The History of Myddle
Myddle was and still is a village in Shropshire, England. Today it has its own informative website.
Richard Gough was living there during the Stuart period. He was getting on in years and knew all about his neighbours - who owned what land, who married who, who their parents were and what land they either owned or leased and who had what skeletons in the cupboard. He wrote his book about the inhabitants using the seating plan of the church as a framework so, at a time when church attendance was all but compulsory, almost all the inhabitants of Myddle were included. He was writing in the early 1700s but as he was also recalling his memories of the ancestors of the people his information goes well back into the seventeenth century. You can read how the Civil War, the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, the Restoration, enclosures of land, the workings of the Poor Law and the plague affected the people of Myddle.
Richard Gough has a pithy and succint mode of expressing his views. I particularly like:
"Shee was more commendable for her beauty than her chastity." and
"William imitated his Grandfather's villanyes, and the three daughters followed their Mother's vices."
There are happy stories of people prospering and making a comfortable life for themselves and their families. But there are sad stories too, like the man who fell on hard times, lost his home and left Myddle. Some years later he was found dead in an early winter's morning outsde his former home.
This edition of Gough's book has extensive end notes and references which will be most helpful for the serious reader.
If you enjoy contemporary history about real people ie a primary historical source, rather than modern historical fiction, you will quickly become absorbed in Richard Gough's account of Myddle. If you are studying the period or intend writing and publishing material on English life in the late seventeenth century then Gough's book is an essential resource.