Hard questions about hard woods; the exclusions in the Old English ‘Æcerbot’ Charm, Mary Ward

The Old English charm whose rituals provide a remedy for land which is unproductive is designed to be undertaken by, for, and on behalf of, a community. Community in this instance includes not only a human component but every plant and animal that lives in or on the land in question with only two exceptions, a plant known as ‘glappan’ and a category of trees described as ‘hard trees’. This paper considers what is meant by ‘hard trees’ through an attempt to understand the practical context of application of the ritual prescribed. Interpreting the text thus allows for the possibility that the trees to be excluded are the particular individual trees which are the boundary markers of the estate.

Sound in the landscape, a study of the early historical literature. Part 1: the early medieval period the sixth to eleventh century, Della Hooke with Michael Bintley

While many landscapes have made an impression upon people more through visual impact other senses might also be involved, one of which was that of hearing. In the first of a series of essays this will be examined through the literature and place-names of the early medieval period. Indeed, while we cannot see the landscape as it was then seen, we can through such sources be brought closer to the actual sounds that might have been heard.

‘The Hyde’, Scaldeford and early medieval Wight, John Margham

Upper Hyde Farm near Shanklin on the Isle of Wight was until quite recently complemented by its neighbour Lower Hyde Farm. Three landholdings named Scaldeford were recorded in 1086 totalling 1 hide. This hide farm can be reconstructed to include Upper and Lower Hyde farms, nearby Ninham Farm and the adjoining deserted site of Selbournes, with a total area of 453 acres. Other instances of shared Domesday place-names on the Isle of Wight are explored as are further instances of landholdings of 1 hide in 1066. The hide farm of Scaldeford would have formed part of a putative multiple estate centred on Brading, which in turn had been part of the regio of the wiht gara. The existence of other hide farms is postulated through two instances of ‘lost’ hīd place-names and the association between potentially early place-names and estates of 1 hide in 1066. The Scaldeford hide farm can be seen as a ‘pioneering hide’ akin to examples of hiwisc from Somerset. Earlier research based on the reconstruction of charter bounds on the Isle of Wight is compared with such hiwisc units to develop a broad correlation between the acreages of hides and the agricultural potential of the land. Appendices provide additional information about the ecological history of the Scaldeford area and the earthwork within the reconstructed hide which formed part of its internal boundary.

The path to the monastery: monastic communication networks in the southern Welsh Marches, Eddie Procter

This paper presents evidence, still often observable in the field, of a coherent and managed network of roads and tracks in the orbit of medieval monasteries and their estates: a component of a wider Ph.D. research project examining to what extent elements of medieval monastic topography can be discerned within the historic landscape of the southern Welsh Marches.

The landscapes associated with three case studies in the area (the Cistercian abbeys of Llantarnam and Tintern, and the Augustinian priory of Llanthony) provide the examples drawn on here. Three routeways in particular, one from each house, are described.

The popular view of medieval roads and routeways is that they were much like medieval life: poorly maintained, difficult to progress along and generally only used for localised traffic and travel. But were they always that bad? This paper presents examples to suggest that medieval abbeys and priories were using and improving communication networks across their landed possessions in a more sustained and systematic way.

The postulated monastic trods and track-ways introduced here — routes used for trade, for pilgrimage, for travellers to and from the monastery — help to challenge received wisdom that pre-modern roads were uniformly primitive, difficult and very much non-permanent. In fact, a transition of routes from general directions of travel into defined, maintained roads and paths can be heralded as one of the main topographical legacies of the monastic period.

An open strip-field system at its tipping point in the German-Dutch River Dinkel catchment, Hein van Gils and Andreas Mölder

Three questions have been addressed. Firstly, where in the pre-nineteenth-century landscape did farmers hold strips, camps, meadows and shares in the commons? Secondly, did farmers each own strips and camps or were some specialised strip and others exclusively ‘camp’ farmers? Finally, can we corroborate or reject one of the alternative hypotheses: strip-field-first versus camp-first. The area of interest is the current cadastral district cum medieval parish Epe at today’s German-Dutch border as pars pro toto for the surrounding area of about 100 km diameter in the North-West European cover sand belt. Our key data source was the 1827 cadastre complemented by the historical topographic map and geological, soil and elevation maps. For population estimates, we used six tax registers from 1499–1750. All parcels per farmstead were identified in the cadastral registry, farms located on parcel maps and hamlet territories delineated as the aggregate of its farms. The following farm features were extracted from the cadastre and averaged per settlement: number of strips and strip-fields, parcel type, farm size, tenure, number of meadows, oak camps, crop camps, and pasture camps. Next, the following landscape features were identified from the map set per settlement: farmstead pattern, type of settlement, commons, strip-field, soil, and watercourse. We present the introduction, the materials & methods section, the historical and landscape context in Part 1, followed in Part 2 by our findings, a discussion, a hypothetical narrative consistent with our findings, and answers to our research questions.

Measuring long-term landscape change using historical photographs and the WSL Monoplotting Tool, Nicola Gabellier and Charles Watkins 

This paper assesses the potential of software developed by the research group of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in order to georeference and vectorise historical landscape photographs. The use of this ‘Monoplotting’ Tool introduces a new application for topographical photographs and opens up the possibility of using such photographs for measuring land-use change. This paper reviews the literature on the use of historical photographs for landscape history. It introduces the new software and then goes on to examine how vectorised topographical photographs may help in the measurement of land-use changes in the mountainous landscape of Liguria and Trentino in the late nineteenth and twentieth century.


Paul Readman, Storied Ground: landscape and the shaping of English national identity (Clare Griffiths)

Juliette Wood, Fantastic Creatures in Mythology and Folklore (Della Hooke)

Charles Watkins, Trees in Art (George Peterken)

Fiona Watson and Piers Dixon, A History of Scotlandʼs Landscapes (Bob Silvester)

Bruce Eagles, From Roman Civitas to Anglo-Saxon Shire: topographical studies on the formation of Wessex (Stephen Rippon)

Mark McKerracher, Farming Transformed in Anglo-Saxon England. Agriculture in the long eighth century (Della Hooke)

Jane Croom, The English Great House and Its Setting, c.1100-c.1800: a necessary and pleasant thing (Paul Stamper)

Carl  J. Griffin and B. McDonagh (eds), Remembering Protest in Britain since 1500: memory, materiality and the landscape (William D. Shannnon)

T. M. Devine, The Scottish Clearances: a history of the dispossessed 1600-1900 (Harry Hawkins)Terry McCormick, Lake District Fell Farming: historical and literary perspectives, 1750-2017   John Hodgson)

Sarah Rutherford, Landscape Gardens (Philip Davies)

Paul Warde, Libby Robin and Sverker Sörlin, The Environment: a history of the idea (John            Morgan)


Landscape Research, Vol.  43, Nos 1–8 (Della Hooke)

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