Troubador A Rural Revolution

Released: 28/01/2016

ISBN: 9781784625207

Format: Paperback

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A Rural Revolution

The History of a Staffordshire Family and Their Village


Take one family, a Staffordshire village and a society going through changes of world-shaking proportions. Add a nasty road traffic accident, a family of seventeen children, a notorious canal murder, a prevailing aristocratic connection, a riot of cross-dressing men, a narcoleptic delivery driver and a cycling regiment sent to the most dangerous place on earth.

What you get is a fresh perspective on the history of Britain from the mid-1700s to the First World War and beyond, a period of rapid and momentous change that overturned British society. Seen through the lives and work of the ordinary people involved, it is also the true story of several generations of a single family and their adoptive village. From itinerant boat people to respected locals, Nel’s family is transformed by the world’s first industrial revolution and its aftermath.

It’s all change for her rural community, too. Tracing a crucial historical journey, David R Roberts shows it wasn’t only the people trapped in Britain’s dark mills and smoky towns who faced the upheavals and challenges of the times. The physical and social contours of Nel’s village, and of the entire nation, were redrawn by the booms in road and canal construction and the coming of the railways.

The author’s entertaining accounts of these revolutionary developments in transport and communications show how they impacted on everything from where and how we live to fish and chips and football. Also revealed are stories of child mortality and rural depopulation, of wealthy merchants and the slave trade, of 19th century bankers bailed out with public funds, and of enduring tragedies of the Great War. Along the way there are brief histories of inns and alehouses, land enclosures, early mass education, the suffragettes, the significance of salt, and more.

What readers and reviewers are saying said about A Rural Revolution

All life – and death – is here in this colourful family exploration of how the shifting rural landscape affected our ancestors as much as the industrialisation of the nation’s towns and cities. (Family Tree magazine)

Your book is a real delight. The fact that you trace the family fortunes in the context of the evolution in society as a whole is utterly fascinating… Thank you for such a well-written and well-researched book. (Reader’s letter)

This highly readable book investigates the lives of one rural family to illustrate the radical impact of the industrial revolution on local communities… (Landworker magazine)

Enjoyable, informative and provocative... (British Association for Local History))

I enjoyed reading this interesting book… (Reader’s post)

Really enjoyed this book – a fascinating piece of social history. (Reader’s post)

…well written (Towpath Talk)

Signed copies of the book are available direct from the author at

Landworker Magazine

The Stafford Directory

Family Tree Magazine

Middlewich Guardian

Express & Star

Contact Magazine

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David R Roberts

David R Roberts worked for many years as a college lecturer and is the author of a number of best-selling textbooks. His interests now lie in exploring the links between local/family and national/global histories. David lives near Norwich but returns to his native Staffordshire whenever he gets the chance.

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