Women of the village

This piece of writing, we believe by Janette Hodgkinson, was written in 1999 and follows the archaeological excavations on the Grove Farm site. We think it captures the spirit of two ages, separated by a millennium.


Women of the Village

We are two women separated by a millennium.

You were brought back to the surface of our village by an archaeologist at the beginning of the 1990s. I washed the sandy soil from your skull and found the pale blue, barrel shaped, Roman bead that was one of your treasures. Maybe a gift from your mother or grandmother, precious enough for you to make into a necklace with other more modern beads and for your family to place it around your neck when you were buried.

This is my village now as it once was yours. We tread the same pathways, scan the same skyline and are warmed by the same sun as it rises over the vast Wiltshire Plain.

I know a little of your hard Anglo Saxon life, but you, even in your wildest dreams could never imagine the wonders of mine as I face the end of our joint millennium.

Your family hunted in the woods and fields that are part of the village surround, I travel to buildings where exotic foods are brought from the other side of the planet for me to choose from. Maybe some of your family died because there was too little to eat, some of my family have died because there has been too much.

You collected fuel from the nearby woods on which to cook your food and bake your bread. I have smart little boxes that keep my food fresh, cook it to perfection and at the press of a button bake my daily bread.

Did you walk the local fields gathering herbs to cure the ills of your family? I have hospitals and doctors to fight for my life. Yes, we still fight to stay healthy but ironically in a lifestyle totally the opposite to yours.

Like me, perhaps you weren’t born in the village, did we both travel to be part of its history? You could have journeyed many days to see your family and friends just once or twice in the whole of your lifetime here. I spend merely hours covering the hundreds of miles to see my mine, with the use of the phone and e-mail I talk to some of them every day. I’ve flown through the air to be with them on the other side of the Earth, with the same excitement you could have felt visiting the growing settlement of Sarum.

I hope you had a grandchild and experienced the joy of seeing the future though it’s eyes. Did it stand on the edge of the Plain looking down at our developing village in wonder? It’s possible mine will stand on the flight deck of a spaceship and look at the beautiful planet we have both been part of.

Our lives have been so different, yet our hopes and fears would have been the same. One day, like you, I will be part of the soil of Wiltshire and rest not twenty yards from where you were found.


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5 Responses to “Women of the village”

  1. Cassy Says:

    That. Is beautiful.

  2. mfw1948 Says:

    Some of the most touching, sensitive and beautiful words I’ve read in a long time!

    Can you be sure of the author – is she still around?

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      I came across this item in materials kept at home by our founder curator. The name is written on the document which is neatly word processed. I do not know the author or anything about her but I thought the writing was lovely and felt it should be shared. It would be lovely if the author got in touch. Then I’d know more.

      So I can agree with yoyu – it is a lovely piece of writing and, I think, something we should be proud to have in the museum records.



  3. Rachel Says:

    Brilliant post, really moving, thanks for sharing it Rog.

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