Charles Foster shares his extensive knowledge of Arley Hall and its archives through his non-fiction books. The best place to find out more about Charles’ books is at the Arley Hall Press webpage (click here for Arley Hall Press).
The books are listed on the amazing Arley Hall Archives website (click here for Arley Hall Archives), which gives you brilliant access to digitised copies of maps, bills, orders and many other documents that make up the history of running a historic estate.
The website also gives you a link to further explore the stunning Arley Hall (which I wholeheartedly recommend you visit). Click here for Arley Hall information.
Charles Foster’s books include:
The Fabric of Society and how it creates wealth ISBN 0 9518382 5 9 (2013)
Is a wide distribution of wealth essential for economic growth? – an historical perspective.
Part One examines eighteenth century England, contrasting the south and east, which was dominated by rich gentry and aristocrats, with northern, especially north-western, England. In the south and east business enterprises were gently disappearing while the north -west, a community where wealth was relatively widely distributed, was bursting into action.
In Part Two, the argument focuses on three areas in Europe that seem in turn to have led innovation in the world and made Europe the wealthiest continent by 1800.
Capital and Innovation – How Britain became the First Industrial Nation ISBN 0-9518382-4-5 (2004)
In the sixteenth century, there was a major redistribution of wealth away from the Church, the Crown and the major gentry. As a result a business society emerged in the North-West of England in the seventeenth century. Changes in property law, the great inflation in land values and the pastoral agriculture in that area meant that a large number of families of the middling sort were able to pass on a bit of capital to each of their children. Many of these children then moved into trade and manufacture, or paid their passage across the Atlantic to set up in business in the northern colonies of America.
With so many small property owners in the area, landowning gentry did not dominate local society as they did in the South and East of England. So the ‘business’ culture of the North-West and of America was able to withstand the ‘gentry’ culture of the South of England and the rest of Europe. The great expansion of trade around the Atlantic, in which sugar, tobacco, cotton, timber and grain were exchanged for English manufactures, created so much wealth that some of the rich businessmen in the North-West were willing to venture their capital to develop the canal system, mechanical spinning and an effective steam engine – the innovations that drove the Industrial Revolution.
Seven Households: Life in Cheshire and Lancashire 1582 – 1774 ISBN 09518382 2 9 (2002)
The descriptions of three major gentry households – Smithills from the 1580s to the 1600s, Tabley from the 1630s to the 1680s and Arley between 1740 and 1780 are contrasted with the lives of more ordinary people. The Fells of Swarthmoor were much engaged in business, Thomas Jackson and Richard Latham were brought up on 15 and 20 acre farms while George Dockwra lived quietly on a small pension as a lodger in a farmhouse. These detailed examples were designed to support and enrich the thesis set out in the fourth and final volume of this series.
Cheshire Cheese and Farming in the North West in the 17th & 18th Centuries ISBN 0 9518382 1 0 (1998)
In 1650 the first ship loaded with Cheshire cheese sailed from Chester to London. So popular did it become that within a few years several pubs in London were called The Cheshire Cheese. This trade led to important changes in the shape of rural life in the North-West. In the course of charting these developments Charles Foster provides fascinating details about daily life on the farms, the people who worked the land and the men who sailed the ships between London and north-western ports.
Four Cheshire Townships in the 18th Century ISBN 0 9518382 0 2 (1992)
This is a unique snapshot of rural life in the eighteenth century. It details the lives of the residents of 8,600 acres in the four townships – from Sir Peter Warburton of Arley Hall to Jonathan Berry, a sheep shearer. Extraordinary details of these people’s incomes and occupations have survived in rare tax returns, maps, rentals and deeds in the Arley Hall archives.
Click here to buy these books from Arley Hall Press. Check out the amazingly low prices!