The Making and Unmaking of the English Midland Landscape
The pattern of nucleated settlements and extensive open fields most commonly found within the landscape of the Midlands.
‘It is here that many of the current orthodoxies of landscape history were first formulated, especially concerning the origins of nucleated villages and open-field agriculture, and the processes by which they disappeared in the course of the post-medieval period…’
Most landscape historians believe that villages were created in the middle or later Saxon periods through the ‘nucleation’ of a formerly dispersed pattern of settlement, that many villages were initially laid out as planned, regular settlements and that open fields probably came into existence at the same time. Re-examination and mapping of the data suggests ‘nucleation’ is a myth, ‘village planning’ an illusion and open fields were created, at least in their classic, ‘regular’ forms, only in the 11th or 12th centuries.
64 pages of colour plates.
64 pages of colour illustrations
This book concerns the origins of villages and open fields, and their development in the late medieval and post-medieval periods, in the Midland, ‘champion’ areas of England. Focusing on Northampton, but of national significance in its implications,
it presents the most detailed reconstruction of landscape and land-use in a medieval county ever attempted
it provides a radical reinterpretation of village and open-field origins
it casts new light on the practice of agriculture, the development of open fields and the character of the enclosure process, in the post-medieval period.
Tom Williamson is Professor in Landscape History at UEA and published The Transformation of Rural England: Farming and the Landscape 1700-1870 withUEP in 2002
Robert Liddiard completed a PhD at UEA in 2000 and has published on high-status landscapes in the Middle Ages
Tracey Partida is a consultant specializing in geographical information systems (GIS) and her PhD is in progress at University of Huddersfield.