Farming through the ages in a book launch at Ely Museum

PUBLISHED: 15:35 30 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:08 31 October 2017

Ely Museum holds a talk by William Franklin on the agricultural history of the area PHOTO: Mike Rouse

Ely Museum holds a talk by William Franklin on the agricultural history of the area PHOTO: Mike Rouse

Archant

An award-winning historian from East Cambridgeshire has spoken about farming in days gone by as part of a launch of his new book on Ely’s agricultural history.

Ely Museum holds a talk by William Franklin on the agricultural history of the area PHOTO: Mike Rouse Ely Museum holds a talk by William Franklin on the agricultural history of the area PHOTO: Mike Rouse

A spokesman for the museum said: “Great to welcome William Franklin to Ely Museum to talk about his fascinating book on the agricultural history of Ely.

Ely Museum holds a talk by William Franklin on the agricultural history of the area PHOTO: Mike Rouse Ely Museum holds a talk by William Franklin on the agricultural history of the area PHOTO: Mike Rouse

“So much new to discover and has explained about how our farming area around Ely was developed and the winners and losers from enclosures.”

William Franklin said his book focuses on the agriculture of the parish of Stuntney and Chettisham throughout time.

He said: “It is packed full of information on a subject (agriculture) that was of paramount importance but not often appreciated properly in most historical books.”

Mike Petty, of Fenland Family History, said of the plot: “For centuries the land was divided up into strips that were farmed by individuals in agreement with their neighbours - all planting the same crop in the same area.

“But then the larger landowners started to change the tradition - enclosing those strips to create fields where they could graze livestock. “As agricultural practices changed and machinery did what manpower had previously done so another revolution was needed.

“It came in 1844 when a meeting was called in Ely which would tear up the map of the countryside and reallocate land - the process of Parliamentary Enclosure.

“It was a period of meetings, agitation and massive change. New roads were laid out, footpaths created and plots of ground allotted to those individuals whose very way of farming was changed for ever.”

• William Franklin ‘An Agricultural History of Ely’ is in paperback for £12.99 from Amazon or Burrow’s Bookshop and Topping Booksellers in Ely.

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