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Hungry Harbury

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Hungry Harbury

Postby Bruce Everiss » Thu 17 Jul 2008 10:05 am

Hungry Harbury, Guide to a Warwickshire Village is a book published by the Harbury Society in 1980 with a forward by the Hon. Secretary, Linda Ridgley. It was printed by Stratford Stencil and Reprographics, 57 Ely Street, Stratford - upon - Avon.

And here is an excellent book which gives the background of the rural conditions that led to Harbury being called Hungry Harbury:
In this are the story of the labourers revolt and Joseph Arch. Interesting stuff. Extract:

"............Over the hungry months of the winter of 1871–2 the discontent led to increased murmurings and talk of finding ways to assert their rights, among villagers in many parts of the country. In South Warwickshire, labourers in the village of Harbury, known locally as ‘Hungry Harbury’, made the first move, and held a public meeting to discuss asking for an advance in wages. Other villages began to stir, including Wellesbourne where, after a meeting or two, it was decided to call a larger meeting and get someone known and respected to come and speak and lead the movement. Three men were deputed to go to Barford to ask Joseph Arch to undertake the task. They went on Wednesday, 7 February 1872, a wet, miserable day, and found Arch at home making a box for his soldier son. Having heard their story, and satisfied himself that they were in earnest, Arch consented to speak at Wellesbourne that evening, and told them to book the club room at the Stag's Head Inn for the meeting.............."

From British History Online: ... mpid=57106

"......The land is 'poor and unproductive' and in 1740 the village is called Hungry Harbury.It has, however, always been a large one, with 148 houses in 1730, and in the middle of the last century acted as a reservoir of labour for neighbouring 'close' parishes like Chesterton and Ufton.........."

And from a forum: ... c=80491.15

"........It was a little old village that didn't quite make it agriculturally, the land just wasn't good enough, so the people only ever struggled to get by. It was known as Hungry Harbury. Then in the 1840s the railway came and the digging of the cutting in Harbury, the deepest in the world at that time, saw an increase in fortunes and a swelling in numbers as navvies (navigators) who dug up the land and laid the tracks, moved in.............The navvies drank a lot and there was concern in the village about binge-drinking and men staggering round the streets at night (it was ever thus) so the Primitive Methodists, including our Henry Thomas Finch I assume, worked hard on their temperance campaigns. The same Prims (that is what they are known as in my family, us being regular methodists) also set up a Co-op store in Harbury and worked with the CofE vicar in setting up the first trade union for farmers in the area, so there were some quite far-sighted people around............."

The Parliamentary Enclosure Movement and Rural Society in Warwickshire, By I. M. MARTIN:

"............The lands of many parishes in the
later sever:ceenth century remained in the possession of small squires and
yeomen farmers? But the Felden was dotted with a growing number of
enclosed and depopulated parishes in the hands of great landowners.
With the growth of population and the rise in poor-rate expenditure these
'closed' parishes came to be increasingly prized by eighteenth-century landowners.
Often such parishes lay contiguous to overcrowded 'open' parishes like
'Hungry' Harbury, where land ownership was widely dispersed and
great poverty apparent from the later seventeenth century, at least. These
villages formed convenient pools of agricultural labour for the 'closed'

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Bruce Everiss
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