In this groundbreaking series, historian Michael Wood tells the story of one place – the village of Kibworth, Leicestershire – throughout the whole of English history. Located in the very heart of England, Kibworth has lived through the Black Death, the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution and was even bombed in World War II.
With the help of the local people and using archaeology, landscape, language and DNA, Michael Wood uncovers the lost history of this village from the Roman era to the present day. He visits a Roman villa and sees graphic evidence of life on the eve of the Norman Conquest. Michael discovers that Kibworth goes through the worst famine in European history during the 14th century, and then two thirds of the people die in the Black Death. Michael discovers how the Industrial Revolution changed the village and its people forever. Then, Michael uncovers the secret history of a Victorian village more colourful than even Dickens could have imagined.
From World War I battlefields to the bombing of the village in 1940, the series finally moves into the brave new world of ‘homes for heroes’. Intertwining the local and national narratives, this is a moving and informative picture of one local community through time.
WSBE Rhode Island PBS airs four-episode series on Thursdays at 8 P.M. beginning July 12, with rebroadcast on Saturdays at 12:30 A.M. (half after midnight).
Jul 12/14 - Romans to Normans - With the help of the local people and using archaeology, landscape, language and DNA, Michael uncovers the lost history of the first thousand years of the village, featuring a Roman villa, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings and graphic evidence of life on the eve of the Norman Conquest.
Jul 19/21 - Peasants’ Revolt and the Black Death charts events in the village leading to the people’s involvement in the Civil War of Simon de Montfort and follows the story of Kibworth as it reaches the catastrophic 14th century. The village goes through the worst famine in European history, and then, as revealed in the astonishing village archive in Merton College Oxford, two-thirds of the people die in the Black Death. 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.
Aug 2/4 - The Birth of Modern England Track Kibworth’s 17th-century dissenters, travel on the Grand Union Canal and learn 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. Lastly, see Kibworth as it is today — a growing, multicultural village.