Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Common Lands

As I have already mentioned the great part of the manor to the south was not considered suitable arable land in earlier centuries. The Greenleys area, the Ardwell Fields (from OE aeord - meaning rough), the Furzes and the Bushy Fields were given over to pasture for the cattle and pigs. After enclosure these fields were used for sheep grazing, which was highly profitable when wool was about the only substance used for textiles. 
While the open field system was still in operation this land would not have been enclosed and may have resembled a heath. 
The land enclosure took a number of years as the Longuevilles exercised their seigneurial prerogatives but it was certainly complete by 1654. At this time the Parson was given a plot of land just beyond the present cemetary, appropriately named "Parson's piece".

I wonder now if the development of Wolverton might not have been different if the original Engine Shed and houses had been built in Three Bush Field. The Railway Company would still have had access to the canal and Green Lane could have been improved as a good road from the Newport Road to Stony Stratford. What difference would this have made? Well, Wolverton could have been built on the less productive land and it is possible that the Radcliffe Trustees may have had less objection than they did have when Wolverton grew on its most productive land.
In 1837 however, no-one was thinking that far ahead.

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