Live like in the 17th century: Tales from the Green Valley

Why did people 400 years ago save up their urine to help with the laundry? Why did farmers in Britain traditionally plough with oxen and not horses? These are just some of the questions five historians and archaeologists asked themselves as they spent a whole year working a farm restored to how it would have been in the year 1620. Click here for a 29-minute video of the first program in a series of six that illustrate life in the 17th century. Click here for another.

Tales from the Green Valley follows the five as they labour for a full agricultural year, getting to grips with period tools, skills, and technology from the age of the Stuarts, the reign of James I.

Everything must be done by hand, from ploughing with a team of oxen using a replica period plough and thatching a cowshed using only authentic materials, to making their own washing liquid for laundry and harvesting the hay and wheat with scythes and sickles.

This is the first in a British historical documentary TV series in 12 parts, first shown on BBC Two from 19 August to 4 November 2005. The series, the first in the historic farm series, made for the BBC by independent production company Lion TV, follows historians and archaeologists as they recreate farm life from the age of the Stuarts; they wear the clothes, eat the food and use the tools, skills and technology of the 1620s.

Click here for another in the series about Harvesting by Hand

Click here for another in the series about The Art Of Making (Poisonous) Ink In A 17th Century Farm

Click here for another in the series about Preserving A Pig For The Winter

Click here for another in the series about Feast In The Farm: A 17th Century Farmer’s Menu

Click here for another in the series about Turning Wood into Charcoal