Norfolk Roots No. 7 - September/October 2005. Historians, social or family, professional or amateur, can all benefit from this examination of the history of a village. The fact that it lies on the Cambridge edge of the Fens does not preclude those living on the Norfolk edge from enjoying this insight into village life in East Agnlia from the earliest times to the 20th century. What is ideal about this books is that it looks at the lives of ordinary people, the roots from which most of our family trees have grown, and gives an excellent view of the daily routines over the centuries, the highs and lows from festival or holy days (our modern holidays) to the all-important rent days, four times a year, and the labouring days which made up so much of life from the rising of the sun until it set again. You may not find your line back to Richardus Pistor, a baker in the 12th century, but who is to say whether or not the descendants or Richard Whitaker, an 18th century servant whio is alsmost certainly the man raised the alarm when fire spread through the barn in 1727 as vaillages watched a puppet show, made their way through the Swaffham Gap, or headed for Norwich rather than Cambridge when they sought to make a new life for themselves. This villafe which saw its population ebb and flow, but in particular it saw mass immigration during the 17th to 19th centuries. How did the village cope with these 'incomers' or did they accept them more willingly than we are led to believe. An enjoyable read and also a valuable contribution to the library of the area's history - right up to recent times.
About the Author
The author has had an interest in history and archaeology from his teenage years when he helped on digs in the summer, field walked in the autumn and spent much of his time in the local record office in the winter. On moving to Burwell he developed a strong interest in the history and archaeology of the place and now, after some years of research, both on the ground and in the Cambridge Record Office, the University Library and the Public Records Office at Kew, he has produced an authoritative account of the making of a fen-edge village.