FREE-THINKERS & TROUBLE-MAKERS
By Harry Jones
Published by the Wisbech Society (ISBN 0 9519220 7 6)
Reviewed by Cardinal Cox
Write Dope on Pnuk part 7
This is just the sort of great book that you should find in your local library or museum, a history of the regional malcontents. This one centres on Wisbech, generally regarded as the arse-end of everywhere and noted for precious little. So suddenly you find that it was a centre for not exactly revolutionary or anti-social activity, but certainly people who ran against the prevailing tides of their time.
Amongst the fascinating short articles, I discovered that the fathers of both William Godwin (Atriarch to the Invincible Army) and other noted eighteenth century essayist, William Hazlitt, were both ministers (at separate times) of the same chapel in Wisbech. And how about a commune in Manea in the 1830s, that failed due to prostitution and drunkenness. Or how about Manchester's Labour Church of the 1890s?
Tony Robinson's series 'Worst Jobs In History' reminded us that the past wasn't populated by just the wealthy or the mighty, but also by hundreds of thousands of serfs. This booklet reminds us that sometimes the serfs didn't go along with the system, sometimes they'd want a better world.
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