Terminology used by Rackham (1986, 4-5) and associated with south-eastern and western England. Defined today as a landscape of: hamlets and small towns; isolated farmsteads; hedges, mainly mixed and not straight; many roads, often sunken; many public footpaths; many woods, often small; pollarded trees, if present, found away from habitation; many antiquities of all periods. Defined historically as a landscape: where open fields were either absent or of modest extent, and abolished before c. 1700; ancient hedges; many woods, through often small; much heathland; non-woodland trees such as oak, ash, alder, and birch; many ponds.
An area of cleared woodland, of varying size, achieved through individual or communal effort, and used for arable cultivation. The 'assarting movement' gained momentum during the 12th century and continued up to the Black Death. Unlicenced assarting within royal forests resulted in substantial fines, where prosecuted.
A term coined by Roberts and Wrathmell (2000), defining a belt of landscape within which nucleated settlement dominated in the 19th century, and which further investigation reveals as of long standing. Similar to, but not coterminus with, Rackham's (1986) 'planned countryside'. The Central Province should not be seen as a single homogeneous area, but as Roberts and Wrathmell reveal, was made up of a number of identifiable sub-provinces showing greater or lesser degrees of settlement dispersions, but within which nucleations still constituted the 'typical' form.
Enclosed area of woodland within which timber was managed and
cropped on a regular cycle, often containing a single species of tree. The banks and ditches which surrounded them were usually topped by either quick or dead hedges to protect the young trees from deer. For local cropping regime in Whittlewood see Hall (2001)
Enclosed hunting grounds, and reserves of timber and pasture,
usually surrounded by bank and ditches or wooden pales. Park constructors were required to obtain a royal licence to empark. Areas enclosed might vary greatly in size. Originally the preserve of the King and major magnates, emparkment reached the height of its popularity in the 13th and 14th centuries as lesser landholders also began to express their social standing through park building.
Early administrative unit, whose extent is often difficult to define on
the ground, but generally more extensive than later parishes, within which a network of communities was required to provide food renders known as 'feorm'. Individual settlements within each estate may have specialised economic or social functions as expressed by place-names such as Barton (Barley tun), Shepton (Sheep tun), Charlton (Ceorl's tun), or Preston (Priest's tun). Sometimes coincident with the parochia.
Sub-division of the open fields a collection of any number of
individual strips or 'selions' running parallel to each other. Used as the basic cropping unit within each field.
A hypothesis that proposes that the Midlands landscape was
extensively reorganised in the 8th or 9th century. The episode which saw the nucleation of villages and the laying out of open fields (Brown and Foard 1998)
A small cluster of farmsteads, generally in the range of 2-6, but could
be larger. The definition is imprecise (a large hamlet might approach the size of a small village). Could equate to township or vill, or alternatively be wholly dependent upon other settlement. Usually ecclesiastically dependent upon a church situated elsewhere in the parish, but might include a chapel.
Open area of grassland in park or forest, sometimes enclosed, which provided grazing for deer. Often laid out around hunting lodges.
Territorial unit of lordship.
Open field farming
A system in which the arable zone of each township was divided into
a small number of large unhedged fields, subdivided into furlongs, and divided again into strips. While strips were farmed individually, the dispersion of holdings among the fields and furlongs meant that each area was farmed by the whole community. Fields were generally fallowed on a regular cycle. The actual management of open field systems might vary, however, over the course of time, and from region to region (Baker and Butlin 1973)
Administrative territory surrounding Roman town.
Smallest unit of ecclesiastical administration.
Ecclesiastical administrative unit pre-dating parishes. Area more
extensive than later parishes within which the pastoral needs of communities was served by clerical staff based on a minster church.
From the mid-18th century landlords petitioned Parliament for
an act allowing them to enclose fields and waste. Land was allotted by independent commissions, but after the General Enclosure Act of 1836, a separate act of Parliament was not required. Resulted in the almost total enclosure of surviving open fields, and a landscape of regular geometric fields (Williamson and Bellamy 1987, 104-5).
Terminology used by Rackham (1986, 4-5) to describe the
landscape of Central England. Defined in the modern period as a landscape of: villages; 18th- and 19th-century farms; hedges mainly of hawthorn and straight; few roads, straight and on surface; few footpaths; woods absent or few and large; pollard trees (except riverside willows) absent or only in villages; few antiquities, usually prehistoric. And in the historic period as: strong tradition of open fields, beginning early and lasting into the Enclosure Act period; mostly modern hedges; woods absent or few and large; heaths rare; little bracken or broom; non-woodland trees include thorns and elder; few ponds.
Villages made up of more than one part, often associated
with settlement surrounding multiple greens, or clustered around several major road junctions, or comprising a group of building concentrations. Term coined by Taylor (1977) who recognised that such plans could have many origins.
Pottery produced in Potterspury (Northants), the industry
beginning c. 1250 and continuing to the start of the 17th century. Smooth fabric, oxidised on surface with reduced centre, with many inclusions resulting from the use of boulder clay as the prime material. Wide distribution into Warwickshire and Oxfordshire, and dominating assemblages in south-west Northamptonshire and north Buckinghamshire in the 14th century. Wheel-turned, with a range of vessel types including cooking pots, storage jars and handled jugs. From the 14th century jugs often decorated with mottled green glaze (Mellor et al. 1994, 140-43).
A single farmstead, or a small cluster of farmsteads which carried the
potential to be the focus of later expansion and develop into a hamlet or village. Each mature village has a pre-village nucleus, unless planned as a new settlement. Farmsteads which did not develop into larger settlements and which were abandoned early might also be described as pre-village nuclei (Jones and Page forthcoming)
Encompassing 'enclosure by unity of possession', a late medieval
phenomenon, whereby lords enclosed areas of the open fields and common pasture, and 'enclosure by agreement', common in the 17th and 18th century, where a number of proprietors in a village agreed to extinguish rights in common and enclose. Often necessitated some arbitration (Williamson and Bellamy 1987, 104-5).
Ridge and Furrow
The physical remains of open field farming, each ridge represented
an individual strip, separated from its neighbours by a furrow. Created by the tendency to plough strips in such a way that the sods were turned inwards and therefore to overlay each other.
Unit of area equating to a quarter of an acre.
Area subject to the King's forest law, within which rights over venison
(deer, wild boar, and other beasts of the forest) and vert (wood and timber) were reserved for the Crown. Not necessarily heavily wooded (e.g. New Forest, Hants), and might include the lands of farming communities. At their greatest extent, around one-third of England was legally royal forest.
St Neots Ware
Pottery produced on the Cambridgeshire-Bedfordshire border, wheel-thrown, and including shelly marl inclusions. Vessels included cooking pots, deep dishes, shallow dishes, lamps and storage jars. Date range c. 850-1050 (Mellor et al. 1994, 54-7).
Ownership of land by individual, also known as 'sole' ownership. The
opposite of common ownership.
The site of a house and its outbuildings. Often associated with a
larger plot called a croft, used for agricultural and horticultural purposes.
The principal settlement of township, vill or parish. Usually contains
more than six separate households. Generally contains the apparatus of local government (lay and ecclesiastical) i.e. manor house, church etc. and elements of social stratification. Dictionary definition of modern village as more than 20 households does not hold for the medieval period, the smaller number of six is that adopted by the Deserted Medieval Village Research Group (later the Medieval Village Research Group, and now the Medieval Settlement Research Group).