Ford of the Sorrel, which documents the landscape, seasons and residents of Ampleforth village in the North York Moors, has been a labour of love for resident and photographer Lucy Saggers.
Originally from Oxford, Lucy and her family moved up to her husband’s home county of Yorkshire living first in Helmsley before moving to Ampleforth.
Her previous career had been in wildlife conservation and Lucy, a self-taught photographer, said they had been living in the village for around ten years before she started documenting life there.
“Rural life is something I have always been drawn to photographically, noticing the way humanity shapes the landscape and how the landscape leaves its mark on the people.”
Lucy said she knew when they moved to the village this was a project she wanted to do.
“I was struck by the sense of community, the relationships between people and the landscape around us. When you have small children you spend quite a lot of time walking slowly around the village, which gives you time to observe people and places.”
Starting with pictures of the landscape around her and gaining confidence, Lucy started approaching people to be part of the project.
“I was drawn to photographing the older generation, their faces carry the story of their heritage and I find that both fascinating and beautiful.
“It is also cataloguing a way of life we are losing, that connection with the place and the threads running through families. There is one family in the village which can trace its roots back to the Domesday Book.”
And it is the village’s listing in the Domesday Survey of 1086, where it is referred to as Ampreford, meaning ford of the sorrel plant, which led to the title of Lucy’s work. The collection has been several years in the making and Lucy said it is important to her that a project is not rushed.
“I wanted people to be happy and comfortable with the photos being taken and it needed to fit in around life!”
A publisher who had seen Lucy’s work through her social media platforms and website approached her about turning it into a book.
“I think it had been a secret dream that it may make a book but my idea from the outset was to gather a collection of photographs that would show the village as it is.”
Lucy said she hopes the book is not just a reflection of life in Ampleforth but speaks for other rural communities as well.
“I hope it shows the value of connection and community. And while we are lucky in Yorkshire I believe there is community in most places if you stop and look for it.”
*Ford of the Sorrel is available from lucysaggers.com or bluecoatpress.co.uk/product/ford-of-the-sorrel/
A talk and book signing with Lucy is being held at White Rose Book shop in Thirsk on Thursday, April 7. whiterosebooks.co.uk