What is it that makes the ideal English village? Firle in East Sussex is
both unique and universal. First of all there is a pub and in no particular
order come a school, a shop, a cricket pitch, a church, a stream, a
blacksmith, allotments, flint walls, house martins. Above all, the village
seems to contain that rarest of ingredients, delight.
Firle sits literally at the end of the road. It is the last place you can
reach by car before coming in summer to a wandering line of chalk and in
winter to something a little muddier. Beyond the road are the wild
landscapes of the South Downs, sleeping and keeping the bones of those who
were first to arrive at the end of the last ice age. It is the connection
between village, people and these hills which makes it such a special place.
In a delightful photo essay, acclaimed photographer Eamonn J. McCabe
captures some of what makes this English village come alive. Big open skies,
small boys holding a colourful caterpillar, cabbages and tea cosies,
bonfires, bikers, dogs and wellies. This is a book for all those who cherish
English country life.
A book of sumptuous photographs chronicling life in the rural idyll that is the English village of Firle, in Sussex. - Easy Living
A paean to village life. - Elle Decoration
Should inspire some social historian/photographer to do a similar project on this island - Irish Times
The book attempts to explore what makes the ideal English village and, it must be said, it succeeds rather well. - Amateur Photographer
This treat of a book about extraordinary and everyday English life will raise mmoney for a new village hall. - Sainsbury's Magazine
Enchanting photo essay of what makes the ideal English village come alive. - Argus
I must confess I have been in the pub. I was trying to canvass opinion as to why our village seems to contain that rare ingredient, which is delight. First of all it has a pub and in no particular order comes a school, a shop, a cricket pitch, a church, a stream, a bonfire society, allotments, flint walls, house martins and quite a few cats and dogs.
Firle is essentially a dead end. It sits literally at the end of the road, the last place you can reach by car before the road turns in summer to a wandering line of chalk and in winter to something a little more muddy. Beyond the road are the downs, sleeping and keeping the bones of those who were first to arrive at the end of the last ice age. Wild land is a rare thing in Southern England. And yet it is the marriage between the village and these hills which is so special: neither would be the same without the other.
Perhaps there is a perfect size for a village to be and maybe that size is not so big that it can be dominated by one particular interest group and not so small that it struggles to belong to itself. What I have only recently come to appreciate is the way that the village rests beneath trees. There is this wonderful graduation which blends the hills, the trees, the houses and finally us. Those of us who live here are so wonderfully small in comparison to what surrounds us.
[from the foreword by Peter Owen Jones]