In tracing the farm and farm life from Neolithic times to the present, Ralph Whitlock shows how farmers have lived on and worked the land, and how new tools and crops, methods of tilling and breeding, and alterations in land tenure have changed the landscape and moulded the attitudes and traditions of society.--From inside cover.
In the beginning was the earth... From the Paleozoic volcanoes that stained its soil, to the Saxons who occupied it, to the Tudors who traded its wool, to the Land Girls of wartime, John Lewis-Stempel charts a sweeping, lyrical history of Woodston: the quintessential English farm. With his combined skills of farmer and historian, Lewis-Stempel digs deep into written records, the memories of relatives, and the landscape itself to celebrate the farmland his family have been bound to for millennia. Through Woodston's life, we feel the joyful arrival of oxen ploughing; we see pigs rootling in the medieval apple orchard; and take in the sharp, drowsy fragrance of hops on Edwardian air. He draws upon his wealth of historical knowledge and his innate sense of place to create a passionate, fascinating biography of farming in England. Woodston not only reminds us of the rural riches buried beneath our feet but of our shared roots that tie us to the land.