Village life in the Vale of Belvoir : social and economic change, 1851-1881.
2010-10-18T14:22:13Z (GMT) by
A study of the effects upon the village community of various areas of social and economic change. Based upon detailed examination of seven villages within the Leicestershire Vale of Belvoir, the thesis considers varied responses to legislative changes. such as those in employment regulation and education, to economic change such as that in agriculture and in the means of transport, and to social pressures for change as in the fields of religious allegiance or public recreation. Census evidence of changing population levels, and of variations in the composition of the population in terms of age, sex, and occupation, is discussed, and causes and effects of such changes suggested. The evidence of migration from and amongst the villages is explored, with an examination of possible motivation for it. Changing class relations are explored; while small-scale land ownership is shown to have been relatively unimportant in creating status or economic stability, the continuing influence of the great landowners, notably the Duke of Rutland, is recognised, but set against evidence of a decline in deferential attitudes and a growing challenge to aristocratic political influence. The village middle class of farmers and tradesmen is shown to have increasingly assumed a leadership role, but it is suggested that the conservatism of the village population helped to preserve elements of traditional village life, and above all, the sense of an integrated community.