William Cobbett (1763-1835)

Death: 18th June 1835
Location: St Andrew's Parish Church, Farnham, Surrey, England
Photo taken by: Jon and Sarah Farley
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William Cobbett was an English pamphleteer, farmer and journalist, who believed that parliamentary reform would help to end the poverty of farm labourers. 
He wrote many polemics, on subjects from political reform to religion, but is best known for his book, Rural Rides, which is still in print today. He was a gifted writer, though later generations have taken offence at his some of his supposedly anti-Semitic and racist views. 
He is considered to have begun as a conservative journalist who, angered by the corrupt British political establishment, became increasingly radical and sympathetic to anti-government ideals. He provides an alternative view of rural England in the age of an Industrial Revolution with which he was not in sympathy.
Cobbett was not content to let newspaper stories come to him, he went out like a modern reporter and dug them up, especially the story that he returned to time and time again, the plight of the rural Englishman. He took to riding around the country on horseback making observations of what was happening in the towns and villages. Rural Rides first appeared in serial form in the Political Register running from 1822 to 1826. It was published in book form in 1830.