,        Grubber.

2 , Cloth for a Shift.                                                      1. A Packet of Garden Seeds.

2 ditto, Stockings.                            1 ditto, for the loan of Garden Tools

1 ditto, Neck-kerchief.                                                                         for a week.

3 ditto, Flannel Petticoat.                                    ditto, One Cwt. of Coals, delivered

ditto. Upper  ditto                                                                            at Ebley.

6 ditto, Gingham Gown and Lining.

1 ditto, Cap.

8 ditto, Straw Bonnet.                                                                      Books of Religion.

14 ditto Duffle Cloak.                                                                      For 8 days, A Bible.

2 ditto, Child’s Shift Cloth.                                                             3 ditto, Prayer Book.

2 ditto,              Shirt Cloth.                                                             3 ditto, Testament.

4 ditto, Pinafore for Boy, made up.                                            3 ditto, Hymn Book
No. 1, – The Labourer may give the number of Pays with intervals, as it may best suit with his other engagements, – the sole object being the employment of his idle time in some publicly useful act.

No. 2, – The sample of each thing is to be shown to the Man before the engagement for work is made.

No. 3, – Nothing to be delivered till three Days after they are earned.
No. 4, – As it is wished that every Person in the Village should have his or her hair cut to promote external decency, a Hair-Cutter is employed to go from House to House for this purpose.

No. 5, – Not more than one Basket of Potatoes to be delivered to a single Man, and two to a married Man per Week, that they may have the more Clothing.
No. 6, – The Boys are to have a quartern of Potatoes per Day, for Stone-breaking. – Each Man after his work must claim a Randwick Token which is a round piece of Metal, impressed on one side with the words “Practiced Christianity,” and “Randwick” on the reverse.