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The Common Stream: Two Thousand Years of the English Village Paperback – August 30, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Reprint edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897333918
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897333917
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,376,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A patiently, diligently reconstructed history of English rural life over the centuries." — Kirkus Review


"... a book that may be the most complete picture to date of this legendary way of life." — New York Times

About the Author

Rowland Parker was born in 1912 in North Lincolnshire. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all farmers and his youth was spent in the country. He was educated at Louth Grammar School, won a scholarship to Nottingham University and then trained as a teacher. In 1935 he joined the staff of what was then the Central School, Cambridge, and, except for the war, remained there until his retirement in 1972. He enlisted in the Royal Artillery in 1940, serving in North Africa, Italy, Egypt, Syria and Palestine, where he began to take an interest in archaeology and history. He lived in Foxton until his death in 1989.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Foxton is the last stop before Cambridge on the railway line from King's Cross Station in London, which makes it quite a convenient base for visiting the ancient university without being overwhelmed by it.
And with this delightful book of Rowland Parker's in tow, Foxton itself can become a wonderful walk through time that's not found in the standard guidebooks.
If you have only three days to explore a bit of England at the end of a London business trip, as I did last week, I recommend you try this: (1) the guided walking tour of Samuel Pepys' London (starts outside the Tower tube station, takes two hours, and ends at St. Paul's Cathedral in time to hear Evensong sung); (2) a guidebook walking tour of Cambridge that includes "the Backs", the Mathematical Bridge, the Cavendish Laboratory on Free School Lane, and a sunset from atop the Castle Mound; and (3) a day of exploring Foxton with Rowland Parker's <<The Common Stream>> tucked under your arm. Ancient city, ancient university, and ancient village: what could possibly be better?
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have re-read this marvelous book several times now, and I love it. I have found the informative local maps (included as illustrations) to be particularly helpful, each time I've followed the Foxton story down the centuries from before the Romans to our own time.
From the book jacket:
"The setting is the village of Foxton, in Cambridgeshire, and the common stream is the story of its development from the first traces of human settlement to the present day. The common stream is also the rivulet that runs through it--both ordinary in its appearance and enjoyed by all--and yet again the common stream is that of the ordinary men and women who in their countless thousands have trudged through life and then departed from it, leaving no visible trace.
"Rowland Parker spent thirteen years with oral reminiscence, manor court rolls, land tax returns, wills and archaeological excavation, and has found out more about the history of Foxton than is known about any other village of like age in England, or even in the rest of the world."
This is a delightful book, rather like a lively dinner conversation with cheerful and well-informed host. Here is a sample, taken from his opening remarks in the Introduction:
"This is a true story with a triple theme. It tells firstly of a brook or stream, 'common' in the sense that it is but one of a thousand such streams which spring from the folds of hills everywhere, and especially in the chalklands of East Anglia. This particular stream rises a few miles to the south-east of Royston and meanders gently on a mere ten-mile course to join the river Rhee.
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