The Severn is one of Britain’s great rivers. It has remained a powerful force of nature despite all our efforts to domesticate it and it demands public resources and millions of pounds worth of flood defences to contain.
The Severn has also been a prominent factor in the nation’s history and has a rich heritage that remains under-appreciated. It was on an island in the Severn in 1016 that Cnut and Edmund settled their competing claims to the throne of England, and it was at the Severn that the English formally recognised Llywelyn ap Gruffudd as the Prince of Wales. From the Iron Age to the Second World War, regimes have built fortresses and other defences to ensure their control over the Severn and, throughout the Civil Wars, Royalists and Parliamentarians fought bitterly for possession of it. Other rivers have tidal bores, but none as remarkable as that of the Severn, from which bore-surfing has grown into a global sport.
This book explores the many ways in which the river has become part of our culture, including eating its fish, navigating it, mythologizing it and drowning in it. It is about when and why the river mattered, and why it still matters.
Paperback | 272 pages | 242 x 171 mm | Reprint edition 2018
Over 120 colour & 20 b&w illustrations