CHRISTINA – A MEDIEVAL LIFE
UK / BBC Four / 1×60 minute episode / Broadcast Monday 5 May 2008 @ 9.00pm
Presented by Michael Wood
Showing on Bank Holiday Monday (5 May) @ 9.00pm on BBC Four as part of the channel’s Medieval Season – Christina A Medieval Life, hosted by the erudite Michael Wood, takes a look at one particular village, Codicote in Hertfordshire, from the privations of the great famine to its almost destruction thanks to the Black Death.
Focusing on the 14th Century, which as most scholars will agree, was one of the most virulent ever, with its war, more war, plagues and famine. When Serfs were just beginning to throw off the chains and think about their own choices for once.
This is an everyday story of the medieval country folk who helped shape the character and destiny of ordinary British people. It is history told through the eyes of the forgotten half of the workforce – women. Michael unravels a story of 14th-century neighbours – the family of poor peasant Christina Cok, her father, Hugh, her estranged husband, William, and her children, John and Alice.
“In the 14th century,” says Michael, “though their lives might at first seem quite alien, you only have to scratch below the surface to find uncanny connections with us. With them you see our beginnings as a nation of shopkeepers; the roots of the British love affair with beer, football and, maybe more importantly, the triumph of that sturdy, fatalistic and cussed streak of individualism that has made us Brits the people that we have been ever since.”