Medieval and Early Modern management of the River Lymn and Wainfleet Haven (east Lincolnshire, England), Ian Simmons

The post-Roman evolution of the landscape of coastal east Lincolnshire exhibits regional links from early medieval times in the case of major fen and sea banks, to which can be added local links and actions for bank-building, pasture reclamation, harbours, fisheries, and the impress of local government. In a landscape much defined by water, now largely insignificant watercourses were once the scene of considerable concern. In the case of the Lymn, the instrumental role played by local magnates is dominant, but the input of local communities in undertaking and often benefiting from the actual labour also diversifies the overall picture. The Supplementary Material facility is used to expand on a number of points germane, but not central, to the main narrative.

Hunting ground, agricultural land and the forest: sustainable interdependency in Mughal India 1526–1708, Shaha Parpia

The Mughal society had two salient characteristics: it was agrarian and had a complex imperial hunting culture. The enactment of cultivation and the hunt, both vital to the state in different respects, transformed the natural environment of forested spaces which were appropriated for cultivation and hunting needs. These needs, along with the prevailing attitudes towards forests as spaces of lawlessness and hostility, generated a demand for deforestation. The paper proposes that this demand resulted in differentiating the ‘natural landscape’ (the forest) from the ‘modified landscape’ of the imperial shikargah (hunting ground), which were sited on deforested land at the edge of cultivated spaces. It argues that the Mughals viewed the shikargah as a transitional zone between the cultivated land and the uncultivated forest as it established a continuity between hunting and agricultural practices. Symbolic notions of harmony that were said to exist between the two spaces, and proximity of wildlife and shikargahs to agriculture, formed the basis of this continuity. The paper also proposes that while the cultivated land and shikargah were often seen as conflictual spaces due to the detrimental effect of hunting practices on agricultural growth, they were also seen as mutually beneficial spaces due to the contributions the sophisticated hunting practices made to agriculture. It discusses the various processes through which the Mughal emperor dealt with the dichotomy of imperial hunting practices and its impact on agriculture and forestry. The paper concludes that a sustainable interdependency existed between these three important components of Mughal landscapes in terms of spatial, cultural and political perspectives.

Scotland’s formal landscapes surveyed on General Roy’s military map of Scotland, Margaret Stewart

Mature designed landscapes planted c. 1700 are visible on General Roy’s Great Map of Scotland (1747 to 1755). The Scottish formal style, or Scottish Historical Landscape as it is known, was developed by the landscapists Sir William Bruce and Alexander Edward, and by the outstanding designer John Erskine, sixth earl of Mar, Secretary of State for Scotland and later leader the Jacobite Rising of 1715. Essentially French in form but with avenues directed on natural and historical sites, the Scottish style achieved unique characteristics. The essay argues that recognition of the style, which is long overdue, will enable its evaluation as  a Scottish national historical resource. The study contributes to current research on the impact of French designing beyond the European centres, and it will help disentangle the Scottish style’s characteristics from the dominant historiographies of the Picturesque.

A selection of sites on Roy’s map were traced through nineteenth-century maps and compared with surviving contemporary mapping resources including aerial and satellite photographs. This enabled an evaluation Roy’s reliability for identifying these landscapes: instances of misplaced features and misaligned avenues were found. In addition, the digitisation of Roy for the National Library of Scotland’s website has distorted distances but the map’s geometry is generally sound.

The study disclosed unknown designed features such as splayed or perspectival avenues. Dice-style or quincuncial planting, panorama terraces and roundels have been noticed by other researchers but the study reveals them to be far more numerous than presently thought. Finally, a new type of landscape adapted to mountainous sites is described.

Loch drainage and improvement in Scotland, Michael J. Stratigos

This paper sets out a history of loch (lake) drainage during the Improvement period in Scotland. A range of case studies are presented that trace the practice from before the eighteenth century through the second half of the nineteenth century. Evidence is presented to suggest that drainage was viewed during the Improvement period as essential to new agricultural practices implemented at this time. The importance of loch drainage can be seen in the exhaustive nature of the practice in parts of Scotland. It has been recently shown that different patterns in the intensity and timing of loch drainage occurred across Scotland, but the reasons why some areas saw more intense drainage, even where similar physical geographies exist, remain unexplored. It is suggested here that the framework of interpretation that has been applied to the much better studied practice of enclosure can equally be applied to drainage. Possible motivations and drivers for loch drainage are suggested here that show correlation in the intensity of drainage with areas that suffered particularly severely during a long period of poor harvests, due to cooler and wetter climate at times in the decades leading up to the Improvement period. This paper throws light on loch drainage as an important agrarian practice of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as rural Scotland shifted away from a largely subsistence economy to one characterised by more capitalist production.

Art and landscape history: British artists in nineteenth-century Val d’Aosta (north-west Italy), Pietro Piana, Charles Watkins and Ross Balzaretti

This paper explores the value of landscape and topographical art for understanding contemporary landscapes of the Val d’Aosta, north-west Italy. The region became very popular with British tourists in the early nineteenth century and several amateur and professional artists depicted its landscapes. The paper focuses on the case study of Saint-Pierre, its castle and the surrounding landscapes, examining views by amateur artists like Henrietta Fortescue and professionals such as John Brett. The examination of art, alongside written accounts, historical cartography and field data, provides insights into the landscape history of the Val d’Aosta. The analysis of the artists’ representations raises questions of landscape identity and characterisation and provides evidence for subtle changes in local land-use practices which have had a significant impact on land use change. We suggest that this artistic heritage should be recognised as a source to help improve sustainable tourism in the area and to assist in the development of current land management policies.

‘The ownership was based on club and stickʼ: the cartographic reconstruction of a medieval monastic estate in the Buzău Region, Romania, Cezar Buterez and Theodor Cepraga

The dynamics of property regime play a key role in understanding the socio-economic and cultural evolution of the Romanian Principalities during the late Middle Ages. In the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries the main landowners were the boyars (the local elite), the ecclesiastical institutions and the free peasants. The latter, known to have financial obligations only to the state, were in a constant feud with the boyars and the monasteries for the landownership of their estates. A rather common practice for the free peasants was to found a skete (a monastic community) and to endow it with a part of their domain.

Focusing on the Buzău Subcarpathians, this paper attempts to examine the spatial dimensions of an estate donated by a free peasant, who later became a monk, to the skete founded by him. The paper uses the toponyms extracted from historical documents, oral histories and GIS to precisely locate the seventeenth-century estate and its subsequent evolution. The approach also serves as a tool for understanding the role played by the estates from a social, economic and administrative point of view. Finally, the paper explains the importance of the findings to the dynamic of the regional administrative county bounds, to the creation of a Historical-Geographical Information System (HGIS) in Romania and also to local tourism.


The Journal of the Breckland Society, volume 1 (Susanna Wade Martins)

T. Jenkins and R. Abbiss (eds), Fortress Salopia: exploring Shropshire’s military history from the prehistoric period to the 20th century (Rachel Woodward)

Pete Wilson and Jennifer Price (eds), Aspects of Industry in Roman Yorkshire and the North (Margaret L. Faull)

Stephen Rippon, Kingdom, Civitas, and County. The evolution of territorial identity in the English landscape (Della Hooke)

Peter Edwards, Horses and the Aristocratic Lifestyle in Early Modern England. William Cavendish First Earl of Devonshire (1551–1626) and his horses (Ian D. Rotherham)

Tom Williamson, Gerry Barnes and Toby Pillatt, Trees in England. Management and disease since 1600 (Charles Watkins)

David J. Starkey, David Atkinson, Briony McDonagh, Sarah McKeon and Elisabeth Salter (eds), Hull: culture, history, place (Graeme Milne)

Christopher Dyer, Erik Thoen and Tom Williamson (eds), Peasants and their fields: the rationale of open-field agriculture, c. 700–1800 (Paul Stamper)

Malcolm Dick and Elaine Mitchell (eds), Gardens and Green Spaces in the West Midlands since 1700 (Andrew Richmond)

Annie Tindley, Lowri Ann Rees and Ciarán Reilly (eds), The Land Agent 1700-1920 (Carole Beardmore)

Susan Flood and Tom Williamson (eds), Humphry Repton in Hertfordshire: documents and landscapes (Stephen Daniels)

Sally Bate, Rachel Savage and Tom Williamson (eds), Humphry Repton in Norfolk (Stephen Daniels)

Briony McDonagh, Elite Women and the Agricultural Landscape, 1700–1830 (Elly Robson)

Douglas D. Scott, Peter Bleed and Amanda Renner, Battlespace 1865: archaeology of the landscapes, strategies and tactics of the North Platte Campaign, Nebraska (Alexander Scott)

Previous Volume        Landscape History Homepage        Next Volume

Landscape History


Volume 39 (2018) Issue 2