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At Norwich Castle Museum

Alice Spawls: ‘The Paston Treasure’, 13 September 2018

... or queen. The letters, first published in 1787, revealed a family on the make. Clement Paston, a yeoman farmer born at the end of the 14th century, set his son up as a lawyer. The lawyer bought land, and his son John inherited more, including Caister Castle, from his wife’s cousin, Sir ...

Robin’s Hoods

Patrick Wormald, 5 May 1983

Robin Hood 
by J.C. Holt.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 500 25081 2
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The Early History of Glastonbury: An Edition, Translation and Study of William of Malmesbury’s ‘De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie’ 
by John Scott.
Boydell, 224 pp., £25, January 1982, 9780851151540
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Megalithomania 
by John Michell.
Thames and Hudson, 168 pp., £8.50, March 1982, 9780500012611
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... England by Maurice Keen, a delightful collection of Rymes of Robin Hood by Barry Dobson and John Taylor, and a constructive reassessment of ‘the birth and setting of the ballads of Robin Hood’ by John Maddicott, have not only cast a flood of light on the origins and significance of the legend, but also ...

Urban Humanist

Sydney Checkland, 15 September 1983

Exploring the Urban Past: Essays in Urban History by H.J. Dyos 
edited by David Cannadine and David Reeder.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £20, September 1982, 0 521 24624 5
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Themes in Urban History: Patricians, Power and Politics in 19th-Century Towns 
edited by David Cannadine.
Leicester University Press, 224 pp., £16.50, October 1982, 9780718511937
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... There were studies on the Trevelyan model of the ‘what it felt like to be a villein or a yeoman’ school, finding their market in empathy and nostalgia. The Hammonds and others had provided an impetus for the ‘industrial revolution was hell’ school, finding their market among the indicters of contemporary society. But real work on the social ...

Big Ben

Stephen Fender, 18 September 1986

Franklin of Philadelphia 
by Esmond Wright.
Harvard, 404 pp., £21.25, May 1986, 0 674 31809 9
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... taxes on America, in the shape of the Townshend Acts of 1767 (to which other Americans like John Dickinson and Samuel Adams responded with ever more ingenious arguments like the right of Parliament to legislate for the colonies, as against tax them), Franklin wrote his son William ‘that no middle doctrine can be well maintained ... Something might be ...

Halls and Hovels

Colin Richmond, 19 December 1991

The Architecture of Medieval Britain 
by Colin Platt, with photographs by Anthony Kersting.
Yale, 325 pp., £29.95, November 1990, 0 300 04953 6
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... Yet they were as surely on their way to full farmhouse status as their occupants were en route to yeoman farmer.’ He is speaking of Gomeldon in Wiltshire, but evidently wishes us to take Gomeldon for all England. It is ‘surely on their way to’ which gives the game away: Mr Platt is writing to convince himself. Needless to say, there are no pictures of ...

Hammers for Pipes

Richard Fortey: The Beginnings of Geology, 9 February 2006

Bursting the Limits of Time 
by Martin Rudwick.
Chicago, 840 pp., £31.50, December 2005, 0 226 73111 1
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... were first precipitated from a universal ocean. Hutton’s prose was opaque, but his champion John Playfair ensured that the wider world appreciated his message. Not long afterwards, William ‘Strata’ Smith produced the first good geological map, using characteristic fossils as guides to rock formations. After some difficulties in getting the map ...

Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes, 5 November 2015

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... reported his findings to the president and his officials, including the White House counsel, John Dean. As 1972 was an election year, the strategy of the White House focused on containment. In the short term, at least, the president’s men were successful. The break-in did not become a big story. On 19 June Ron Ziegler, Nixon’s press secretary, called ...

The Professor

Marilyn Butler, 3 April 1980

A Fantasy of Reason: The Life and Thought of William Godwin 
by Don Locke.
Routledge, 398 pp., £13.50, January 1980, 0 7100 0387 0
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... figure. A belief in his national importance led to his refusal in 1794 to visit his radical friend John Thelwall – when Thelwall was in Newgate charged with treason – on the grounds that Godwin must not jeopardise his own life, ‘this treasure which does not belong to me but to the public’. It is hard not to be reminded of the passage Jane Austen had ...

Burbocentrism

Tom Shippey, 23 May 1996

Beyond Uhura: ‘Star Trek’ and Other Memories 
by Nichelle Nichols.
Boxtree, 320 pp., £9.99, December 1995, 0 7522 0787 3
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I Am Spock 
by Leonard Nimoy.
Century, 342 pp., £16.99, November 1995, 0 7126 7691 0
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Science Fiction Audiences: Watching ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Trek’ 
by Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch.
Routledge, 294 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 415 06140 7
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‘Star Trek’: Deep Space Nine 
by Mark Altman, Rob Davis and Tony Pallot.
Boxtree, 64 pp., £8.99, May 1995, 0 7522 0898 5
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... was only about 10 per cent; and in their study of science fiction audiences, Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch note the continuing rejection of Star Trek by ‘the male establishment of literary science fiction fandom’. Actually, no group of fans can be called an establishment: none of them has any power at all, not even, for all the write-in ...

Man Is Wolf to Man

Malcolm Gaskill: C.J. Sansom, 23 January 2020

Tombland 
by C.J. Sansom.
Pan Macmillan, 866 pp., £8.99, September 2019, 978 1 4472 8451 2
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... down in a stream with her legs in the air. Footprints incriminate Edith’s estranged husband, John, who had left her for a barmaid nine years previously. Shardlake suspects John Boleyn has been framed. If he hangs, which seems likely, it would scandalise Elizabeth, who orders an investigation and wants him pardoned if ...

Anxious Pleasures

James Wood: Thomas Hardy, 4 January 2007

Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 486 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 670 91512 2
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... to make marriage choices that are sociologically fraught: will the landed female farmer marry the yeoman or the gentleman farmer (Bathsheba and Gabriel Oak or Farmer Boldwood)? Will the milkmaid marry the clergyman’s son or the nouveau riche seducer (Tess and Angel Clare or Alec D’Urberville)? Will the intellectual stonemason take the plebeian slattern or ...

Divided We Grow

John Barrell: When Pitt Panicked, 5 June 2003

The London Corresponding Society 1792-99 
edited by Michael T. Davis.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, June 2002, 1 85196 734 6
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Romanticism, Publishing and Dissent: Joseph Johnson and the Cause of Liberty 
by Helen Braithwaite.
Palgrave, 243 pp., £45, December 2002, 0 333 98394 7
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... than that of the LCS, was Joseph Johnson, who was born in Everton in 1738, the son of a Baptist yeoman farmer and small landowner. At 14 he was bound apprentice to a London bookseller; in 1760, aged 22, he opened his own shop in Fenchurch Street; five years later he moved to Paternoster Row, the centre of the London book trade; and when, in 1770, the ...

House of Miscegenation

Gilberto Perez: Westerns, 18 November 2010

Hollywood Westerns and American Myth 
by Robert Pippin.
Yale, 198 pp., £25, May 2010, 978 0 300 14577 9
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... I saw no cowboys on television but plenty on the movie screen, from the Lone Ranger and Tonto to John Wayne, and I still have a picture of myself as a little boy in a cowboy outfit with a hat and chaps and toy pistols. It’s a small indication of how deeply influenced Cubans were by our mighty neighbour to the north, and the way the fiction of the ...

Cocoa, sir?

Ian Jack: The Royal Navy, 2 January 2003

Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy 1900-45 
by Christopher McKee.
Harvard, 285 pp., £19.95, May 2002, 0 674 00736 0
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Rule Britannia: The Victorian and Edwardian Navy 
by Peter Padfield.
Pimlico, 246 pp., £12.50, August 2002, 0 7126 6834 9
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... ships, heaving seas, the swivelling turrets of six-inch guns; our island’s story, often with John Mills. And yet, for all its links with history, its invocation of Drake and Nelson, the grip of the Royal Navy on the popular imagination of Britain is relatively recent, dating from what Peter Padfield refers to as the country’s ‘Navalist ...

East Hoathly makes a night of it

Marilyn Butler, 6 December 1984

The Diary of Thomas Turner 1754-1765 
edited by David Vaisey.
Oxford, 386 pp., £17.50, November 1984, 0 19 211782 3
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John Clare’s Autobiographical Writings 
edited by Eric Robinson.
Oxford, 185 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 19 211774 2
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John Clare: The Journals, Essays, and the Journey from Essex 
edited by Anne Tibble.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 85635 344 2
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The Natural History Prose Writings of John Clare 
edited by Margaret Grainger.
Oxford, 397 pp., £35, January 1984, 0 19 818517 0
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John Clare and the Folk Tradition 
by George Deacon.
Sinclair Browne, 397 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 86300 008 8
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... the father, but she was spotted in the woods the night before she died with Peter Adams, a married yeoman farmer who, Vaisey tells us, had already fathered 11 legitimate children, and a bastard on someone else. Turner and others now suspected that Adams might be implicated in Elless’s death, but it was impossible to prove, and after some stern words from the ...

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