Elizabeth Taylor was well known in the area once known as Archenfield in south Herefordshire where she lived and spent years researching its history, and most specifically that of the parish of Kings Caple. In so doing she recaptured something of the identity of the old land of Archenfield, a territory that acted as a buffer between Saxon and Welsh , the customs of which permeated the life of its inhabitants over several succeeding centuries. For example, in 1220 it is evident that there was no prison in ‘Urchenfield’ and apparently no death penalty either – indeed the relatives of someone murdered made an agreement in court with the murderer as to the necessary reparation.
Kings Caple never existed in isolation from its surrounding community, so a large part of the book tells of its interaction with settlements such as Fawley, Foy, Goodrich, Hentland, Hereford, Hoarwithy, Ross and Sellack. Pages tell of ‘finishing school’ run by the prioresses of Aconbury, the life of Hereford on a medieval market day and lititgation in the courts of Hereford and Wormelow.
As a result of considerable detailed research Elizabeth Taylor has been able to detail the daily struggle of the poorer inhabitants of Kings Caple. Thus the book does not simply record the social lives and ‘good deeds’ of the rich, but also gives a real feeling for the daily struggle of the poorer residents – the small farmers, the artisans, those caring for the sick and elderly, the labourers, the ferrymen, the innkeepers – to an extent that you feel you are standing on their thresholds observing their lives.
Paperback | 366 pages | 242 x 171 mm | 2016
70 colour and 60 b&w illustrations