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Shadowlands: A Journey Through Lost Britain

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Shadowlands | Faber Shadowlands | Faber

Matthew Green's book's a wonderful blend of social and cultural history that draws on a variety of sources from local records and interviews to art, myth and literature, but also looks forward to consider the future and what losses might be yet to come. Fragmented into rival kingdoms, Wales, by 1066, was a very different cultural and political entity from the freshly conquered and already unified realm of England. The last church in the city had dropped into the sea in 1922 and the mysticism of the place intrigued him.

The deserted mediaeval village of Wharram Percy lost much of its population during the Black Death when “many thought they were soaking up the last glimmers of the universe’s existence”, but that was not what finished the village off. A good introduction to a collection of fascinating histories which, thanks to good referencing, I can go on to read more about.

Shadowlands: Matthew Green (1965) | Travels Through Time Shadowlands: Matthew Green (1965) | Travels Through Time

Each chapter captures a different place and by far the most interesting for me were those of St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides and the villages of Breckland in Norfolk. So Shadowlands is a book that really appealed to me telling the story of how entire villages, towns and indeed cities disappeared over the years, and how they were rediscovered. But as Green says, and his book splendidly demonstrates, “what has disappeared beneath sea can rebuild itself in the mind”.

The village still shows the outlines of forty peasant dwellings, some showing visible doorways and rooms, having been laid out between 1166 and the thirteenth century. MAFS UK viewers SHOCKED after Thomas and Roz engage in X-rated shenanigans during group dinner party: 'He's turned into Mr Grey!

Matthew Green - One Aldwych Matthew Green - One Aldwych

Well worth reading if you are interested in the history of Great Britain and how some places managed to disappear from our map.The earth had been forced to give up her secrets, and what had lain concealed for millennia turned out to be among the oldest-built structures anywhere on the planet – older than the Egyptian pyramids, older than the temples of Mycenae, and older, certainly, than Stonehenge. Shadowlands sets out to show, in Matthew’s words, how our country’s history is “shaped by absences”.

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