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Tudor Monastery Farm: Life in rural England 500 years ago
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
As with 'Wartime Farm', the TV series hasn't even been broadcast at the time of writing this review, but the BBC have had the book of the series out for a few weeks now.

If the book is anything to go by, we are in for a treat. No Alex Langlands for this series- I believe he is completing his Ph.D. - but a new face, military historian Tom Pinfold, to join the familiar, much-loved team of historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologist Peter Ginn.

Though as anyone who has watched the previous programmes knows, Ruth is generally our phenomenally hard working guide to domestic life; Peter is the heroic soul who has a go at making almost anything and gets most of the hard slog and dirty jobs around the farm. Alex was known for making cutting, pithy comments and avoiding the dirty work where possible; it will be interesting to see if Tom picks up this role!

The 2005 series 'Tales from the Green Valley' was a proto-Farm programme, covering the 1620s. In going back to the 1500s the Monastery Farm team have avoided what might have been rehashing of old material.
A lot of the material in Wartime Farm was vaguely familiar and much was recognisable. For non-historians Tudor Monastery Farm breaks new ground. It's absolutely packed with information - with quite small print there's value for money in the amount of facts supplied.
As with previous Farm books there are gorgeous stills from the programme as illustrations throughout, from the skilled photographer Laura Rawlinson.

The book is divided into seven major chapters. Ruth, Peter and Tom take on the roles of tenants of the monastery farm, so the first section is an in-depth but interesting introduction to the monastic system.
Throughout the book Peter, Ruth and Tom each write sub-sections within the main chapters, as in the other Farm books. So Ruth writes on topics such as 'Living in the Church' and 'The Church as Landowner', Peter writes about 'The Religious Calendar' and Tom gives us 'A Day In The Life of A Monk' as well as other well-written and interesting snippets.

There is a tour 'Around the Farm' in chapter two, we then are introduced to the 'The Animals', 'Home and Garden', 'Crafts, Skills and Trade', 'Food and Drink' and finally 'Family Life'. Food and Drink has a small selection of recipes, do-able but mostly designed to be made over an open fire, so really more of a novelty read.

It's one of those books that is very hard to put down, packed as it is with absolutely fascinating facts; well-researched and avoiding the familiar. Given that the programme was filmed this summer, it's been produced remarkably quickly and a few errors have slipped through the proofreading as a result. One of the best was when Tom refers to 'wieners' instead of 'weaners' when writing of the Tamworth piglets. (A 'wiener' is a hot dog).

Finally a quick mention for the amusing mini-biography of Peter Ginn on the inside cover. Following the biography revelations in earlier Farm books, we now learn that he has also 'swallowed the beating heart of a snake', 'burnt his tootsies walking on the surface of Krakatoa.' and 'helped to smuggle a man over an international border' ... Autobiography, please!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2014
A good read. If you like the tv show then this is good to go with it although perhaps not as detailed as it could be.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2014
The only disappointment in this book is that it does not include a bibliography for further reading. I would like to have had references for Tudor recipes, and for more in depth information on a variety of the crafts, like bookbinding, and paper making, and skep weaving. I would reccommend this book to anyone who is intersted in how our ancestors lived and thrived.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2014
I watched the series on t.v. and was enthralled. My husband bought me this book for Christmas,, I love it. I have watched all the series, Victorian farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm and Victorian Pharmacy. Ruth Goodman is so hands on and tells us so much. V ery readable and makes us think about the present day - how would we have coped?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 March 2014
As with the other books by this series, this is amazing. Follows the television program /series perfectly. If you haven't seen the television series and are just interested in Tudor period then this book is perfect. It explains everything and in such great detail. When you pick it up, you won't be able to put it down! I would recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2014
This is a fantastic book to go with the series. It's got fabulous pictures and its great to read all about what they did on the farm. Very enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 2014
Very interesting and informative about life in Tudor times
showing how they cooked and looked after the farm. The team make it so interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 10 January 2014
Great informative illustrated book to go with the bbc tv series. Good quality hardback book to grace any deserving bookshelf!!
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on 28 November 2013
Excellent book beautifully produced and better than the TV series, in my opinion, as it is not so superficial. It's a pity that the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, where the programme is se,t does not get more mention or credit.

For once, delivery of the book was fairly speedy - can't remember who the carrier was, but delivery did not take as long as some things do.
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on 9 January 2014
Great Book would recommend have got the other books Victorian Farm and the Edwardian Farm and the DVDS hope they will be releasing one for the Tudor Monastery Farm to we have been to the place that they filmed for The Victorian and Edwardian and the Tudor Monastery Farms they are great place's to visit.
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