Rural Rides
Rural Rides is the book for which the English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

, agriculturist and political reformer William Cobbett
William Cobbett
William Cobbett was an English pamphleteer, farmer and journalist, who was born in Farnham, Surrey. He believed that reforming Parliament and abolishing the rotten boroughs would help to end the poverty of farm labourers, and he attacked the borough-mongers, sinecurists and "tax-eaters" relentlessly...

 is best known.

At the time of writing in the early 1820s, Cobbett was a radical anti-Corn Law campaigner, newly returned to England from a spell of self-imposed political exile in the United States.

Cobbett disapproved of proposals for remedies for agricultural distress suggested in Parliament in 1821. He made up his mind to see rural conditions for himself, and to "enforce by actual observation of rural conditions", the statements he had made in answer to the arguments of the landlords before the Parliamentary Agricultural Committee.

He embarked on a series of journeys by horseback through the countryside of Southeast England
South East England
South East England is one of the nine official regions of England, designated in 1994 and adopted for statistical purposes in 1999. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex...

 and the English Midlands
English Midlands
The Midlands, or the English Midlands, is the traditional name for the area comprising central England that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Kingdom of Mercia. It borders Southern England, Northern England, East Anglia and Wales. Its largest city is Birmingham, and it was an important...

. He wrote down what he saw from the points of view both of a farmer and a social reformer. The result documents the early nineteenth century countryside and its people as well as giving free vent to Cobbett's opinions.

He first published his observations in serial form in the Political Register
Political Register
The Political Register was a weekly newspaper founded by William Cobbett in 1802 and ceased publication in 1835, the year of his death.Originally propounding Tory views, and costing a shilling, Cobbett changed his editorial line to embrace radicalism, such as advocating widening the suffrage...

, running from 1822 to 1826. They were first published in book form in two volumes in 1830.

An analysis of Rural Rides, with history and discussion points, can be found at Journoblog


  • Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (27 Sep 2001) ISBN 0140435794. Introduction and notes by Ian Dyck
    Ian Dyck
    Ian Dyck was a Canadian historian noted for his work on William Cobbett, an English radical journalist and politician....

  • Constable; Abridged Hardcover edition (Sep 1982) ISBN 0094640602. Introduction by E.R. Chamberlain.
  • J.M. Dent & Sons Everyman (1912), reprinted 1924 and 1953, ASIN B00085HPA0. Introduction by Edward Thomas
    Edward Thomas (poet)
    Philip Edward Thomas was an Anglo-Welsh writer of prose and poetry. He is commonly considered a war poet, although few of his poems deal directly with his war experiences. Already an accomplished writer, Thomas turned to poetry only in 1914...

  • Rural Rides in the Counties of Surrey, Kent , Sussex, Hampshire... Original publication by Cobbet, 1830 and 1853.

External links

Winchester University Student Analysis at
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