Monday, 20 March 2017

Charterville: a view of the Chartist land settlement

The Chartist settlement at Minster Lovell in Oxfordshire was the fourth of five model villages set up under the aegis of the National Land Company. Consisting of nearly 300 acres of land and renamed Charterville, its smallholdings were settled one by one during the summer of 1848.

The picture shown here is from an unhappier time in the settlement’s history some two years later, by which time the lottery scheme by which land was allocated had been declared illegal, and the whole affair was descending into a series of acrimonious legal battles.

By October 1850, the disgruntled smallholders were fighting eviction, while loudly blaming Feargus O’Connor for raising their rents and for the poor state of the land they had to cultivate.

The picture is from the Illustrated London News of 12 October 1850. It shows a view of the estate “taken from the Oxford and Cheltenham road, at the west end of the crescent which parts the same, commanding a view of the schools in the right-hand crescent”.

It adds: “The property is situated upon a hill, commanding a picturesque view of the ancient village of Minster, and the Lovel Ruins below to the left.”

Some of the cottages still exist today, and that part of the village is known as Charterville Allotments.

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