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The Hedge Press is a small publisher of history books with accompanying material and discussion presented online, free to access and use under a creative commons licence. Here we offer free access to digitised transcripts of original source materials, with a dedicated flexible system for searching the texts using dropdown wordlistsrepresenting the significant words in the text, and topic lists directed to relevant pasages.

The Hedge Press is a small publisher of history books with accompanying material and discussion presented online, free to access and use under a creative commons licence. Here we offer free access to digitised transcripts of original source materials, with a dedicated flexible system for searching the texts using dropdown wordlistsrepresenting the significant words in the text, and topic lists directed to relevant pasages.
Witches and fairies in 17th cent. Sussex
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Witches and fairies in 17th cent. Sussex

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Witness statements from 2 witch trials in Sussex, 1607-1609, giving an intimate and unconventional account of a witch hunt, with many details of Jacobean town life and beliefs. An online searchable resource. These digitized texts are accessed by a flexible search facility including drop-down word lists and topic lists, suitable for independent study or teacher-directed source-based questions. Word lists taken from the text offer an approach to the sources through the actual language of the originals, while topic lists provide a guide to the document contents. Live links to the searchable texts are available from the accompanying pdf document after downloading. In December 1607, Susan Swapper, a workman’s wife, was brought before the town magistrates of Rye charged with consorting with spirits in pursuit of treasure. The punishment for such a crime was hanging. Her neighbour, Anne Taylor, wife of the gentleman who employed Susan’s husband, was also charged as an accessory. Anne was already regarded with suspicion by many of the magistrates. An outspoken puritan, she was hostile to the established leadership of the town, and her skills as a ‘cunning woman’ or healer were seen as double-edged by some people. She was subsequently accused of murdering the former Mayor, MP, and the town’s wealthiest citizen, by witchraft. The case brought against the two women was based on investigations by the magistrates conducted over the previous three months. The documents collected for this case - consisting of interrogatories (lists of questions), examinations of suspects, evidence of witnesses, and letters - amount to about 20 thousand words in all. Their contents are a mass of criss-crossing threads and stray anecdotes, containing not only valuable material for the study of witchcraft in this period, but much incidental detail of the daily lives, habits, forms of thought and speech of the people of Rye at the time. Aspects of health, medicine, trade, household organisation, gardening and municipal politics, as well as religion and superstition, are all represented.
Youth in wartime: a diary, 1940-1944
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Youth in wartime: a diary, 1940-1944

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Diary of a schoolboy in his early teens describing the cross-currents of adolescence and the impact of war on personal relations, social life, and a maturing outlook. An online searchable resource. This digitized text is accessed by a flexible search facility including drop-down word lists and topic lists, suitable for independent study or teacher-directed source-based questions. Word lists taken from the text offer an approach to the sources through the actual vocabulary of the original, while topic lists provide a guide to the document contents. Live links to the searchable texts are available from the accompanying pdf document after downloading. Anthony Ryle, born in 1927, was the youngest child of a doctor and university teacher. In 1940 his boarding school was evacuated to Cornwall from Norfolk. Housed in former hotels in Newquay, the school used the seaside location in its science lessons, military cadet training and community work. The pupils spent free time on the beaches and in the countryside, and made connections with other schools through debates, arts and sport, including a similar girls’ school which had also moved to Newquay. Anthony became particularly involved in the inter-school activities of the Council for Education in World Citizenship (a branch of the League of Nations Union), through which he made more friends and developed his politicial ideas. His family home for most of the period was on the Sussex Downs, where he joined in village and agricultural life during his holidays, and records the activities of the rest of his family: his father working in a London Hospital in the Blitz, and later involved in planning the National Health Service; brothers working on the development of radar and in the Navy, sisters at university and working as carers. The diary describes the impact of the course of the war as it appeared in press and broadcasting, and in practical matters of everyday life. His personal development and changing outlook over these four years is vividly presented in the comments and arguments noted. A number of additional resources including articles written by Anthony for an inter-school magazine, and writings by his father about the medical profession (which interested Anthony and his school teachers) are linked to this online text. “…an absorbing and revealing story of an emergent moral consciousness, taking a critical stand on subjects like school authority, state propaganda and international relations in war. … a moving and often wryly amusing commentary on growing up in his society and time…” - Peter Cunningham, History of Education