These three villages to the north-east of Coventry are within a mile of each other, yet are distinct communities with different histories, traditions and rivalries. Ansty has an imposing seventeenth-century hall, now a hotel, which influenced village life and employment. Ansty was also close to early coal mines and the Oxford Canal, now a popular tourist route. Shilton had many ribbon-weavers in the nineteenth century, as well as agriculture. Ansty and Shilton retain Anglican churches, and Shilton has a tiny Baptist church. Barnacle has a Methodist chapel and found itself split between nearby Bulkington and Shilton when parish boundaries mattered more. It used to have two pubs and a shop. Two farms have Civil War associations. The old photographs have been gathered over thirty years. The images compare starkly with the present day, when most residents have to work outside the villages.
John Burton has been an English teacher for thirty years, with a lifelong interest in local history and photography - a happy combination for a compiler of books like these. He has published five books and contributed to several others, and is currently chairman of the George Eliot Fellowship and a frequent speaker on local history and George Eliot. He is a founder member of The Bedworth Society, which now also runs Bedworth Heritage Centre. He also helps to run the Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre in Nuneaton.