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Alexander Langlands

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

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In the modern world we are becoming bombarded by craft. Hand-made tools, artisan breads and craft beers are all part of a pantheon of goods designed to appeal to our earthier selves, our sense of tradition, quality and luxury, all brought together through a personal touch – objects to savour in a world of meaningless mass manufacture.

But once, craft – or more specifically, cræft – meant something very different. When it was first written down in Old English, over a thousand years ago, it had an almost indefinable sense of ‘knowledge’, ‘wisdom’ and ‘power’. To be cræfty was to be truly intelligent – but in a way that is almost inconceivable to us today.

Through a series of mini-histories, detailed craft analyses and personal anecdotes, archaeologist, historian and broadcaster Alex Langlands goes in search of the lost knowledge of cræft.

Fusing stories of landscapes, personalities and mesmerising skill, with back-breaking hard work, this book will convince readers – for their health, wealth and well-being – to introduce more cræft into their lives.


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,…

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