Pleasant Villages & Farms a talk by Betty Shearing,

Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Betty Shearing, last season’s Joint Chairman of the Oxted & District History Society, gave an illustrated lecture to Society members on ‘ Pleasant Villages & Farms ‘.  Her lecture was on how England was seen through the eyes of early tourists, Celia Fiennes (1662-1741), Daniel Defoe (1660-1731) and William Cobbett (1763-1836).

Celia Fiennes visited every county in England, commenting on local industries, country practices and religious differences.  She visited many country houses, being built or rebuilt due to the increased wealth of landowners as a result of enclosures.  She liked Tunbridge Wells, which became a fashionable spa town from 1655 onwards and also took the waters at Epsom.

Daniel Defoe was a newspaper editor and published 3 volumes of his tours round Britain.  He commented on the iron industry in the Weald, on the corn market in Farnham, the goose and capon market in Dorking and on the genteel nature of Westerham.

William Cobbett is famous for his ‘Rural Rides’.  A radical and democrat, he railed against the enclosures which enriched wealthy landowners while making smallholders and labourers poorer.  He spent two years in Newgate Prison for speaking out against injustices.  He idealised the simple cottage economy, liking Horsham and small towns and disliked gentlemen who did not work.


Pleasant Villages & Farms a talk by Betty Shearing.