Glimpses of the Past
One of the most common assumptions about our forbears is that they were just like us, only living in a different age. Modern historians have begun to show how wrong we are always to assume this. For example, people living in Elizabethan times were smaller than us, did not grow as quickly and had smaller hands and feet than we do. Perhaps even more striking are the differences in health and longevity: in the middle ages life expectation at birth sometimes dropped below thirty. Many women died in childbirth. But perhaps most of all, it was daily life which was so very different, as it changed so rapidly. Transport was difficult until the building of the new road to Moreton from Exeter in 1815. There was no proper road across the moor until the mid-18th century. A century later the train had reached the town, and tourists travelled further in motorcoaches. Within little more than three generations - 1750-1870 - Moreton went from being an isolated moorland town sending its serge to Exeter by packhorse to being a commercial tourist centre.