Villages of England

Turpin, Richard, Hunt, Roger

Published by Rizzoli, 1999
ISBN 10: 0847821730 / ISBN 13: 9780847821730
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Synopsis: Across the expanse of England, picturesque, historic villages survive almost untouched by the unrelenting hand of progress. The vibrant photographs in these pages capture the essence of village England, from the somber drama of the Yorkshire Dales to the honey-toned limestone buildings of the Cotswolds. Cottages, churches, and pubs are steeped in history, revealing fascinating details about the lives and traditions of villagers as long ago as the eleventh-century Norman's. Chapters based on ways of life show how industrial villages and coastal villages formed, and how village greens had many duties as the center of public life. Villages of England captures the perfect vistas and telling historical details of each location, for a delightful tour of rarely-seen countryside.

Review: Following his Undiscovered France and London Rediscovered, photographer Richard Turpin has produced yet another stimulating feast for the eyes. His wide-ranging images of sedate English village life are grouped thematically, through picturesque churches and greens, and tranquil waterside and solemn industrial locations. Today's surviving beauty and variety are shown to be the result of layers of custom and changing circumstance, while local character is evoked by the surrounding countryside and choice of building materials. He reveals both the beauty and the hardship that were inherent aspects of village life and leaves you with the keen sense that even now, coastal life can be dangerous!

Roger Hunt's accompanying text simultaneously provides a sympathetic and very readable account of the evolution of the village as part of English history. He explains the profound effects of the inexorable Black Death and Industrial Revolution as well as reveals fascinating local legends and events. Widecombe-in-the-Moor's church, for instance, was struck by lightning, which was explained at the time as the devil tethering his horse to its pinnacle.

Finally, the map, list of villages by county, and comprehensive index all contribute to the overall enjoyment of the book and inspire you to go out and find these gems of old England for yourself. --Fiona Murphy

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Villages of England
Publisher: Rizzoli
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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