Rural conditions in the south and east of England in the early c19th, were far worse than elsewhere in the country.
- This is seen in the much higher rate of poor relief being paid to males in the prime age group of 20 – 60 year olds, in the southern and eastern counties.
- Occupations that were largely carried out by women and children, cottage industries, including wool spinning and straw plaiting were in decline and this had a significant impact on total household income.
- This, coupled with a fall in agricultural workers wages and the removal of common land rights because of enclosure, resulted in a drop in household income that would be fairly catastrophic for many rural families.
It is hard to comprehend how hard it must have been for our ancestors to survive in the face of such poverty, those that made it through must have been made of very tough stuff!
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