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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
I could not put this book down.
It is a simply fascinating glimpse into life at the beginning of the 19th century seen through the eyes of a rural parson. William Holland was probably not a nice person to know. He was very scathing about friends and acquaintances alike and often had rather cruel nicknames for them. He had no time for other religious denominations...
Published on 9 Oct. 2003 by R. Hughes

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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pigs hardly die at all
Pig killing is my favourite but no hardly any ofit in here mister Holland.
You are Blockhead not servant man.
Pah and Bah to you.
Published on 27 April 2012 by Amazon Customer


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, 9 Oct. 2003
By 
R. Hughes "Grumpy Old Git" (Deepest Wiltshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paupers and Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799-1818 (Letters & Diaries) (Paperback)
I could not put this book down.
It is a simply fascinating glimpse into life at the beginning of the 19th century seen through the eyes of a rural parson. William Holland was probably not a nice person to know. He was very scathing about friends and acquaintances alike and often had rather cruel nicknames for them. He had no time for other religious denominations and was extremely critical of a long line of long suffering servants. A local Thatcher is described as being a Methodist a liar and a drunkard as if one explained the other. There appear to be very few deserving poor. All are drunks, scoundrels. Somerset in the early 1800s is full of fornicators, vice, incest and bestiality. It is surprising that there was any time left to bring in the crops!
He has a constant battle with farmers, Catholics and Methodists who quite clearly object to having to pay him tithes and he often has to cajole and threat them into handing over his just dues. It is a society gripped with change. Old deferences are being cast aside. 50 years later the Rev Kilvert is in a different world and in his diary there is no mention of the practice.
William Holland is writing in the time of Jane Austen. It is unlikely that they ever met but they moved in the same strata of society and went to the same places. They visit Bath regularly for the waters, see the same actress, Mrs. Jordan at the theatre and Mrs Holland is tended by Dr. Gibbs who a few years earlier had been called to the death bed of Jane’s father.
It is in the day to day matters that William Holland excels, in the raw detail that he provides. Babies are christened. Women are churched. Death at all ages is a daily occurrence. His servants go dunging. He brews the beer. He complains about the weather (and the Methodists). He has an argument with a tradesman. It all goes in the diary.
As the years go by his ailments increase and are described, in detail. He does not however appear to be overly disheartened and takes pride in his ability to carry out the Sunday services, whatever the weather or his state of health. And right to the end he complains about the Methodists!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A favourite read, 24 Aug. 2009
By 
N. Carey (Nova Scotia, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paupers and Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799-1818 (Letters & Diaries) (Paperback)
I borrowed this book from my local library and liked it so much that I decided to buy a copy! The fact that I know the area that William Holland writes about added to my enjoyment, but it is still a highly readable and entertaining book regardless of whether or not you know the locale.

As the title says it is the diary of William Holland from 1799 - 1818. I found it interesting reading the comments of a person who was alive at the Battle of Trafalgar, for example, and hearing his opinion on it, as he heard the news. The book is a social history which I also found very interesting. I was amused at his descriptions of the various characters in his parish, and beyond its boundaries, and was given an insight into the social life of the times.

I was also struck by our common humanity and shared his concern over his son's fall from a horse, and his pride in his scholastic achievements. I sympathised with him in his health problems and admired him for continuing his work while he was obviously in a lot of pain. I became interested in what was happening in the lives of his family and other characters in the book.

As I said I bought this book after borrowing it from my library, because I wanted my own copy to read again, and again. I recommend this book as an interesting and entertaining read which contains social history, humour and which also higlights our common humanity with our ancestors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and informative, 23 May 2013
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This review is from: Paupers and Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799-1818 (Letters & Diaries) (Paperback)
My family came from this part of Somerset, so it has been very nice to get some background information about their times.

I have realised they even get a mention.

Not sure the title fits the content.

Holland does seem a bit miserable, but since several of his children died perhaps it is not surprising.

Fantastic insight into life at the time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read in conjunction with Radio 4's serialisation, 12 Jan. 2014
By 
G. E. Elston (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Paupers and Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799-1818 (Letters & Diaries) (Paperback)
Covers the period of the late Napoleonic Wars ( and the aftermath of the French Revolution) where the fears of the Gentry including the Church were vehemently aposed to any whiff of liberal views that questioned the Order of Things.
The Reverend Holland is clearly a conscientious man who daily wrestles with this question against a backdrop of a fundamental agrarian society with all it's ancient practices.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Paupers and Pig Killers, 1 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Paupers and Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799-1818 (Letters & Diaries) (Paperback)
Bought as a present. After reading Kilvert's Diary, thought this would be fun and interesting. He doesn't have Kilvert's lyicism and brilliant descriptions of the countryside, but a great picture of some of the minutiae of life at the time, and funny.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 19 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Paupers and Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799-1818 (Letters & Diaries) (Paperback)
Thanks
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pigs hardly die at all, 27 April 2012
This review is from: Paupers and Pig Killers: The Diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson, 1799-1818 (Letters & Diaries) (Paperback)
Pig killing is my favourite but no hardly any ofit in here mister Holland.
You are Blockhead not servant man.
Pah and Bah to you.
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