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Settlement and field systems in Middleham Manor 1600 - 1850

Clifford, John (1977) Settlement and field systems in Middleham Manor 1600 - 1850. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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This work is concerned with the changes in settlement and field systems of the Bishop of Durham's Middleham Manor during the decline of the old methods of farming and the emergence of the now between 1600 and 1850. By 1600 the nucleated rural settlement pattern of surviving villages and deserted sites had been established and formed the basis of the 1650 pattern including the surviving Middleham Manor villages of Bishop Middleham, Sedgefield and Cornforth. In neighbouring, non-eccliastical townships, which by 1850 were part of the parishes of Sedgefield and Bishop Middleham, there were extant villages and deserted sites occupied by individual farms or farm clusters. In 1600, the townships of Middleham Manor presented a champion landscape of large open fields, meadows and pastures. But enclosure in the form of severalties and Lammas closes had already made inroads into lands held in common. The dispersion of farmstalls from the village tofts had not yet taken place, and there wore ownership links between the village holdings and those in the township fields and pastures. Freed from the constraints of communal agriculture, the 17th century enclosure allotments proved enduring as alienable blocks in the land market. They also affected the 1850 pattern of enclosed farms with close correlation between farm and allotment boundaries. New agricultural practices were slow to develop with medieval tenures persisting into the 19th century and new crops and rotations not introduced until a relatively late date. In 1850 plot patterns in the villages remained the same with minor sub divisions. In most cases the farmstalls then occupied sites in the fields while village tofts were used for other purposes. The localised and internal contrasts in landscape, farming and territorial organisation derive from the fact that the lands of Middleham Manor were held 'in demesne' with tenants answering directly to the Halmote Court (until 1926).

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1977
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:36

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