Medieval Villages in an English Landscape: Beginnings and Ends

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9781905119097: Medieval Villages in an English Landscape: Beginnings and Ends
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The village - one of the keystones of the English rural landscape - has a powerful hold on the imagination. The origin of nucleated and dispersed settlements - the countryside of villages and the countryside of hamlets - has since become a central concern of landscape historians. This book directly addresses this central problem. The end-result of a 5 year project which has explored a group of 12 parishes on the Buckinghamshire-Northamptonshire boundary where elements of these two landscapes lie side by side, it looks at the reasons for fundamental changes in landscape that occurred in the parish of Whittlewood between AD 800 - 1400. Changes in how the land was perceived, divided, organised and exploited are examined to reveal the testimony of medieval villagers and answer the pressing question: Why did different communities develop different forms of communal living?

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Review:

admirably illustrated with frequent maps, diagrams and air photographs.'--John Steane "Oxfordshire Local History, 2008 "

The authors are to be congratulated on an opus whose ability to leaven dense information and complex concepts with an accessible writing style makes this a major contribution, not only to medieval settlement studies but also, we must hope, to much wider theoretical debates on the importance of regionality and agency in change in the past.'--Carenza Lewis "Landscape History, Vol. 29, 2007 "

...an important addition to the literature on medieval settlement which can be read by the specialist and non-specialist alike.'--David Roffe, University of Sheffield "The Medieval Review, 2008 "

Synopsis:

The village - one of the keystones of the English rural landscape - has a powerful hold on the imagination. The origin of nucleated and dispersed settlements - the countryside of villages and the countryside of hamlets - has consequently become a central concern of landscape historians. This long-awaited book directly addresses this central problem. It is the end result of a five-year project which has explored a group of twelve parishes on the Buckinghamshire-Northamptonshire boundary formerly lying within Whittlewood Forest, where elements of these two landscapes lie side by side. The authors explore the reasons for the fundamental changes that occurred at Whittlewood between AD 800 and 1400 - changes in how the land was perceived, divided, organised and exploited. Revealing the hard-won testimony of the medieval villagers who left their imprint on the surface of the land, they ask why different communities developed different forms of communal living. Unique settlement plans emerged, the products of decisions taken by lords and communities: decisions influenced by a complex matrix of factors that could be environmental, topographical or cultural.

The result of one of the most detailed analyses ever carried our on the origins of medieval settlement, this book is of fundamental importance to all scholars, students and enthusiasts of English landscape history.

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9781905119080: Medieval Villages in an English Landscape: Beginnings and Ends

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ISBN 10:  1905119089 ISBN 13:  9781905119080
Publisher: Windgather Press, 2006
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