Faber Members get 10% off their first order


Alexander Langlands

The lost traditions of medieval crafts, from weaving to bee-keeping, thatching to basket-making, from the popular TV historian.

4 in stock

Date Published
All orders are sent via Royal Mail and are tracked: choose from standard or premium delivery.

In a period of meaningless mass manufacturing, our growing appetite for hand-made objects, artisan food, and craft beverages reveals our deep cravings for tradition and quality. But there was a time when craft meant something very different; the Old English word cræft possessed an almost indefinable sense of knowledge, wisdom, and power. In this fascinating book, historian and popular broadcaster Alex Langlands goes in search of the mysterious lost meaning of cræft. Through a vibrant series of mini-histories, told with his trademark energy and charm, Langlands resurrects the ancient craftspeople who fused exquisite skill with back-breaking labour—and passionately defends the renewed importance of cræft today.

Critic Reviews

‘Using a combination of memoir, history and cultural commentary Langlands makes a coherent and enjoyable argument for “not just a knowledge of making but a knowledge of being”. Along the way he makes hay, fashions a skep (and its shelter) to keep bees and thatches a roof for a cattle shed – and it’s work as hard as it is rewarding. But his conclusion is that with a little craeft in our lives we can all be a bit more resourceful, ingenious and contemplative – and it’ll do us good to be so.'

Critic Reviews

‘An account of ancient skills and the mindset of the world that needed them.’

Lucy Mangan, Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

‘Essential reading… Langlands makes you yearn to get in among the hawthorn and feel the pride in slicing each brand at the correct, 45-degree angle.’

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

Alex Langlands explores the historical meaning of craftsmanship: the wisdom, skill and knowledge needed to create tools and objects by hand and contrasts these with the current era of mass-produced, disposable tat.

Countryfile Magazine
Critic Reviews

‘There is no obvious successor to hygge this year, thank goodness. The closest things are probably the various funky craft books, the best of which are Alexander Langland’s improbable Craeft, which is not a spelling error but rather a learned disquisition on the Anglo-Saxon roots of craft skills’

Ian Sansom, Guardian
Critic Reviews

‘I’m fascinated by farming and the history of the British landscape, and in this brilliantly written and endlessly interesting book, Langlands tells the story of many of our largely lost rural crafts. A number of these declined during and after the Second World War, that period of Britain’s second great agricultural revolution. I absolutely loved it.’

James Holland, BBC History Books of the Year

Dr Alexander Langlands is a British archaeologist and historian. He is a lecturer in medieval history at Swansea University and a regular presenter for BBC and Channel 4. His current and ongoing TV projects include ‘Full Steam Ahead’ (BBC Two) and ‘Britain at Low Tide’ (Channel 4, TX November 2016). He lives in Wales with his wife, two children, chickens,…

Read More