Robert Somerville grew up in rural Kent during the 1960s. A childhood spent in the woods and hills of the North Downs and the orchards and marshes of the Little Stour valley inspired his deep love for the natural world. After studying engineering and architecture at the University of Cambridge, Somerville went on to run a design and building business in Devon, utilizing local wood, stone and earth. Upon moving to Hertfordshire with his wife, Lydia, Somerville began working with local woodland owners and foresters to source local elm timber and then build and raise timber frames by hand, with the help of volunteers known as the Barn Club - a group formed to teach, practice and celebrate skilled rural craftsmanship. Somerville lives with Lydia and the youngest of his three children in their self-built eco-house in an idyllic smallholding.
Our March 2021 Book Club Recommendation Click here to see our Reading Group Questions. This is such a welcoming and warming read with community spirit, traditional craft, and the environment at its heart. Author Robert J Somerville was commissioned to build an elm barn by hand in Hertfordshire. Over the course of a year volunteers gathered together to help build the barn, and this is the story. There are so many positive elements to this read. A community of volunteers come together to: “teach, practice and celebrate skilled rural craftsmanship”. And while Dutch elm disease has decimated our Elm population, there is hope for the trees survival. As Robert Somerville says: “Elm is a species that suffered a major pandemic, but its incredible determination to survive prevails. Elm is proving itself to be a tree with an enduring life force, and, to my mind, is an appropriate icon for getting closer to nature, the resurgence in making things by hand and for bringing old skills back to life”. The book contains a myriad of interesting illustrations and photos as well as the story from concept to raising of the barn. At a time when community really matters, when our environment needs love and nurturing, Barn Club echoes with all that is good. It is a wonderful read that lightened my spirits and made me smile.
From the Preface: The 1163 council at Tours met amidst the most protracted conflict between a pope and a secular ruler in medieval history, the eighteen-year struggle between Alexander III and Frederick Barbarossa. The gathering duly receives a paragraph or so in surveys of that dispute, and it usually is included-and properly so-in lists of the important sources for twelfth- and thirteenth-century canon law. But the meeting has been accorded no integrated study of all its political and legislative facets, nor have all of the sources, even all of those available in print, ever been utilized together. The present work strives to offer in one volume a historical account of the synod at Tours which is as complete as possible. That means uncovering the conciliar events as well as pondering their relation to the great issues of the time, especially Alexander's struggle with Frederick. The aim is to reconstruct, as sources permit, what happened at a council of acknowledged import, and at the same time to examine the interdependence of those events with the historical climate in which the gathering convened. Such reciprocity often has become hazy, but synods do not assemble in a vacuum. Their histories gain greater fascination in proportion to how successfully the events in concilio can be linked to movements and pressures from society at large. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1977.
Professor Somerville deals here with the history of Latin Christianity at a crucial time - the century of the Gregorian reform movement and of the Investiture conflict between the papacy and the empire. The articles are concerned with the policies of the popes, as expressed in their letters and the canons of the councils they summoned, and with the impact on the life and laws of the Church. Conciliar history, indeed, forms the main focus of the volume, and the author's aim has been to subject the relevant texts and manuscripts to detailed scrutiny in order to determine their veracity and chronology. In so doing he also demolishes some of the pseudo-historical problems that have arisen from an uncritical reliance upon early printed editions. This investigation of the texts is of evident importance for the study of canon law, but it also shows how they can serve as valuable sources for the history of the Western Middle Ages, revealing much about life in the period, as well as about papal politics. Le professeur Sommerville traite ici de la chretiente latine au coeurs de la periode cruciale que fut le siecle du movement de reforme gregorien et du conflit d'investiture entre la papaute et l'empire. Ces etudes se preoccupent de la politique des papes, telle qu'on peut la voir exprimee au travers de leurs lettres et de canons issus des conciles qu'ils reunissaient. Elles s'interessent aussi A leur influence sur la vie et les lois d'Eglise. L'histoire conciliare forme, en effet, la plus grande part de ce receuil et l'auteur s'y propose de soumettre textes et manuscrits appropries A une etude detaillee, afin d'en determiner la veracite et la chronologie. Ce faisant, il elimine aussi un certain nombre de problemes pseudo-historiques, subvenus en raison de la trop confiance accordee aux editions anciennes. Cette enquAte menee sur les textes est, de toute evidence, d'une grande importance en ce qui concerne l'etude du droit