It is an idyllic vision of England that all good Englishmen hold close to their hearts. A vision with thatched cottages, the country inn and harvest festivals as the back drop of an egalitarian country lifestyle that looks back to the period of time between the middle ages and the beginning of the industrial revolution. Even though it is uncertain whether or not this mythical period in English history actually existed, the impact of a nostalgic yearning for this  Utopian vision for England is very real. There are two 3 bedroom houses for sale within 1 mile of each other both in very similar surroundings. One house is built in recent times the other is 600 years old with a thatched roof. The thatched roof house can command a higher price than the new build. Immediately the  phone calls are buzzing in the local estate agents for the older house, yet the new build is left on the books for over 3 months without any viewings? Why? It would seem as though the dream of Merry England and romanticism of our country's past has a huge impact on the value of property in the 21st century. The dream of a simpler way of life in the country and community are all part of this vision and even though a thatched cottage will not remove you from the 21st century and all its complications, when you shut your font door on an old character property you can for one moment pretend that you're away from the rat race that constitutes the 21st century living.

This much dreamed about and romanticised period can probably be sited between 1350 AD and 1520 AD just after the Black Death had ravaged most of Europe leaving farm workers in a  much stronger bargaining position due to the drastically diminished workforce. The Black Death also went to prove that social status was no protection from disease and all men are equal in the eyes of God leaving the workers with the potential for greater freedom from their Norman masters and a move back towards the perceived golden age of Saxon rule. Such ideals of what it is to be English have been floated around for a very long time, particularly in times of war  and national threat.  "Little England" and "Deep England" are both used as propaganda  today by far right political parties like the BNP to ignite a passion for their twisted version of Merry England. But if you enjoy a  Sunday roast beef dinner and a few ales with old friends in a tavern, which was was serving ale before your great great great great (continue until you hit that imagined Merry England period) grand father was born then you are an Englishman and Merry England is alive in your heart.

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