Now a major PBS miniseries
The village of Kibworth in Leicestershire lies at the very center of England. It has an ancient church, some pubs, the Grand Union Canal, a First World War Memorial—and many centuries of recorded history. It has experienced departing Romans, Saxon, and Viking immigrants, Norman conquerors; the Black Death, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution; and its people have gone off to the Empire and to fight in two world wars. Enlisting the villagers themselves—who dug test pits in their gardens in search of Roman pottery, were DNA tested to examine their Viking origins and offered up their family collections of photos and documents—and using the archives of the village housed at Merton College Oxford (an archive unique in western Europe going back seven hundred years), Michael Wood tells the incredible story of the village over two thousand years. This is an account of England told not from the top but from the bottom—a story of Anglo-Saxon peasants, medieval reeves, Tudor vicars, Victorian frame-work knitters and First World War soldiers. This is a people’s history of England, told through the history of one small community.