Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The ritualistic martyr - a cautionary tale

Though there has been many instances of local clergymen adopting practices which usually come under the name of ritualistic, we have had but one "Martyr to the Cause," in the person of the Rev. R.W. Enraght, of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Bordesley. Among the numerous practices of which complaint was made against him were the following:—The use of lighted candles, the wearing of the alb and chasuble, the ceremonial mixing of water and wine, the making of the sign of the cross towards the congregation, the use of wafers instead of bread, standing with his back to the congregation during the prayer for consecration, not continuing to stand the whole time during the prayer, elevation of the cup and paten more than is necessary, causing the Agnus Dei to be sung immediately after the consecration, standing instead of kneeling during the Confession, and kissing the Prayer Book. Remonstrance, monition, and inhibition, not being sufficient to teach him the error of his ways, Mr. Enraght was committed for contempt Nov. 20, 1880, and taken to Warwick gaol on the 27th. He was released soon after Christmas, and another Vicar filleth his place.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Farm Street - a typical Hockley street of the mid 19th century

Farm Street, Hockley, was a working-class street about two miles from the (Birmingham) city centre. In 1851, it housed 225 families, many of them in courts and back alleys. When the heads of households had to state their occupations in the census, nearly one in three said they were involved in metal work, hand-craft work, jewellery, button-making or gun-making. A further 25 per cent were engaged in the building trade, for Birmingham was spreading. The city doubled in population every thirty years throughout the nineteenth century. Aston, the northern suburban district, more than doubled every twenty years while Victoria was queen.

The People's England - Alan Ereira

Some reasons why our West Midland ancestors left the land and headed for the city in the mid 1800s

Peasant farmers bought out by bigger landowners or forced to give up by rent rises
Enclosure Acts led to the decline of open strip farming on common and heath land
Small village farmers having to become day labourers with a reduction in income
Introduction of agricultural machinery such as threshing machines replaced the need for human labour on the land
Winter starvation became common across the UK and Ireland
Railway and canal construction offered new labouring opportunities, initially in the countryside
A demand for new trades such as bricklaying learnt in the navvy environment came from the expanding cities such as Birmingham

Why our West Midlands ancestors gave up on farming

The 1830s saw traditional rural folk from all over the UK and Ireland leaving behind their traditional agricultural trades and going after the increased wages offered by the building and construction industry:

 "The London to Birmingham railway was the greatest earthwork that had been made. When it was completed, one of the engineers, Peter Lecount, calculated that four hundred million cubic feet of earth had been shifted, and that this put the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Great Wall of China wholly in the shade. His comparison made sense, because every cubic foot of soil moved in building the railway was excavated by men holding picks and shovels."

The People's England - Alan Ereira

The interior of Kilsby tunnel, by J.C.Bourne

Railways in the 1830s had to be almost level with inclines kept to a minimum. Kilsby tunnel on the London to Birmingham railway was typical of most tunnels which had to be dug through rock and earth using just picks and shovels.

Often they started with a shaft in the centre of the hill and worked outwards. Death and injury were just part of the job but the money was better than farm labouring and opportunities becoming much more plentiful.