That picture-postcard village you have just driven through might seem an eternal part of the landscape, but this informative and well-illustrated book introduces us to the vulnerability of villages, and how and why many have been abandoned through the ages.
Their demise could be at the hand of nature – by coastal erosion or climate change. It could be man-made, driven by changing farming practices or gentrification of the landscape. It could be by the waxing and waning of an industry, which might create a village and then destroy it. It could also be due to military or economic strategy, or the inexorable expansion of a city.
Using many examples from across the country, Stephen Fisk briskly relates their stories and the clues left behind – both physical and historical – that preserve an echo of them. Importantly, he reminds us that villages were not just buildings and roads, but also communities and people, with fascinating stories to tell. Having whetted your appetite, he also includes an extensive list of further reading and online resources.
This review appeared in CA 339.