The Suffolk Punch ? that sturdy, compact draft horse of noble ancestry ? was, until mechanisation, the powerhouse of the East Anglian farming community. In The Horse in the Furrow (1960), renowned social historian George Ewart Evans explores this potent symbol of a bygone era, and the complex network ? farmer, horseman, groom, smith, harness-maker and tailor ? which surrounded it. Evans charts a fascinating course, demonstrating the connectedness of husbandry, custom and dialect, and arguing for an organic, inclusive study of these aspects of rural life. In particular, the section on folklore sheds light on some of the most obscure practices, with the Punch standing proudly at its centre. With beautiful illustrations by Charles Tunnicliffe, The Horse in the Furrow is an engaging and subtle portrait of an animal at the heart of its community
Born in the mining town of Abercynon, South Wales, George Ewart Evans (1909-88) was a pioneering oral historian. In 1948 he settled with his family in Blaxhall, Suffolk, and through conversing with his neighbours he developed an interest in their dialect and the aspects of rural life which they described. Many were agricultural labourers, born before the turn of the century, who had worked on farms before the arrival of mechanisation. With the assistance of a tape recorder he collected oral evidence of the dialect, rural customs, traditions and folklore throughout East Anglia, and this work, reinforced by documental research, provided the background for his renowned East Anglian books.