The astonishing, socio-historic uncovering of a vanished agricultural way of life by best-selling nature writer Sally Coulthard.
Dominating the farmyard of the house where Sally Coulthard and her husband live in the gentle Howardian Hills of North Yorkshire is a large, stone-built barn. When Sally discovered a set of ancient ‘witch-marks’ scratched into the wall of the barn, she became intrigued by the sturdy old building and the story behind it.
The Barn is a socio-historic exploration of a small patch of Yorkshire countryside – hidden, insignificant, invisible to the rest of the world – which has experienced extraordinary changes. From the last of the enclosures to the boom days of Victorian high farming, the fortunes of the barn have been repeatedly upturned by the unstoppable forces of agriculture and industry. Medicine, transport, education, farming, women’s roles, war, technology – every facet of society was played out, in miniature, here. The walls of the barn are a palimpsest, written onto – and now about – by three hundred years of history.