Castle Studies and the ‘Landscape’ agenda: O. H. Creighton and R. A. Higham

The growth in interest in the wider settlement settings and landscape contexts of medieval castles is reviewed. While overtly militaristic approaches to castle study sometimes ensured that sites were frequently examined in isolation from their surroundings, some early scholars were aware of the importance of viewing castles in their wider contexts. From the 1970s onwards, excavation, survey and settlement studies have all made a decisive contribution to our enhanced understanding of the ‘landscape’ dimension of medieval fortification. Changing approaches to the study of Norman castles, in particular, are explored, and recommendations for future study are indentified.

 

Planning English medieval ‘street towns’: the Hertfordshire evidence. Terry R. Slater

Urban landscapes are neglected by landscape history. This paper uses the sub-set of Hertfordshire medieval towns to investigate the topographical characteristics of the most common ‘plan family’ of English town-plan types: the ‘street town’. It concentrates particularly on the influence of administrative boundaries and common land on the development of medieval urban topographies in this region. It then examines the characteristics of plot metrologies in Hertfordshire’s street towns to suggest the variety of planning undertaken by overlords and individuals in time and space.

 

Ravensdale Park, Derbyshire, and medieval deer coursing: Christopher Taylor

A possible late-medieval deer course has been discovered within a deer park at Ravensdale, Derbyshire. The site is described and analysed and its history summarised. The archaeological and historical evidence for post-medieval deer courses is examined and the complex rules of the sport, as well as its social background, are looked at. The conclusion reached is that deer coursing and courses must have developed earlier in the medieval period. The attempt to prove this involves a summary of the documentary, illustrative and archaeological evidence. The paper then traces the possible links between developments in hunting in late medieval times with political, economic and social changes. It ends with a reconstruction of the landscape of Ravensdale Park in the late fourteenth century.

 

A classification of ridge and furrow by an analysis of cross-profiles: Stephen Upex

This paper brings together the results of fieldwork surveys in the east midlands and presents findings which show eight different forms of ridge and furrow cross profile. Suggestions are made for the reasons why different profiles of ridge and furrow were ploughed and links made to their use in either pre-enclosure or post enclosure contexts. It is clear that medieval and post-medieval cultivation ridges where easily modified and could be ploughed into a variety of forms.

 

Why hedge dating doesn’t work: Steve Cousins

This paper examines the ‘Hooper Hedgerow Dating Hypothesis’, points out the flaws in the basic assumptions of the method, and details the various reasons why a simple method of boundary dating based on species composition can not be relied upon.

 

Two late nineteenth-century military earthworks on Ash Ranges, near Aldershot, Surrey: Judie English

Two earthwork enclosures situated on Ash Ranges, Aldershot, have been surveyed and the results are presented here together with an outline of their historical context and possible motives for their construction.

 

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Volume 26 (2004)