A Brief History of the Countryside in 100 Objects

Sally Coulthard author


Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers

Published:29th Feb '24


This title is due to be published on 29th February, and will be despatched as soon as possible.

A Brief History of the Countryside in 100 Objects cover

Britain’s unique rural past, from prehistory to the present day

The untold story of rural Britain revealed through its artefacts

The untold story of rural Britain revealed through its artefacts

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.

And yet rural life is oddly invisible our historical records. The daily routine of the peasant, the farmer or the craftsperson could never compete with the glamour of city life, war and royal drama. Lives went unrecorded, stories untold.

There is, though, one way in which we can learn about our rural past. The things we have left behind provide a connection that no document can match; physical artefacts are touchstones that breathe life into its history. From farming tools to children’s toys, domestic objects and strange curios, the everyday items of the past 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.

From ancient artefacts to modern-day memorabilia, this startling book weaves a rich tapestry from the fragments of our rural past.

‘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

'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

ISBN: 9780008559427

Dimensions: 240mm x 159mm x 36mm

Weight: 620g

336 pages