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Hollow Places

Hollow Places

An Unusual History of Land and Legend

by Christopher Hadley
Hardback
Publication Date: 08/08/2019
RRP  $49.99 $46.75

In the Middle Ages a remarkable tomb was carved to cover the bones of an English hero. For centuries the grave spawned tales about dragons and devils, giants and winged hounds. To understand why this happened, Christopher Hadley takes us on a journey through 1,000 years of history.

Hollow Places begins with a Hertfordshire dragon-slayer named Piers Shonks but soon draws us into the company of outlaws and stonemasons, antiquaries and champions. Full of wonder and always surprising, the story takes us to the margins of the Bayeux Tapestry where strange creatures gather, to ancient woodland where hollow trees hide secrets, and to the scribbled clues about folk heroes in eighteenth-century manuscripts.

Hadley leads us back shivering to a church in Georgian England to sketch the dragon on a tomb, to stand atop its tower triangulating the Elizabethan countryside, and to confront the zealous Mr Dowsing and his thugs looting brasses and smashing masonry during the Civil War. Along the way, we discover how long bones will last in a crypt and where medieval stonemasons found inspiration.

The story of Piers Shonks is the survivor of an 800-year battle between storytellers and those who would mock or silence them. It stands for all those thousands of seemingly forgotten tales that used to belong to every village. It is an adventure into the past by a talented and original new writer, and a meditation on memory and belief that underlines the importance and the power of the folk legends we used to tell and why they still matter.

ISBN:
9780008319472
9780008319472
Category:
History
Format:
Hardback
Publication Date:
08-08-2019
Language:
English, English, middle (1100-1500)
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Country of origin:
United Kingdom
Pages:
448
Dimensions (mm):
240x159x39mm
Weight:
0.27kg
Christopher Hadley

Christopher Hadley is a journalist and author. His pieces on such popular subjects as 18th-century religious tracts have appeared in The Independent, The Guardian, The Times, London Review of Books, Esquire and his local parish magazine, among many other publications. Hollow Places, an account of his search across a thousand years of British history for the dragon-slayer Shonks, is his first history book. Christopher is married with three children, whom he hopes will never grow-out of hunting for dragons and other marvels in the Hertfordshire countryside where they live.

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