The studies in this volume illuminate the changes in society over nearly three centuries. They consider the related fields of the church and its work in the parish, the expansion of educational provision (including the involvement of national societies such as the SPCK) and the operation of the old and new Poor Law, together with medical aspects of Poor Law provision. A separate study is made of the impact of epidemics which led ultimately to improvements in public sanitation and water supply. A wealth of local detail accompanies the narrative, citing life in towns and villages throughout the county, and recording the critical shift during the period in question from church-centred altruism to early imtimations of the welfare state.
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