Hooligan pp 183-203 | Cite as

Merrie England and its Unruly Apprentice

  • Geoffrey Pearson


I am one of the maddest Fellows about the Town, I sing, roar, serenade, bluster, break Windows, demolish Bawdy-houses, beat Bawds, scower the Streets ... Ay madam, I am all Frolick, how many Knockers of Doors do you think I have at home now, that I twisted off when I scower’d, guess now. THOMAS SHADWELL, The Scowrers, 16901 As we approach the pre-industrial world of ‘Merrie England’, we edge on to a large historical controversy. Namely, whether the commercial and industrial revolutions had brought a civilising influence to bear upon an ignorant and savage people. Or, as was more usually supposed in the heat of the event, whether the ordered familiarity of ‘Merrie England’ had been ripped apart by these great transforming powers, creating an unrivalled deterioration in the morality and conduct of the common people. There are arguments on both sides.2


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Notes and References

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    The Complete Works of Thomas Shadwell (Fortune Press, 1927) p. 122.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Geoffrey Pearson 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Pearson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Applied Social StudiesUniversity of BradfordUK

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