Distance and Strangeness: the murder of Anne Spencer

I sometimes feel like I've spent the last three years trying to figure out my place within history. I still feel like there's probably a huge mountain of scholarship that I've completely missed, but in general I'm starting to work out what historiography is (I'm not a historian by background - everyone else just calls it 'the literature' …

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The good death of Lawrence Britcliffe, part four: dark nights of the soul

This is the fourth part in a series about one of my long-distant ancestors. There's also been an introduction, a post on Lawrence Britcliffe's family and youth, and on the murder he committed in 1739. Much of the story in this post is found in the sermon preached at his funeral service at Bacup in …

The good death of Lawrence Britcliffe, part three: crime and flight

Cliviger Valley, by Alan Rayner. The path Alan describes here includes some of the Burnley Way via Holme, the Ram Inn and Dodbottom Woods. This post is the third in a series on the unfortunate life of Lawrence Britcliffe, a distant ancestor of mine. The introduction is here; Lawrence's youth and young manhood are here. …

The Other immigrants of Carribee Island: “men of colour” in the 1860s

One of the most fun elements of my research to date has been trawling the British Newspaper Archive for references to my study area - mostly because you just never know what you might find. There's likely to be plenty of property sales, perhaps reference to the grand annual event which was the municipal licensing …