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Diary of Victorian farmer highlights resilience of British family farms

Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A new book about a year in the life of a Victorian farmer has been published, with proceeds going to the Farming Community Network (FCN).

“The Diary of a Claines Farmer - 1883” gives a factual account of the daily life of Isaac John Sansome (pictured right), a small tenant farmer from Claines in Worcestershire, and the lengths he goes to in order to make a sustainable income following the death of his wife. The diary gives a fascinating insight into Isaac’s daily routine, social life and wellbeing, as he deals with the challenges that many family farmers are dealing with today.

The diary has been transcribed, researched and self-published by Isaac’s great-grandson, Geoff Sansome, who is Head of Agriculture at Natural England and a volunteer with FCN.

Geoff said: “The fascination of the diary is in the detail; every penny is accounted for and Isaac also relied heavily on goodwill, barter and lending to, and from his numerous farming friends. It gives a great glimpse into the social fabric of Victorian times and the tenacity of Isaac as a tenant farmer as he struggled to make a living and better the lot for himself and his family”.

The diary is available to buy for £12.95 at http://www.isaac.clainesfriends.org.uk/. For every copy sold, £3.50 will be donated to the work of FCN.

Charles Smith, chief executive of FCN, said: “It costs around £1,500 per day to resource our volunteers and run the organisation, so we are very grateful to you for the indirect support you are giving FCN by buying this fascinating book which is a window into a by-gone farming age whose traditions and issues are still remarkably familiar today.”

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