Monday, 22 March 2010

Home End, Fulbourn, where Joshua Woollard (1806 - 1867) lived and farmed - and lost half a family

Today's electioneering was going to include canvassing in Fulbourn with Sue and an independent dog. We decided that the independent dog, name of 'Milly,' might be a mite too independent, so I went to Fulbourn with Sue only.

My late great, great grandfather, Joshua Wooollard (1806 - 1867), lived and farmed at Home End, Fulbourn, probably based at the house pictured below. According to the 1851 Census, Joshua farmed 245 acres, employing 13 'labourers.' By the time of the 1861 Census, Joshua was down to 161 acres and employing 7 men and 2 boys. He was also by then a widower, for my great, great grandmother, Elizabeth (née Clack), had died of 'fever' in 1860, aged only 40. By that time, Elizabeth had borne no less than 13 children, 7 of whom died young. Not everybody recognises the transformation of women's lives wrought by birth control and better child care and medicine. I thank goodness that the eldest son of Joshua and Elizabeth, Joshua Samuel Woollard, who was born at The Biggin, Fen Ditton, in 1844, before the family moved to Fulbourn, lived and prospered until 1929. He was my great grandfather and I would not have been born had he not lived.

But back to Fulbourn. As in everywhere I have been, I have found from active door-to-door canvassing and on the streets that what people want are more independent-minded MPs who will make up their own minds on issues of the day and not be party puppets. Too many members of the House of Commons are regarded as in it for themselves and only too ready to toe the party line - of whichever party - as opposed to what they are supposed to be doing: representing their constituents.

We met many of the residents of Fulbourn. We found them interested in the General Election but unsure of what to do. A few have old party loyalties but many are with me and independent to boot. It is extremely surprising that hardly anybody brings up the names of the other candidates, not even that of the sitting member who, like others, may have 'sat here too long.' I often think of Oliver Cromwell's famous speech to the Rump Parliament in April, 1653:

“... It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money ...

... You have sat here too long for the good you do. In the name of God, GO!”

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