Thursday, 6 March 2008


Whenever the name of a village that has family history connections comes up I always take extra note of it. Some of my ancestors came from Charlbury in the Cotswolds – I cannot recall who off hand. Nevertheless, when I read about it the other day I was delighted to find that at the top of Church Street the Old Market House (demolished in the 1870s) was once the scene of an incident similar to that in Hardy’s ‘Mayor of Casterbridge’. In 1843 a man brought a woman into the market house with a halter around her neck and sold her for the grand sum of 2/6. He then repaired to The Bull to drink the money away. I wonder what happened to her? (One of the other things that I noted while reading about Charlbury was how badly they once treated their animals as well as their women – there was bull-baiting, fox-hunting, badger-baiting and even squirrel hunting.)

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