The articulation of burgages and streets in early medieval towns. Part 2, Jeremy Haslam

This is the second part of an examination of one particular aspect of the planning process in new towns of the early medieval period in England which were set out on a rectilinear module. In all these planned towns, the way in which burgages were laid out at the corners of streets meeting at right angles will have always been problematical. Four towns (excluding Bridgnorth, discussed earlier), ranging in date from the late ninth to the late twelfth century, are examined to illustrate one particular way in which these spatial problems were resolved. Deductions are made from this evidence concerning the contemporaneity or otherwise of streets and burgage systems, seen as inter-functional ensembles. These observations and deductions generate new historical narratives relating to both the morphogenetic development of the towns studied and, in some cases, the wider course of the development of urbanism in general.

Finn’s Seat: topographies of power and royal marchlands of Gaelic polities Tin medieval Ireland, Elizabeth FitzPatrick amd Ronan Hennessy

Hill- and mountain-top cairns and mounds in Ireland are often viewed as epiphenomenal features of the medieval landscape. In recent years, research on early medieval ferta, ancestral burial places cited in the legal procedure of taking possession of land and invoked during disputes over land, has highlighted the role of some sepulchral cairns and mounds in boundary maintenance. This paper proposes that particular cairns and mounds, imagined at least as early as the tenth century as Finn’s Seat (Suidhe Finn), acted as territorial markers in boundary formation and continuity and signified royal marchlands (mruig rig) where Gaelic kings went to hunt and to fight. It is argued that such royal lands were essentially forests, where a range of natural resources were available. A window onto royal marchlands is provided by the medieval Finn Cycle of Tales (fíanaigecht) which encode knowledge of medieval territorial boundary zones in the names of the places where the quasi-mythical warrior-hunter and border hero, Finn mac Cumaill works for the king of Ireland, hunts with his fían (wild band) and accesses the Otherworld.

A Blot on the Landscape? Civic memory and municipal public parks in early twelfth-century Manchester,  Carole O’Reilly

This paper examines the decision to locate the façade of Manchester’s old Town Hall in a public park (Heaton Park) in 1912. It argues that, in so doing, the city’s Parks and Cemeteries committee was attempting to refine the didactic space of the park as a site of civic memory. The early Victorian urban parks had sought to educate their visitors through their museums, art galleries and exhibition spaces, glasshouses and carefully planned and planted walkways. The insertion into this environment of part of a former civic building was intended to remind the visitors of their civic history and to warn surrounding districts of the expansionist tendencies of the city of Manchester. The failure to identify the façade or to connect it to its surroundings meant that its meaning was ultimately lost to many parks visitors and it remained in place as a civic folly. Public parks presented the municipal authorities with an opportunity to highlight the provision of recreation and leisure facilities, but also an occasion to re-invent the municipal tradition. However, as this paper shows, such gestures were often futile in the complex and contested space of the public park.

Therapeutic landscapes and nationalism: Turkey and the curative waters of Kemalism, Kyle and Emine Evered

Hypothesised as a promising research concern for medical geographers, the therapeutic landscape concept promised to bridge divides between methods and approaches in humanistic, structural, and critical geographies. Despite early reference to ideology and the topic’s potential, engagements with political ideas and identity politics remains underdeveloped. Analysing a range of historical sources, this article examines the therapeutic landscapes of early republican Turkey from the vantage of its guiding philosophy and identity construct, Kemalism. In doing so, it reveals the politicised and ideological nature of many therapeutic landscapes and their place in one of the major projects of the modern era: nation-building.

Gardens and public parks in Cuernavaca: transformation of a cultural landscape, Patrizia Granziera

Cuernavaca is the capital city of the state of Morelos, a region which was famous since prehispanic times for its exuberant nature and precious flowers. Here, Moctezuma II laid out the famous prehispanic garden of Huaxtepec. Unfortunately very little is left of this beautiful Aztec garden. During the eighteenth century, Manuel de la Borda, a famous New Spain aristocrat, built his country-house and garden in Cuernavaca. The Borda Garden is regarded as one of the few still existing Mexican colonial gardens. Since 1971 it has been a property of the federal government and used as a public park, but the architecture of the garden has never been restored. In the nineteenth century a public park named Melchior Ocampo was designed around seven springs, part of the woods of Amanalco, the green heart of Cuernavaca. Nowadays this public park is abandoned and reputedly dangerous. This paper aims at promoting the rescue and restoration of these historical gardens showing not only their importance as part of Mexican historical and collective memory but also as forces that can regenerate urban landscapes providing green public spaces and human health.

Ambiguities of the hedge: an exercise in creative pleaching—of moments, memories and meanings, David Harvey 

This paper reviews a range of published material on the English hedgerow, and its ambiguous role in both landscape history and contemporary countryside management. While there is a strand of recent landscape history scholarship that can be stridently critical of the hedge as a ‘technology of subjection’, connected invariably with Parliamentary enclosure and proletarianisation, the English hedgerow is also an iconic symbol of rural tranquillity, and mainstay of many conservation and biodiversity agendas, with hedge-laying — the practice of constructing a living hedge — championed as a key item of rural craft heritage. Making space for a dynamic biography of hedges and hedge-laying, and reflecting on an auto-ethnographic account of working on a particular hedge in Warwickshire, the this paper explores the possibilities for an account of hedgerows that can steer a pathway between narratives that are critical of hedges-as-enclosure, and a conservation ambition that might seem to preserve hedges in aspic.

Appendix, Della Hooke



T. Douglas Price, Ancient Scandinavia. An archaeological history from the first humans to the Vikings (Mette Løvschal).

Graham Brown, David Field and David McOmish (eds), The Avebury Landscape. Aspects of the field archaeology of the Marlborough Downs (Susan Oosthuizen).

Colin Haselgrove (ed.), Cartimandua’s Capital? The Late Iron Age royal site at Stanwick, North Yorkshire, fieldwork and analysis 1981–2011 (Stephen G. Upex).

Mark Atkinson and Steve Preston, Heybridge: a Late Iron Age and Roman settlement (Oscar Aldred).

Marta Díaz-Guardamino, Leonardo García Sanjuán and David Wheatley (eds), The Lives of Prehistoric Monuments in Iron Age, Roman and Medieval Europe (Sarah Semple).

Martin Millett, Louise Revell and Alison Moore (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Roman Britain(Stephen G. Upex). 

Carolyn L. Connor, Saints and Spectacle. Byzantine mosaics in their cultural setting (Eileen Rubery).

A. Willemsen and H. Kik (eds), Golden Middle Ages in Europe. New research into early-medieval communities and identities (Caitlin Green).

Neil Christie and Hajnalka Herold (eds), Fortified Settlements of Early Medieval Europe. Defended communities of the 8th-10th centuries (Thomas Kohl).

Susan Oosthuizen, The Anglo-Saxon Fenland (Peter Herring).

Oliver Creighton and Duncan Wright, The Anarchy. War and status in 12th-century landscapes of conflict (Matthew Strickland).

Thomas Finn, Landscape and History on the Medieval Irish Frontier. The King’s Cantreds in the thirteenth century (Patrick Gleeson).

Rob Liddiard (ed.), Late Medieval Castles (Duncan Wright).

Warwick Rodwell and Tim Tatton-Brown (eds), Westminster: Volume 1 The Art, Architecture and Archaeology of the Royal Abbey; Westminster: Volume 2 The Art, Architecture and Archaeology of the Royal Palace (Kate Giles).

David Butcher, Medieval Lowestoft. The origins and growth of a Suffolk coastal community (Brian Ayers).

Christina Bellorini, The World of Plants in Renaissance Tuscany (David Lowther).

David Stephenson, Medieval Powys. Kingdom, principality and lordships, 1132–1293 (Bob Silvester).

Michael Hicks (ed.), The Later Medieval Inquisitions Post Mortem. Mapping the medieval countryside and rural society (Susan Oosthuizen).

Ann Benson, Troy House. A Tudor estate across time (Elisabeth Whittle).

Steffie Shields, Moving Heaven and Earth. Capability Brown’s gift of landscape (David Brown).

Christopher Pickford and Nikolaus Pevsner, Warwickshire (Bob Silvester).

Sharon M. Varey and Graeme J. White (eds), Landscapes Past and Present. Cheshire and beyond (Rachel E. Swallow).

Tim Cunningham and Jan Driessen (eds), Crisis to Collapse. The archaeology of social breakdown(Nicola Sharratt).

Previous Volume        Landscape History Homepage        Next Volume

Landscape History


Volume 38 (2017) Issue 2