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The Story of Brough-under-Stainmore


About this book:

  • ISBN: 9781904524793 (hardback)

  • Published 2011

  • Price £17.50 + postage

  • 253 pages

  • Illustrated with 51 photographs, maps and drawings


BY piecing together evidence from a wide range of original sources, Margaret Gowling has produced a vivid picture of the changing influences which have shaped the history of Brough across the centuries. This deeply-researched book illustrates how much detail about the everyday lives of ordinary people can be recaptured, even for distant periods in the past, by a local historian skilled in interpreting archive sources. Rare indeed is it to find a local study which brings to life not only the miners, paupers and cotton mill workers of the 18th century and the yeomen farmers of the 17th but also the men and women who lived and worked in the area in the middle ages. Dr Angus Winchester, Senior Lecturer, Department of History, Lancaster University

Margaret Gowling's history of Brough-under-Stainmore is thorough, scholarly and readable, and sets an example for all Cumbrian local historians to follow. She draws on a wide range of primary sources, paying careful attention to their strengths and weaknesses, and supplements them with well-chosen (and attributed) use of secondary sources. Her purpose is to concentrate on the people who lived in Brough from the 14th century onwards, and on the kind of life they led. Her work will be essential reading for all students of the Upper Eden Valley, and also excellent material for comparative studies. I warmly commend it. Richard Brockington, Secretary, Cumbria County History Trust.

This impressive and scholarly book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the history of Brough. The many illustrations and maps both accompany and relate to the text, and the coloured reproductions of the 1st edition Ordnance Survey maps inside the front and back covers give an immediate sense of how much, yet how little, Market Brough and Church Brough have changed in 150 years... The author claims that this informative and fascinating study is not 'a comprehensive history of Brough', but it is as near to such as possible, given the lack of continuity in documentation and evidence...
Margaret Gowling's extensive research has resulted in a splendid book which will give exiled former residents, present day residents, and the descendants of former 'Brough people' all over the world a worthy, enjoyable and informative account of the history of their home community. Margaret Shepherd, British Association for Local History.

Many local histories are little more than compilations of earlier writings, amplified by patches of new research. This one is different. To write the first-ever history of Brough-under-Stainmore, Margaret Gowling and her husband John examined all the primary sources they could find. The result is a truly original volume. It provides a new understanding of the status and importance of Brough in mediaeval times... Although it recognizes Brough's strategic importance – manifest in the Roman fort and Norman castle, held by the Cliffords of centuries – it is frist and foremost a social history... I commend this well-produced volume to anyone interested in the story of Westmorland. It is readable, well-illustrated and excellently indexed, with thirty pages of valuable appendices including transcripts of records. Martin Holdgate, Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society.

About the Author:

The author, a geography graduate of the University of Nottingham, spent her working life in teaching. She, and her husband and fellow researcher, John Gowling, both have post-graduate degrees in history from the University of Lancaster. The Gowling family has been associated with Brough for over four hundred years.


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