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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 127   2007 page 450

Book Reviews

planners build on flood plains), and rural and urban life and activities over two millennia have not only shaped the landscape but steadily changed it so that there is nowhere in the South-East where the human hand has not laid its imprint.
   Landscape as representation and inspiration also has an important place in such a study. Painters, novelists and poets have represented landscape and thus helped to shape and channel our perceptions of our surroundings. All of us, consciously and unconsciously, view our immediate surroundings with eyes and minds conditioned by a variety of influences, and perhaps more so now in an age of pervasive manufactured visual stimulus. However, given that Short dwells mainly on what can be called ‘high art’ and the realm of the reading classes, perhaps he excludes from consideration a substantial part of the population. Certainly film, post cards, advertisements, and popular representation of the countryside (remember those paintings of the south-east on the walls of carriages in SER trains) are briefly mentioned, but these quotidian popular visual images also invite further analysis to determine their influence. Perhaps emotion should also be combined with the visual? For example, Elgar’s cello concerto, composed at Fittleworth, has an inimitable Englishness about it.
   Short’s book, like all good books, challenges the reader, poses questions, provokes further inquiry, and suggests but does not formally impose answers. His text and illustrations also excite the imagination and invite readers to draw on their own particular local geographical knowledge to add further ideas to the examples that he provides. The result is a stimulating and very attractive book to read and to think over.


Hadlow: Life, Land and People in a Wealden Parish 1460-1600. Edited by Joan Thirsk, with Bridgett Jones, Alison Williams, Anne Hughes and Caroline Wetton. Numerous colour photographs and b/w illustrations throughout; 27 diagrams and maps. Kent Archaeological Society 2006. Available on-line at >eBooks.  ISBN 0 906746 70 1.

This innovative e-book, published by the Society, is the result of the intensive and scholarly collaboration of ‘five women’ who describe their respective talents as ‘a historian of agriculture and rural society’, a ‘medieval scholar’, two ‘history graduates’, and an ‘artist and designer’. Their complementary skills have brought to fruition a challenging and highly readable study of Hadlow at the end of the medieval period. The origins of their project was one of those felicitous chances which all historians dream of. The Hadlow Survey, dated by the project to c.1460, was auctioned at Mere in Wiltshire in 2002, having been in the collection

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