William Cobbett

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William Cobbett

William Cobbett was a journalist and political radical, attacking corruption in government and a vocal advocate for reform. In 1821 William Cobbett started a tour of Britain on horseback, his observations eventually being published in a book Rural Rides.

Born in Farnham in 1763, Cobbett worked briefly as a gardener’s boy at Farnham Castle.

“At eleven years of age my employment was clipping of box-edgings and weeding beds of flowers in the garden of the Bishop of Winchester…I had always been fond of beautiful gardens; and a gardener, who had just come from the King’s gardens at Kew, gave me such a description of them as made me instantly resolve to work in these gardens. The next morning, without saying a word to any one, off I set, with no clothes, except those on my back, and with thirteen half-pence in my pocket.”

Spater, G., 1982 William Cobbett: The Poor Man’s Friend. Cambridge University Press, London