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Why did Sussex gamekeeper Henry Ayling report so much debt in 1830?

This enquiry starts with the story of Henry Ayling, a gamekeeper working on a big estate in the 19thcentury. Ayling reported an increase in debts in the periods 1830-1.

Students are asked to speculate about why this might have been. The enquiry reveals that this debt came from an increase in the crime of poaching.

In the main task, students are asked to categorise information about the reasons for the rise in this crime.  Can it simply be put down to the increasing hardships and poverty of ordinary people? Or, were other factors at play?

Your class will then  consider the views of academic historians in reaching their own judgements about the relative importance of the different factors, before completing a radar graph.

Finally, they are in a strong position to comment on the reasons for the rise in this particular social crime in the 18th and 19th centuries, and they are guided in writing well-reasoned conclusions.

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  • Lesson presentation: PowerPoint
  • Lesson write-up: PDF – new
  • Resources 1-4 including the artist reconstruction and sources:PDF
  • Worksheet 1-3 : PDF

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