The Story of England
Date of publication: July 2011
The village of Kibworth in Leicestershire lies at the very centre 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 700 years), Michael Wood tells the incredible story of the village over 2000 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.