Christina: A Medieval Life (2008)
Hosted by the erudite Michael Wood, this program takes a look at one particular village, Codicote in Hertfordshire, from the privations of the great famine to its almost destruction thanks to the Black Death.
Focusing on the 14th Century, which as most scholars will agree, was one of the most virulent ever, with its war, more war, plagues, famine and the beginning of the most catastrophic bout of climate change in history, the Little Ice Age. In this century, Serfs had just begun to throw off their chains and think about their own choices for once, culiminating in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.
But this is not only a story of the medieval country folk who helped shape the character and destiny of ordinary British people. It is also a history told through the eyes of the forgotten half of the workforce – women. Michael unravels a story of 14th-century neighbours – the family of poor peasant Christina Cok, her father, Hugh, her estranged husband, William, and her children, John and Alice.
"In the 14th century," says Michael, "though their lives might at first seem quite alien, you only have to scratch below the surface to find uncanny connections with us. With them you see our beginnings as a nation of shopkeepers; the roots of the British love affair with beer, football and, maybe more importantly, the triumph of that sturdy, fatalistic and cussed streak of individualism that has made us Brits the people that we have been ever since."
Apr 21, 2010, 09:33:38
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