Visit the village of Kibworth, Leicestershire, with historian Michael Wood as he tells the 2,000-year-old story of this one settlement throughout English history. Kibworth, located in the heart of England, lived through the Black Death, the English Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and World War II. Intertwining the local and national narratives, Wood presents a moving and informative picture of one local community through time. The four-part special airs over three Tuesday nights. The first two episodes air back-to-back on Tuesday, July 3 at 7:00 p.m. The subsequent episodes air July 10 and 17 at 7:00 p.m.
“Romans to Normans,” recovers the lost history of Kibworth’s first thousand years with the help of the local people and the use of archaeology, landscape, language and DNA. The lost history features a Roman villa, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings as well as evidence of life after the Norman Conquest. Learn how the oppressive Norman occupation affected the villagers, from the gallows to the alehouse, and see the medieval open fields in action in the only place where they survive.
“Peasants’ Revolt and the Black Death” follows the story of Kibworth as it reaches the catastrophic 14th century, which includes the Civil War of Simon de Montfort, the worst famine in European history, and the the Black Death, in which two-thirds of the people die. Helped by today’s residents — field walking and reading the historical texts — and by the local schoolchildren digging archaeological test pits, Michael Wood follows stories of individual lives through these times, out of which the English idea of community and the English character begin to emerge.
“The Seeds of Reform” moves on to dramatic battles of conscience in the time of the Hundred Years’ War. Discover amazing finds in the school archive that help trace peasant education back to the 14th century, when the people set up the first school for their children. Some villagers join in a rebellion against King Henry V, while others rise to become middle-class merchants in the textile town of Coventry. Kibworth experiences the dramatic events of Henry VIII’s Protestant Reformation and the battles of the English Civil War.
“The Birth of Modern England” tracks Kibworth’s 17th-century dissenters, travels on the Grand Union Canal and tells about an 18th-century feminist writer from Kibworth who was a pioneer of children’s books. The story of a young highwayman transported to Australia comes alive as his descendants visit Kibworth to uncover their roots. The Industrial Revolution reaches the village with framework knitting factories. Helped by today’s residents, Michael Wood uncovers the secret history of a Victorian village, visits World War I battlefields and recalls life in World War II when the village was bombed.
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