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Local History Section Spring Symposium - jointly with the Wessex Centre for History & Archaeology

Childhood and Adolescence

Date: Saturday, 27th April 2019

Photo of children


2019's Local History Section Spring Symposium comprised the following talks:

  • Dr Fiona McCall, Children and Trauma in Loyalist Accounts of the English Civil War in Hampshire

  • Dr Rosalind Johnson, Children and Young People of Dissenting Families in Early Modern Hampshire

  • Professor Nicholas Orme, Display, Ceremony, and Performance in Medieval English Schools

  • Dr Mary South, The Inoculation of Children in Eighteenth Century Southampton

  • Barbara Large, The Children of Basingstoke Workhouse.

The Symposium was held in the Cinema at the Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester.

A pdf of the programme is also available for download. (0.4 mb)

The Speakers & their topics:

Dr Fiona McCall
D Phil (Oxon, 2008) is an early modern historian specialising in sixteenth and seventeenth-century religious and social history. Her work focuses on anti-clericalism, religious conflict, family and memory during and after the English Civil war and interregnum. Her first book on the experiences of loyalist clergy and their families, Baal's Priests: the Loyalist Clergy and the English Revolution (Ashgate Press, 2013) was commended by judges of the 2013 Samuel Pepys Prize. She has also published papers on childhood trauma amongst loyalist families, charges of scandal against the loyalist clergy, and clerical humour. She is currently editing a collected edition for Palgrave, Church and People in Interregnum Britain, as well as researching and writing a book on religious conflict in English parishes during the Commonwealth period. She is a lecturer in early modern history at the University of Portsmouth and a departmental lecturer in local & social history at the University of Oxford Department of Continuing Education.

Early seventeenth-century clerical families were social exemplars, with a particular need to demonstrate family order and adherence to patriarchal values. In conduct guides and sermons clergy promoted ideals of family discipline, and advocated chastisement and control of children as a religious imperative and an act of love. This was challenged by the threats to the social order which came with Civil Wars in the 1640s, not least amongst the families of clergy ejected from their livings. Using memories of the Civil Wars collected by clergyman John Walker in the 1700s, probate documents, and other contemporary sources, this talk considers the impact of civil war on the children of Hampshire loyalist clerical families.

Dr Rosalind Johnson
Rosalind Johnson read history at the University of York. She returned to study with an MA in history and archaeology and then a PhD at the University of Winchester. Her doctoral thesis was on Protestant dissenters in Hampshire in the 17th and 18th centuries. She is a visiting research fellow at the University of Winchester, an associate lecturer at the University of Chichester, and a contributing editor for the Wiltshire Victoria County History. She has published several articles on Protestant dissenters and has recently completed a book chapter on Quakers and marriage in the 18th century. Her current project is a study of the celebration of banned religious festivals during the Interregnum.

The records of Hampshire’s early modern Protestant nonconformists focus on the adults who had leading roles within the congregations, or who suffered persecution for their faith. Yet children and young people were as much part of these religious groups as their parents. Accounts of dissenting ‘conventicles’, or illegal religious meetings, mention that children were attending. In times of persecution children witnessed the arrests of adult members of their congregation, and parents were separated from their children. Isaac Watts senior, father of the famous hymn writer Isaac Watts, was forced to leave his wife and children behind in Southampton when he fled to London to escape persecution. Youth was not a protection against arrest; some young people in Portsmouth were themselves imprisoned alongside the adults. Despite persecutions, Hampshire’s nonconformists established schools to educate their children. After the Act of Toleration in 1689 allowed most Protestant dissenters to worship freely these school continued, alongside the education of young men for the nonconformist ministry, and the placing of young people as apprentices with suitable employers.

Professor Nicholas Orme
Nicholas Orme is emeritus professor of history, Exeter University, and the author of some thirty books on religious, educational, and social history. These include Medieval Children (2001); Medieval Schools: From Roman Britain to Tudor England (2006); Fleas, Flies and Friars: Children’s Poetry from the Middle Ages (2011); English School Exercises: 1420-1530 and Medieval Pilgrimage: With a Survey of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Bristol (2018).

Medieval schools, like modern ones, projected themselves through their buildings and activities. The classroom was a kind of theatre of exposition, questioning, discussion, and punishment. Masters and pupils became involved in the development of the English drama, organising and taking part in plays especially in religious houses and great households, including Winchester Cathedral.

Dr Mary South
Mary South trained as a biologist and ecologist, and was head of Science in a girls’ comprehensive school in Southampton, before returning to laboratory work in the NHS. She then trained as a Blue Badge Guide and studied a post-graduate Diploma in Local History from Portsmouth University. She has worked in tourism and as an Education Officer. She undertook a part-time MSc at London South Bank University, and after retirement followed up the investigation of smallpox inoculation in Southampton, uncovered during her Diploma research. This was achieved by gaining a PhD with the University of Winchester in 2010. She is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Winchester; a member of the Local History Section Committee for the Hampshire Field Club; on the Editorial Boards for the Southampton Records Series (SRS) and Hampshire Papers and is Treasurer for the Friends of Clarendon Palace. Her fingers have managed to write three books; Titanic Threads; Southampton Book of Days and as part of the SRS, The Inoculation Book 1774–1783. Chaotic career path? Maybe - but it’s been fun!

During the long eighteenth century there was ambivalence in attitudes towards children, well-to-do families were encouraged to cherish their offspring, whilst the children of the poor often were seen as a resource to be exploited. The mass inoculation of the poor in Southampton may have had significant value to the poor families themselves, but the authorities saw it as a means of protecting the future workforce and armed forces i.e. it was of national significance. What the records show is the gratitude and trust that parents had for the surgeons’ skills, bringing babies as young as two weeks to be inoculated. That the surgeons were skilled there is no doubt - no child died as a result of the operation.

Barbara Large
Barbara Large grew up in Walsall in the West Midlands. Qualified in Business Studies she became a local government officer for Staffordshire County Council and retired in 2007. With a lifelong interest in local history, in her spare time she studied at Keele University for the Certificate in Post-Medieval Archaeology and the Certificate in Local History, mainly concentrating on Staffordshire. Moving to Basingstoke in 2009, she joined the VCH research group for Hampshire as a volunteer. She has a particular interest in the lives of the poor and is currently researching the pre-Poor Law records for the parish of Old Basing for a future VCH publication. She also edits and produces the bi-annual VCH Hampshire newsletter.

In the political, economic and social turmoil of early 19C England and the advent of catastrophic and pervasive poverty, children were often not considered to be significant, despite contributing to the workforce. Inevitably, they were caught up in the poor law system, both before and after the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act in 1834. This Act established the universal workhouse system in the country, which has now become a dark part of our national idetity. The talk will examine the state of childhood at the time, the workhouse system and practices, and then look at the experience of children in this very typical early rural workhouse – a relatively humane and progressive organisation by the standards of the time. We will see how children were accommodated and treated, educated and encouraged to move on in the world. Then how attitudes changed over the course of the period, leading to more modern ideas and approaches to destitute and orphaned children into the early 20C.

Any questions about the Local History Section?
Then email Roger Ottewill Local History Section Chairman