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  Title: The Biography of a Victorian Village

Author: Richard Cobbold (edited by Ronald Fletcher)

Date published: 1977

Status: out of print

What is it? Richard Cobbold's exhaustive account of the village of Wortham in 1860, published in 1977 with his sketches and watercolours of the inhabitants

What's it like? Here lives John Fake the Wheelwright who - for one hundred years - has carried on the trade in this spot. He went the bounds of the parish with me when I first came into it and has ever since conducted himself in a very respectable manner. But the son has this very year given up the trade and hired a farm directly opposite it. He tells me that neither of his sons seem to stick to their Father's and Grandfather's employment, so that Fake the Wheelwright seems likely to be extinct. I hope not - for I know not a better conducted man in my parish, nor one in a more useful occupation.

What's good about it? Cobbold was Rector of Wortham for more than fifty years, and his exploration of the village draws together most of the aspects of its life over half a century. He's particularly good at going off at philosophical tangents as he considers his flock.

What's bad about it? Inconceivably, it is now out of print.

Overall rating: 5/5

Buy this book: Often available in Suffolk second-hand bookshops - expect to pay about ten pounds.