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A family under a teacup


The history of the Brown family from Alkington in Gloucestershire all happened under a teacup  placed on an ordnance survey map of the area.

Travel in the 18th and early 19th Century wasn’t as easy as it is today. The lack of trains and motorised transport made moving any distance a slow and arduous task. And, of course, the roads weren’t good either. It comes as no surprise people didn’t venture far from home. Consequently, their lives were lived on a micro level. From home to work, church, maybe school is the most travelling they would do. And, remember, frequently the agricultural labourer of the day would have lived in a tied cottage, that is one owned by the landowner and was thus close to the workplace. Not to mention the restrictions placed on them by having to work very long hours. The pool of people they had available to them to make relationships with would have been local to them.

The Brown family of the Alkington area of Gloucestershire was one such family. When we look at where they lived, worked and loved on today’s Maps, the area can be covered by a teacup. By today’s standards, that comes as a shock. It’s only in the latter part of the 19thC. we see them moving out of the countryside into the large cities in the midlands. Economic migrants as it were.

The image above shows a teacup literally covering the handful of villages which were the homes of the Brown family in the early 19thC. All centred around Michaelwood – now known for the service station placed there on the M5 motorway – but once St Michaels wood was a chase for wealthy hunters.