A place there is where liquid honey drops like dew’. The landscape of Little Downham, Cambridgeshire, in the twelfth century? Christopher Taylor

This paper and that which follows are published together to illustrate how two scholars in very different fields can produce entirely different interpretations of an early twelfth-century poem.

Using traditional historical evidence Christopher Taylor fits the poetic descriptions into the contemporary landscape. Catherine Clarke approaches the poem from a literary perspective using textual analysis. Both methods are equally valid, and each might be seen as enhancing the other.

Place, poetry and patronage: the Libellus Æthelwoldi verses to Little Downham and their context, Catherine A. M. Clarke

 

Grainlands. The landscape of open fields in a European perspective, Hans Renes

Landscape history is still mainly studied in local or regional projects and within national research traditions. However, an international perspective becomes ever more necessary, not just for scientific reasons, but also in the light of the increasingly internationalisation of landscape politics; see for example the European Landscape Convention. The present article will focus on one particular type of landscape: the open fields, the grain-growing landscapes that were the backbone of medieval European agriculture. The landscape of open fields can (or at least could) be found over large parts of Europe in regions with very different legal and organisational structures, soil conditions and agricultural systems. Some of the lengthiest and most thorough discussions in landscape history were on the origin of the open fields. The present article stresses the necessity to treat the different components of open fields (land use, landownership, agrarian techniques) separately.

Many of the explanations offered are based on research in limited areas. An international perspective is helpful, by putting local developments into a broader perspective. Since the Late Middle Ages, the open field landscapes have moved north-eastwards, following the moving geography of grain cultivation. Whereas open fields gradually disappeared through enclosure in Britain, Scandinavia and other regions, elsewhere, especially in the Eastern Baltic, new open fields were being developed during the sixteenth century. This changing geography of open fields is probably related to changes in the European economy, in which the regional markets for grain gave way to a pan-European market during the sixteenth century and to a world market in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Each phase offered new opportunities, as well as threats, to the open field regions.

 

Shorter notes:

Open field survivals in England

The Fields of Belton in Axholme, Terry Fulton

‘The past in the present’ - remnant open field patterns in England, Della Hooke

 

 

Reviews

Francis Pryor, The Making of the British Landscape (Andrew Fleming)

Barry Lewis, Hunting in Britain from the Ice Age to the Present (Paul Stamper)

Urban Emanuelsson, The Rural Landscapes of Europe. How man has shaped European nature (Della Hooke)

Timothy A. R. Clack (ed.), Culture, History and Identity: landscapes of inhabitation in the Mount Kilmanjaro area, Tanzania (Niall Finneran)

Helga Geovannini Acuňa

a, Rain Harvesting in the Rainforest: the ancient Maya agricultural landscape of Calkmul, Campeche, Mexico (Elizabeth Graham)

Christopher Dyer and Richard Jones (eds), Deserted Villages Revisited (Mark Gardiner)

David N. Robinon (ed.), The Lincolnshire Wolds (Paul Everson)

Linda Sever (ed.), Lancashire’s Sacred Landscapes (Nick Higham)

John Morris, The Cultural Heritage of Chiltern Woodlands. An illustrated guide to archaeological features (Ian Dormor)

Megan Meredith-Lobay, Contextual Landscape Study of the Early Christian Churches of Argyll. The persistence of memory (Deidre O’Sullivan)

Alan Fox, A Lost Frontier Revealed. Regional separation in the East Midlands (Carenza Lewis)

Landscape Research, Journal of the Landscape Research Group, Vol. 34.5 (2009), Vol. 35,1-5 (2010) (Della Hooke)

 

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Volume 31 (2010) Issue 2