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Good Reads  Natural History  General Natural History

A Brief History of the Countryside in 100 Objects

By: Sally Coulthard(Author)
323 pages, 100 b/w illustrations
Publisher: HarperNorth
A Brief History of the Countryside in 100 Objects
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  • A Brief History of the Countryside in 100 Objects ISBN: 9780008559427 Hardback Feb 2024 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
Price: £22.00
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

For most of human history, we were rural folk. Our daily lives were bound up with working the land, living within the rhythm of the seasons. We poured our energies into growing food, tending to animals and watching the weather. Family, friends and neighbours were often one and the same. Life revolved around the village and its key spaces and places – the church, the green, the school and the marketplace.

We all share this common heritage and yet we hear so little about it. Rural life seems oddly invisible in the records – the daily routine of the peasant, the farmer and the craftsperson could never compete with the glamour of city life, war and royal drama. Records are absent. Lives unrecorded. Stories untold.

And yet there is one way we can learn about our rural past. Objects provide a direct route into the history of the countryside that no document can match; artefacts, in their tangibility, are touchstones that breathe life into its history. Whether it's farming tools or children's toys, domestic objects or strange curios, the everyday objects made and used by the people who occupied the land reveal fascinating insights into an often-forgotten way of life. Birth, death, celebration, work, crime, play, medicine, beliefs, diet and our relationship with nature can all be read from these remnants of our past.

Customer Reviews


Sally Coulthard is an expert in all things nature, history and craft. She has published over twenty-five non-fiction books and her titles have been translated into a dozen languages. She studied Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Oxford and worked in television before becoming a writer. She lives on a smallholding in North Yorkshire with her family and writes a column for Country Living magazine called 'A Good Life'.

By: Sally Coulthard(Author)
323 pages, 100 b/w illustrations
Publisher: HarperNorth
Media reviews

"A charming trayful of historical canapés, always and repeatedly surprising. Sally Coulthard has the lightest of touches and is able to conjure a wonderful sense of intimacy with the lives of the past. I couldn't think of a better way of encountering them."
– Adam Nicolson, author of Life Between the Tides

"A really lovely, fascinating book. I dived straight into this clever, joyous, celebration of nature, history, and – of course – the countryside."
– Charles Spencer, author of The White Ship

"An unusual and ingenious collection of objects, each a provocation to lovingly crafted mini-essays that are often unexpected and always fascinating. Very enjoyable."
– Christopher Hadley, author of The Road

"This book is about the humanity of rural Britain. The 100 objects beautifully illustrate the challenges people faced and the ingenuity and humour they used to overcome them. Relaxed and conversational, I couldn't put it down."
– Francis Pryor, author of Scenes from Prehistoric Life

"In exquisitely detailed and informative prose, every one of the hundred objects comes to glorious life in this colourful romp through rural history. A heady joy that I am delighted to recommend."
– John Wright, author of The Forager's Calendar

"Informative and illuminating. A portable museum of a book that I will return to again and again."
– Ruth Allen, author of Grounded

"Terrific. Written in Sally's usual authoritative but very readable style, she stretches her net widely to find intriguing items to discuss from around Britain (with occasional excursions abroad)."
– Alex Johnson, author of The Book Lover's Almanac

"Coulthard explores our rural past through a gathered assemblage of wonderful and intriguing objects."
– Rose Ferraby

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