THE LUTTRELL VILLAGE: Country Life in the Middle Ages by Sheila Sancha

THE LUTTRELL VILLAGE: Country Life in the Middle Ages

Email this review


Another bonanza for junior medievalists by the author-illustrator of The Castle Story (1982). To adult medievalists, the name Luttrell immediately conjures up The Luttrell Psalter, and it's that 14th-century manuscript that Sancha has drawn upon to introduce us to Gerneham village (as it was then called) ""on a cold winter's morning in the year 1328."" Anyone put off by the alien and unusual will stop right there--for in the next sentence we hear about a tort and a croft, while looking at ""an ordinary house"" of great peculiarity. On the other hand, those lured by miniature mock-ups of old-time life, with its multiplicity of entities and activities, will be fascinated by the bird's-eye views and pictorial maps and cutaway buildings and crowd scenes. Without seeming to be making a point, Sancha lets us know that Sir Geoffrey Luttrell is the possessor, as well as the master, of virtually all we behold; most impressively, he travels with his household of a hundred or so from one to another of his five estates--staying at Gerneham ""until the fish-ponds, deer park, rabbit warren anti pigeon-cote were thinning out, and the barns were empty."" But in Sancha's easy, conversational tone there is no anachronistic intimation of oppression; rather, the countryfolk are constantly occupied at their appointed, specialized tasks and communal endeavors. Sancha describes and illustrates all this precisely and with spirit.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: Crowell