This article came from the Chronicle published April 1985.  Page: 38


Book Review – A History of Beaminster

Author: Moira Gittos


A HISTORY OF BEAMINSTER M. de G. Eedle. Philimore 1984 £9.95.

The latest product from the pen of our member Mrs. Marie Eedle was published in December 1984. It is a thorough and comprehensive survey of the history of the parish. Mrs. Eedle begins by reviewing early history of the area and the possible origins of the name. She then traces the history of Beaminster, beginning with an examination of the Domesday entries, revealing a wholly agricultural community and continuing through the first indications of industrial activity in the 13th century. The steady rise in population during the medieval period and after is described. There follows a detailed analysis of all aspects of life in Beaminster between 1550 and 1950 under the general headings of “Town and Parish”, “Agriculture”, “Industries and Communications” and “People and Society”. These subjects are handled in convenient chronological blocks and the layout enables the reader to follow any particular subject through the book. The text is supported by carefully chosen illustrations and a number of valuable maps and figures interspersed in the text.

Throughout the book Mrs. Eedles’ careful scholarship is evident. It is undoubtedly the definitive history of Beaminster but it will also be of great value to social historians in providing a detailed study of a type of settlement less often examined in depth than the larger towns and cities. Over the period covered by the book it is also probably true to say that a large proportion of the population lived in communities of a similar size to this parish and hence the book has important relevance to community history as a whole.

Marie Eedle is indeed to be congratulated on the quality of her new book and the evident depth of research on which her analysis is based.

(Moira Gittos.)                  

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