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Head of Zeus
The Barn
The Barn: The Lives, Landscape and Lost Ways of an Old Yorkshire Farm by Sally Coulthard

A revelatory uncovering of a vanished agricultural way of life by bestselling nature writer Sally Coulthard.

Across the muddy foldyard from Sally Coulthard's farmhouse stands a large and ancient stone barn. When she discovered a set of witches' marks on one of its internal walls, scratched into the plaster to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck, Sally began to wonder about the lives of the people who had lived and worked around the Barn in times past; the forgotten inhabitants of a North Yorkshire agricultural landscape where superstition, religion, nature, work and home life had co-existed for centuries in rough-and-ready harmony.

In The Barn, Sally explores a hidden corner of rural Britain that has witnessed remarkable changes. From the eighteenth-century Enclosures to the era of the Second World War, the fortunes of the Barn, the farm and its occupants have been blown, like a leaf in a gale, by the unstoppable forces of new agriculture and industry. Seismic shifts in almost every area of society – education, technology, food and farming, transport, superstition and the Church – all were played out here in miniature against a backdrop of scattered limestone villages and the softly rolling Howardian Hills. From sweeping political changes to domestic dramas and small victories, this tiny, mellow corner of England watched it all unfold.

Both intimate history of a family, a house and its hinterland, and wider investigation of shifting patterns of work, leisure and domestic life across two-and-a half centuries of English history, The Barn is an affectionate celebration of the enduring charm of rural North Yorkshire and a revelatory investigation of a lost agricultural way of life.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Modern History
11 Nov 2021 * 352pp * £7.99 * 9781800240872
Readable, fascinating... A very human history, focusing on the people whose lives changed over several centuries as times and technology changed around them'
'Sally Coulthard's beautiful books have shown us the beauty and rich history of everyday things like sheep, bees, hedgehogs, flowers and snow – and now, the humble barn'
Country Walking Magazine
'A thoroughly interesting read'
Gazette and Herald
'Serious themes don't take away from The Barn's charm. The book is engaging and filled with the gentle humour and fascinating facts that are an integral part of Coulthard's written style'
Get History
'This really is a gem of a book and the reader will come away enlightened, not only richly informed about the troubles and tribulations of past lives lived in the shadow of the barn, but of the unstoppable forces of agriculture during a long-gone seismic period of British history'
Country Smallholding
Sally Coulthard
Sally Coulthard
Sally Coulthard is a bestselling author of books about natural history and rural life including The Barn, A Short History of the World According to Sheep, The Book of the Earthworm, The Hedgehog Handbook and over twenty more titles. She lives on a Yorkshire smallholding which she shares with her husband, three girls and an assortment of unruly animals.
ALSO BY Sally Coulthard
The Little Book of Building Fires
The Hedgehog Handbook
The Little Book of Snow
The Bee Bible
A Short History of the World According to Sheep
The Book of the Earthworm
The Book of the Barn Owl
Fowl Play