Mapping the furlongs in West Field

West Field

Click here for map of West Field

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The alternative name was Brackendale, from which the modern farm derives its name. The farmer reports bracken still appears in his garden! Click here (link to pop up 13) for our conjectural map of West Field. Ox Pasture, to the south, was common land supported 180 beastgates rented to the farmers. Individual allocations were not given in the survey. The pre 1760 hedges shown would have dated from the enclosures of 1690 and later.

There were seventeen furlongs in West field, ten of which were named and nine had location information ascribed to them by the surveyor. Although this is half the number of furlongs in the other fields, the total area of the field is as great. There are very few small furlongs. Many of the tithe map boundaries were straight and therefore probably enclosure boundaries which may not have owed anything to the furlong boundaries. There were some sinuous old boundaries we have managed to honour. Some names were also, we felt, indicative of particular parts of the field. Toothill should be near the modern Toothill, for example, and Wylde Wylloughes suggested a damp location where willow trees are/were abundant. As with other fields, it was possible to place small chains of consecutively numbered furlongs but not to maintain sequential numbering throughout the field. Matching required areas, some natural boundaries and honouring spatial relationships has led to a few irregular shapes. If the enclosure hedges did follow many of the furlong boundaries a significantly different disposition of furlongs would emerge. The pre 1760 hedges follow some of the proposed furlong boundaries.

Furlong 1 – Millne furlong
Expected area: 9.46a GIS area: 9.0a

This seemed best placed near the mill at the top of Tithby Road. There were no existing boundaries to use as guides. It also fits with being furlong number 1! Also, Thomas Wragby, the miller, had his only holding in this furlong, so as to be near to his mill presumably. It was the first holding listed which if it was next to the mill, as one might expect, would imply the furlong was walked east to west.
The first five holdings were pasture, which would accommodate the odd shape around the mill if furlongs ran n-s rather than e-w as is implied by the walking direction. The remaining land was arable.

Furlong 2 – Three Man Thorn Wong – butt’ north upon the last
Expected area: 9.41a GIS area: 10.5a

Clearly this is south of furlong 1, so it was fitted in with the surrounding South Field furlongs. No tithe boundaries helped. Wong means enclosed meadow, so perhaps it was enclosed already, but it was arable. We have found no derivation for three man thorn.

Furlong 3 – Nether Woodgate
Expected area: 35.12a GIS area: 35.4a

There are no directional clues to the position of this furlong; however furlong 23 in South Field is named ‘Woodgate’ and our positioning of this puts Nether Woodgate adjacent to it, which seems logical. The field was walked from the north which would produce E-W holdings of about 225 yards by about 7 yards. There were two blocks of seven holdings and a few pairs. The furlong was entirely arable.

Furlong 4 - Butteth north upon Saltersick Fur’, So’ the Oxe Pasture and joining west to Little Welles Fur’
Expected area: 22.45a GIS area: 21.9a

Our placement of this furlong relies on the positions for furlongs 5 (‘Little Welles’) and 9 (‘Saltersick’). The southern protrusion takes account of a ridge and furrow map which shows a small field with ridge and furrow in the protruding area. This may be 14th century so we cannot place too much credence on the convenience – we did not use a similar piece of old ridge and furrow south of Nether Woodgate. The relative shapes and dispositions of furlongs 4 and 6 could be rearranged and still fit.
The first 10 holdings had about 500 square yards of meadow at one end – if at the south end these would be adjacent to the Ox Pasture. There was a large block of demesne land which was arable. The furlong was walked from the East and the shape we have chosen would support the 65 n-s holdings at between 100 and 200 yards long and averaging about 7 yards in width.

Furlong 5 – Little Welles
Expected area: 7.16a GIS area: 7.1a

This is a small furlong with only 32 holdings averaging about 1000 square yards. It was entirely arable. If the holdings were oriented n-s across the direction of walking they would have measured 130 yards by 6.5.

Furlong 6 – Saltersick - joining north to Cropwell Gate Furlong
Expected area: 13.73a GIS area: 13.6a

Orwin and Orwin refer to sikes as often being alongside a stream and were usually a narrow stretch of land providing an access route to several furlongs and used as meadow because the condition of the land renders it incapable of being ploughed. There is also a Scottish reference to saltersyke meaning ‘a small stream from a wet place’ (From ‘Gaelic Place Names of the Lothians’ By John Milne, LL.D.). The name Salersick may be a reference to sike. But Saltersick furlong was entirely arable, ruling out use as a meadow and accommodation route. However, the 1883 map shows a stream here and the modern map marks ‘issues’, so in placing Saltersick furlong here we have at least honoured the notion of it being alongside a stream. It was known to be on the eastern boundaries of furlongs 8 and 9. It is positioned by reference to furlong 4 (south) and our assumption that Cropwell Gate was the path to Cropwell shown here on the tithe map. The 42 holdings, if oriented n-s would have been about 130 yards by 6.

Furlong 7 – Cropwell Gate Furlong
Expected area: 22.6a GIS area: 22.7a

The name implies the furlong is adjacent to a road or pathway called Cropwell Gate. Although another candidate path exists to the north, the modern track offers a more direct and thus more likely line to Cropwell Butler and allows the spatial information for other furlongs to be better honoured. It does result in an irregular shape for this furlong, but similar shapes were found in East Bridgford. The outset piece in the NW could have contained a distinct arrangement of holdings. The 78 holdings were all arable and there was no demesne holding.

Furlong 8 - Butteth south upon Cropwell Gate, No’ upon the last, joining east to the last furlong and Saltenick Fur, West to Buske Furlong
Expected area: 10.5a GIS area: 10.0a

The complex set of spatial relationships for this furlong make the disposition of the adjacent furlongs complex and account for the irregular shape of furlong 7 which seems to have to join this furlong to its north and to its west. The join with Saltersick can only be accommodated by assuming this was corner to corner. In the centre of the furlong a single demesne holding has the notation ‘and a mere’. With holdings running n-s could this be an accommodation path alongside a holding leading to furlong 15? This is a strip of meadow in an otherwise arable furlong, which would facilitate its use as a path. Similar arrangements exist occasionally at East Bridgford.

Furlong 9 - Butteth North upon the last Ful’, joining west to Cropwell Meares and East to Saltrnick Furlonge
Expected area: 10.53a GIS area: 11.2a

It was not possible to meet all the location information without the furlong being extremely narrow. It also prevented meeting the spatial requirements of furlongs 16 and 17, which on our map stand between this furlong and Cropwell Mears (the parish boundary). On the other hand it is adjacent to Cropwell Gate, which could equally be Cropwell Mears if, as he was sometimes, the surveyor was inconsistent in his naming conventions.
All 43 holdings were arable; there was no demesne land.

Furlong 10 - joineth East to parcel of Nether Woodgate Fur’ and butteth south upon the North end of Cropwell Gate Fur’
Expected area: 17.04a GIS area: 17.1a

The map shows this where its spatial relationships are met. All 53 holdings were arable with two large groups of demesne land. Crossing the walking direction from the east, N-S holdings would be 338 yds by only 3.8 yards. E-W would be 205 x 6.3 but against the walking direction.

Furlong 11 - Butteth North upon Tootehill Furlong and joineth west to the east end of Buske Fur’. East to Three man thorn Wonge

Expected area: 31.27a GIS area: 33.6a
We have placed Toothill Furlong in the area still known as Toothill which then determines the location of Furlong 11 with respect to it and Three Man Thorn Wong. The second holding was meadowland and demesne held. The remainder were arable and of much greater area than the demesne meadow. N-s orientation would have given holdings of around 250 yards by 7 yards; the demesne meadow, 937 square yards, would have been less than 4 yards wide – perhaps it was used as an access road to furlongs to the south?

Furlong 12 – Toothill Furlong
Expected area: 35.5a GIS area: 39.0a

We have placed Toothill Furlong in the area still known as Toothill. It was entirely arable and quite likely adjacent to Toothill Gate, mentioned in the descriptions for North Field Furlongs 29 and 30. N-s holdings would have been around 220 yards at the eastern end and 300 at the west.

Furlong 13 – Buske Furlong
Expected area: 32.71a GIS area: 27a

Buske means bush(y) and each of Bingham’s open fields had a furlong of this name. Furlongs 11 and 14 were at its east end. Our assumptions for furlongs 15, 16 and 17 determine the shape of Buske on our map. It was walked from the east which would give n-s holdings of about 200 yards in length. The furlong was arable with two blocks of demesne lands. We have aligned the northern boundary with a presumed sinuous old boundary which reduces the GIS area but may better reflect the ‘real’ boundary.

Furlong 14 - Butteth West upon the last
Expected area: 8.2a GIS area: 9.0a

This was arable. We have it as a small furlong only 430 yards by 100, which would lead to some very long narrow n-s holdings (3.3 yards wide, which seems unlikely) or short broad (15 yds) e-w ones. The furlong was walked from the south but according to our map would have been narrow enough easily to count n-s holdings. Broad ones seem more likely.

Furlong 15 – Wylde Willoughes
Expected area: 50.1a GIS area: 45.07a

The name suggests a stand of willow trees would have been nearby, which would imply wet conditions and possibly a stream. Even today there is a large group of willows at the southern end of where we have placed this furlong. Equally plausible would be to switch it with Brackendale furlong (16) to the west which is alongside an old stream. This would spoil the sequential numbering of 13-17. There is no location information for either furlong. There were 118 holdings (612 strips) including three parcels of demesne land. Curiously there were four pieces of meadow; the whole of holding numbers 1(tenanted), 25 (demesne), 92 (8 demesne holdings) and 118 (tenanted). We have aligned the northern boundary with a presumed sinuous old boundary which reduces the GIS area but may better reflect the ‘real’ boundary

Furlong 16 – Brackendale
Expected area: 58.99a GIS area: 56.5a

It is assumed that Brackendale is an ancient name for the valley of the stream still extant today, albeit now culverted for much of its route. Thus we have associated Brackendale furlong with the stream, but it could perhaps be swapped with Wylde Willoughes and still remain within the general area called Brackendale today.
There are two holdings of meadow, one at the southern end (tenanted) (demesne) and one about two thirds of the distance south.

Furlong 17 – Cropwell Stye
Expected area: 34.52a GIS area: 33.7a

This is assumed to lie alongside the path (stye) which followed the parish boundary, hence Cropwell Stye (footpath). The ends of the first 37 holdings (walking started from the south) were meadow, presumably where they bordered the stream. It may have been wider and the ground flatter here near the confluence with the larger west–east stream and therefore more likely to be water meadow. Ox Pasture lay to the south as far as the confluence and the parish boundary. The stream bordering the northern two thirds would have been narrower, less likely to flood and therefore the ground might have been more suitable for ploughing.

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