A Journey into the Landscapes of Our Ancestors

James Canton author


Publisher:Canongate Books

Published:2nd Feb '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

This hardback is available in another edition too:

Grounded cover


For thousands of years, our ancestors held a close connection with the landscapes they lived in. They imbued it with meaning: stone monuments, sacred groves, places of pilgrimage. In our modern world we have rather lost that enchantment and intimate knowledge of place.

James Canton takes us on a journey through England seeking to see through more ancient eyes, to understand what landscape meant to those that came before us. We visit stone circles, the West Kennet long barrow, a Crusader round church and sites of religious visions. We meet the Dagenham Idol and the intricately carved Lion Man figure. We find artefacts buried in farmers' fields. There is history and meaning encoded into the lands and places we live in, if only we take the time to look.

Our natural world has never been under more threat. If we relocate our sense of wonder, veneration and awe in the landscapes we live in, we might just be better at saving it.

A book of ghost trails, burial mounds and crop marks, of stone circles and ancient treasures rising from the soil . . . through his eyes we see the magic of discovery . . . Liminal and lyrical * * Mail on Sunday * *
James Canton is curious. What makes a place sacred? His journey is geographical, spiritual and one of historical and prehistorical discovery. Canton, like Robert Macfarlane and others, engages friends and experts, fostering credibility but also a sense of gentle companionship * * Countryfile * *
A deep dive into ancient landscapes in search of the sacred. Beautifully written and profound in its insights -- NEIL ANSELL
Canton's research (chiefly in local historical and archaeological records) and his observations paint a convincing picture of the English landscape and the people who lived in it. He assumes a role somewhere between that of an archaeologist, ghost hunter and pilgrim * * Financial Times * *
A vivid exploration to the hearth-heart of the sacred places of our past - brimming with warmth and gentleness -- KEGGIE CAREW
What interests [Canton] above all is British rural sites where the evidence of the deep past still lies on or close to the surface. These are his sacred places, the landscapes in which the world can be felt to be re-enchanted. The most affecting episodes in Grounded are those that evoke a specific and individual sense of the sacred * * Times Literary Supplement * *
To know what we are, and so how to behave and to thrive, we need to know where we've come from. Canton is an acute, gentle, companionable and elegiac guide through our past - and so through our present and future. He lets the land and our ancestors' bones speak. Their lessons could not be more urgent or exhilarating. You should join him in this sacramental journey -- CHARLES FOSTER
One of the most luminous and illuminating books on our landscape I have read for many a year * * Resurgence and Ecologist * *
Canton's gift for vivid description makes this journey - this excavation of place and purpose - a captivating and ultimately anchoring one. Grounded is a joyful peer beneath the surface to where our own roots channel those of ancient time: it has brought new meaning to my everyday rituals of walking and seeing -- MATT COLLINS
In the mode of nature writers such as Robert Macfarlane - it has a natural flow that pulls the reader along . . . a book that felt like the kind of easygoing conversation about old ways between old places that might be had with a friend on a long country walk * * The Past * *

ISBN: 9781838855871

Dimensions: 220mm x 144mm x 27mm

Weight: 388g

272 pages