Jessica Davidson

University of Oxford

Jessica Davidson - University of Oxford

I specialise in British social history in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and am working on a doctoral thesis on English provincial fairs. I have a background in history of art, and an interest in using visual and material sources to inform historical research and understanding. I am a contributor to the Trusted Source project.

Looking towards the sea, over the heather-covered ground at Dunwich Heath, Suffolk

Trusted Source: Helping you understand the big ideas behind our special places...

Trusted Source articles

Looking towards the sea, over the heather-covered ground at Dunwich Heath, Suffolk

Why were some medieval villages deserted?

There are over 2000 known sites of deserted medieval villages in England. Some villages were depopulated gradually by disease, enclosure or depleted local resources, others destroyed for aesthetic reasons by landowners, and others swept away by the effects of a changing climate.

More about deserted medieval villages
two children playing at the Devil's Punch Bowl

What are commons?

Commons today are valued for their protection of wildlife and ecology, where people are welcome visitors but the natural world takes priority. However, these sites survive in an unspoiled state thanks to a fascinating and often contentious human history of community identity, local memory and the rights of common people.

More about commons
‘Love Among the Ruins’ by Burne-Jones displayed in the Great Parlour, Wightwick Manor

Who were the Pre-Raphaelites?

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a nineteenth century art movement founded in 1848 by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and several of their friends.

More about the Pre-Raphaelites
Engraving in the collection at Parke Estate, Devon

Why were local fairs important?

The local fair was a site for trade, celebrating community identity, and welcoming outsiders to a town or village. There were hundreds of fairs across Britain, often occupying the same site on the same date for centuries.

More about local fairs