Peachy, Stuart and Goodman, Ruth.
How do you gauge gas mark 7 when you’re using a 17th century bread oven?
Why did people 400 years ago save up their urine to help with the laundry?
Why did farmers in Britain traditionally plough with oxen and not horses?
These are just some of the questions five historians and archaeologists asked themselves as they spent a whole year working a farm restored to how it would have been in the year 1620.
Tales from the Green Valley follows the five as they labour for a full agricultural year, getting to grips with period tools, skills, and technology from the age of the Stuarts, the reign of James I. Everything must be done by hand, from ploughing with a team of oxen using a replica period plough and thatching a cowshed using only authentic materials, to making their own washing liquid for laundry and harvesting the hay & wheat with scythes and sickles.
Each of the 12 half-hour programmes, made by Lion TV for BBC Wales, follows a month in the life of the farm situated on the Welsh borders. Far from being a reality series, these beautifully filmed programmes revel instead in the period’s rich history, the British countryside as it changes through the seasons, and of course food. Every episode features a dinner cooked up using period breeds and varieties of animals, fruits, and vegetables, according to 400 year old recipes extracted from housewives’ diaries, farming manuals etc.
The five specialists wear period clothing - because they’re practical, real working garments, with the men in breeches so the bottoms don’t get muddy and wet, and the women wearing long thick skirts which protect from brambles and keep them warm.
And when historian Stuart Peachey, costume and social customs specialist Ruth Goodman, and archaeologists Alex Langlands, Peter “Fonz” Ginn and Chloe Spencer don’t have the answers, they call in outside experts: a host of traditional British artisans - charcoal burner, butcher, hedge-layer, candlemaker, dry-stone waller, thatcher ... all working with period tools.
The items consists of 2 discs, PAL Region 2.
Its difficult to not go overboard with praise for this series. Best advice is to just watch it and become totally absorbed into the past.