Townend, home to the Brownes from the 1520s until 1943, maintains an exquisite collection of more than 170 books from the 1600s, with a few dating to the mid-1500s. What were those farmers reading?
The collection includes the Bible, history, poetry, books in Latin and Greek, as well as Benjamin Browne's commonplace book with homemade cures for various ills. "...to find these books here is to reorientate your understanding of how the world was 400 years ago. It makes plain why England, still in the grip of a ferociously hierarchical inheritance, might have become revolutionary." (photo)