No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen by Ken Worpole

‘What Worpole’s account attests to is the paradise of making paradise, of meaningful labour, and especially of a deep relationship with the land.’ Olivia Laing, TLS

‘Worpole is a literary original, a social and architectural historian whose books combine the Orwellian ideal of common decency with understated erudition.’  Jason Cowley, New Statesman

‘One has the impression after finishing this intelligent and compelling book that Worpole has himself contributed to the fascinating Frating Hall Farm community. It is a great achievement.’  Lucia Dove, Caught by the River

‘Worpole’s writing reminds one of Keith Thomas’, shaped as it is by his ‘moral values and intellectual assumptions’. No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen is an omnium gatherum, a historical ethnography, insightful and authoritative, with witty asides. The chapter notes are a pleasure, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of historians at work.’  Louise Foxcroft, History Today

‘Ken Worpole’s No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen: Back to the land in wartime Britain (Little Toller) offered both a short history of Frating Farm in Essex, colonized in 1943 by a band of pacifist communitarians, and the Adelphi magazine, which helped to inspire it, along with cameos from Orwell, D.H.Lawrence and Iris Murdoch.’ D.J. Taylor, TLS Books of the Year

…this book deserves a wide audience…It successfully places Frating within the wider history of the back to the land movement and suggests there is much we can learn from this case study when food production and security are again pressing concerns. Nicola Verdon, Family and Community History.


In 1943 a group of pacifists took possession of a vacant farm in Frating, a hamlet on the Essex Tendring Peninsula. There they established a working community, inspired by their association with The Adelphi journal, where D.H.Lawrence, Vera Brittain, Iris Murdoch, George Orwell and others shared ideas for the future with European religious radicals such as Nikolai Berdyaev and Simone Weil. Frating Hall Farm provided a settlement and livelihood for individuals and families and a temporary sanctuary for refugees and prisoners-of-war. Over time it became a successful arable and livestock farm and a centre for the arts, winning the grudging respect of their neighbours. This is the lost story of Frating Hall Farm, based on the memories of those who grew up on the farm, together with photographs, letters and records –  a kaleidoscopic history and an enquiry into the religious and political ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in post-war rural England.

Paperback, £15, reprinting, available towards the end of August 2022.



In stock


Ken Worpole is a writer and social historian, and the author of many books on architecture, aesthetics, landscape and public policy. He was once described by The Independent as ‘one of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape.’ A founder member of think-tanks Demos and OpenDemocracy, in recent years he has focused on post-industrial landscapes, settlements and communities, together with questions of ‘Englishness’ and regional identity.

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Dimensions225 × 150 mm


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