Clent Hills, Worcestershire: an archaeological and historical survey

NGR: SO 930800

Volume 1: main historical text with appendices

by

Christopher K Currie

BA (Hons), MPhil, MIFM, MIFA

CKC Archaeology

Report to the Severn Region of the National Trust

October 1996

Contents

Summary history
Summary of management recommendations

  1. Introduction
  2. Historical background
  3. Methodology
    1. General
    2. Summary of methods
    3. Time expenditure
    4. Limitations of documentary research
    5. Limitations of the field survey
  4. The prehistoric landscape
  5. The Roman landscape
  6. The Saxon landscape
  7. The medieval landscape, 1066-1540
    1. Clent in the 11th century
    2. Clent in the High Middle Ages, 1100-1540
    3. Clent after the Black Death of 1349
    4. Clent's independent tenantry
    5. Medieval water-management in Clent
    6. 7Smithing and the beginnings of cottage industry in Clent
    7. Archaeological evidence for medieval Clent
    8. Place- and field-name evidence
    9. Clent, Kelmestowe and High Harcourt
  8. The Post-medieval landscape
    1. Later Tudor and Stuart Clent
    2. Local disputes in the later 16th and 17th centuries
    3. Place- and field-names in the later 16th and early 17th centuries
    4. Population growth c. 1540-1800
    5. Local trades c. 1540-1800
    6. The ornamentation of Clent Hill in the later 18th century
    7. Clent Common and tourism
    8. The Regulation of Clent Common, 1881
    9. Clent Common under the Conservators, 1881-1959
    10. The changing landscape of Clent Hills from 1800
    11. The end of commoning and other local traditions
  9. Summary of historic land management and ecology
    1. Arable
    2. Pasture
    3. Meadow
    4. Woodland
    5. Other land uses
  10. Recommendations for general management, further survey and research
    1. Management recommendations
      1. The integrity of the estate
      2. Trees
      3. Hedgerows
      4. Trackways
      5. Motorised vehicles
      6. Staff awareness
      7. Farming practices
      8. Forestry practices
      9. Historic buildings
    2. Further survey
      1. Historic buildings
      2. Ground disturbance
      3. Arable farming
      4. The estate woodlands
    3. 10.3 Further research
      1. urther searches for previously unrecorded medieval and early post-medieval documents
      2. Further research on pictorial evidence for Clent
      3. Newspaper articles
      4. Oral history
  11. Archive
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
    1. Original sources
    2. Original sources in print
    3. Secondary sources
    4. Other sources

Appendices

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Summary history

This report was commissioned by the Severn Region of the National Trust. The work was carried out between April 1996 and July 1996 by C K Currie for CKC Archaeology (Gardens Archaeology Project), using guidelines laid down by the Archaeological Advisers to the Trust based at Cirencester.

The present National Trust estate (centred on SO 935800) comprises about 179 hectares (443 acres) and is composed of Clent Hill and Walton Hill Commons and the farmland in between centred on High Harcourt Farm. It is presently situated near the northern edge of the county of Worcester, an area of considerable natural beauty within a few miles south-west of the large urban conurbation of the West Midlands centred on Birmingham. For the most part the land is over 200m AOD, rising to 309m on Clent Hill and 316m on Walton Hill, and providing spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

For most of its known history this land was common pasture. There is some tentative evidence of human activity on the hills dating back to Mesolithic period c. 6000 BC. In the Late Saxon/Early Norman period most of the estate appears to have been covered by a large area of woodland pasture called Clent Wood. This was gradually assarted on its lower slopes. It is possible that the present farmland was cut out of former common following the foundation of Halesowen Abbey in 1215.

Clent manor itself appears to have been a royal site in the Saxon period, possibly a villa regalis. It was reputedly the site of the murder of the Mercian royal saint, St. Kenelm, c. 821. It was the centre of the hundred of Clent in the early 11th century, but an administrative technicality led to it being transferred to the county of Staffordshire after 1016. It remained here as a detached parish until it was returned to the county of Worcester in the 19th century.

Local tradition, and the presence of numerous abandoned hedgebanks, seems to suggest that parts of Clent Hill were temporarily cultivated before the Black Death in 1349. About 1400 the villagers seem to have applied to the lord of the manor for a grant to reincorporate the more marginal of these lands into the common, following their abandonment after c. 1350. The boundaries of the upland commons remained largely stable from this period, except for about 80 acres at the southern end of Walton Hill that was enclosed c. 1672.

From the mid-18th century the position of Clent Hill as a scenic backdrop to the much-praised landscape of Hagley Park led to it becoming a tourist attraction. This was intensified following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, when the victory celebrations were turned into an annual Wake on the hill. This attracted the growing industrial proletariat of Birmingham and the surrounding neighbourhood. The influx of tourism led to much disorder on the hills. Booths and other tourist attractions were set up informally, and the rural economy was much disrupted by this unregulated activity. This was brought to a head when a young man was killed following a disturbance at a shooting gallery near Adams Hill, the centre of the tourist activity.

In 1881 an Act of Parliament gave the local authorities the right to regulate the common and pass bye-laws to prevent the worst abuses of tourism. A body known as the Conservators ran Clent Hill Common from this date, although their authority did not stretch to Walton Hill, where traditional common land uses continued well into the present century relatively undisturbed. In 1959 the Conservators, having experience financial difficulties, handed Clent Hill Common, together with Walton Common, over to the National Trust. It was then managed as a country park in conjunction with the local County Council. In 1995 it was handed back to the sole management of the National Trust.

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Summary of management recommendations

For further details of these recommendations please refer to Section 10 of this report.

A. General recommendations for the management of the historic landscape at Clent:

  1. Management should try to ensure that the integrity of the estate as a whole is preserved.
  2. Historic recognition of trees should be extended to include all historic trees, including those outside designed areas.
  3. Historic hedgerows and other boundaries should be respected.
  4. Historic trackways should be respected.
  5. The use of non-essential motorised vehicles on the estate should be restricted.
  6. All staff should be made aware of the need to report incidents likely to have an impact on the historic aspects of the landscape.
  7. Farming practices should be monitored for impact on archaeological sites.
  8. Forestry practices should be monitored for archaeological impact.
  9. The integrity of the historic buildings on the estate at High Harcourt Farm should be respected. Recommendations for future management are given in section 10.1.9 of this report.
  10. The management should be aware that although there are numerically more archaeological sites on Clent Hill, Walton Hill is the less damaged landscape. Consideration needs to be given to methods that ease visitor pressure on areas where the best examples of the relict common grassland survive.

B. Recommendations for further survey work:

  1. A monitoring programme of the evidence revealed by ploughing.
  2. A continuing monitoring programme for the estate woodlands.
  3. Detailed recording of historic buildings before any structural alterations.
  4. Recording of ground disturbances around the estate where appropriate.

C. Recommendations for further documentary and other historical research:

  1. Further searches for previously unrecorded medieval and early post-medieval documents, with special reference to the surviving Court Rolls for Clent.
  2. Further research on pictorial evidence for Clent.
  3. Research into newspaper articles.
  4. Research on oral history.

Clent Hills, Worcestershire: an archaeological and historical survey

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1.0 Introduction

The Clent Hills are just to the south of Stourbridge near the south-west edge of Birmingham centred on NGR SO 930800. From March 1974 until March 1995 they were managed by Hereford and Worcester County Council as a Country Park. The National Trust land, which covers over 179 hectares (443 acres), was recently taken back in hand.

The hills extend to over 300m in height, and are covered in scrub woodland and heathy grassland. They afford excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Their proximity to Birmingham has meant that they have long been resorted to as a place of scenic beauty. Day trips to Clent by the general public have been popular since the 19th century.

This report was commissioned by the Severn Region of the National Trust. The work was carried out between April 1996 and July 1996 by C K Currie for CKC Archaeology (Gardens Archaeology Project).

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2.0 Historical background

The Clent Hills property falls within the historic manor and parish of Clent. This has had a complex tenurial background that is much confused by administrative errors made in historical times. This resulted in confusion over the county to which Clent was attached. Although it has always been situated in the north of the county of Worcester, for most of its existence it has been considered a detached part of Staffordshire. It is hoped that this short chapter will clarify how this situation arose.

According to tradition the kings of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia had a residence at Clent (Willis-Bund 1913, 50). It may have been as a result of this local pre-eminence that the hundred of Clent took its name from this place. According to the chronicler, Heming of Worcester, Clent, with Tardebigge and Kingswinford, were purchased from King Ethelred for the use of the monastery of Worcester (ibid, 51).

This occurred at a time of great unrest, England being beset by the invading Danish army of Swein and his son, Canute. Ethelred died at the height of this conflict, leaving the war to be continued by his more effective son, Edmund. Before Edmund's intervention, the Danes seem to have achieved the upper hand, but Saxon fortunes revived, resulting in a division of the kingdom between the opposing parties in 1016. Shortly after this Edmund died, and Canute succeeded to the throne of the entire kingdom. During the confusion, Aevic, the sheriff of Staffordshire, seized the above lands from the monastery, probably for the use of the king. The chronicles claim that this was because, at the time, 'no one would do justice to the Holy Church'.

Clent remained a royal manor at the time of the Domesday Survey. It was listed as part of Clent hundred in Worcestershire, but the revenue of the manor (?4) was paid 'in Kingswinford in Staffordshire' (Thorn & Thorn 1982, 1.6). It is considered that it was because the revenue was 'farmed' to the sheriff of Staffordshire that the manor of Clent was subsequently transferred to Staffordshire, despite being, in all other respects, in Worcestershire. It seems to have remained a part of Staffordshire until the Reform Act of 1832, when it was transferred back to Worcestershire for parliamentary purposes. The remaining administrative functions were transferred in 1844 (Willis Bund 1913, 4).

The manor of Clent remained in royal hands until 1204 when King John granted it to Ralph de Somery of Dudley Castle, for a rent of ?4-13-4d to be paid to the sheriff of Staffordshire (ibid, 51). The Somerys held Clent until 1322, when the manor passed through the female line to Thomas de Botetourt, husband of Joan de Somery, who had inherited the property from her brother, John de Somery, on his death (Amphlett 1907, 33). During their ownership, the Somerys obtained a grant of a fair at Clent in 1253, to be held over four days from 16th to 19th July to celebrated the death of St. Kenelm, the Saxon martyr purported to have died in the manor. The Somerys also obtained the right to free warren in the manor (PR 1247-58, 253).

The Botetourts held the manor for some years, when the property again passed on in the female line. During their time John Botetourt granted the advowson of the church to the nearby Premonstratensian abbey of Halesowen in 1340 (PR 1338-40, 443). When John died in 1385 he left his estates to his son Thomas, who died leaving his Clent estate to a daughter, Joyce, who had married Hugh, Lord Burnell (Amphlett 1907, 49). About 1431 Joyce's inheritance was divided between Lady Beauchamp and Maurice Berkley, the Clent portion passing to Lady Beauchamp (Willis-Bund 1913, 51). She passed it on to her grandson, James Butler, who was created Earl of Wiltshire in 1449.

Wiltshire's estates were confiscated following his attainder in 1461, and passed back into the hands of the new Yorkist king, Edward IV. In the following year the king granted the manor to a Yorkist supporter, Fulk Stafford. The estate continued to pass through a number of hands until 1485 when it came back into the hands of the king, Henry VII, following the treason of its holder, Humphrey Stafford. The Earl of Wiltshire's attainder was later reversed in favour of his brother, Thomas, Earl of Ormonde, and as a result Clent was granted to him (ibid). The earl's eldest daughter married Sir James St. Leger, and inherited Clent in 1515. In 1565 the St. Leger family sold the manor to Sir John Lyttelton.

The Lyttelton family owned nearby Hagley Hall, and continued to hold their Worcestershire estates, including Clent, into the present century. They briefly lost them in 1601 when John Lyttelton II was found guilty of treason, and subsequently died in prison. His widow, Muriel, appealed to the Crown, and had the lands restored in 1603 (op. cit., 134). Hagley became much admired in the later 18th century, largely for its park and fine view of the Clent Hills.

The rent from Clent that was owed to the king at the time of the Somery lordship was granted to Hugh de Wrottesley for life in 1351, but reverted to the Crown on his death in 1381 (Amphlett 1907, 48; Willis-Bund 1913, 51). It remained with the Crown until 1670 when it appears to have been sold to the Pagets of Beaudesert, later the earls of Uxbridge. When Henry Paget, the second earl died childless in 1769, the rents were left to his kinsman, Sir William Irby, Lord Boston. Towards the end of the 19th century they were purchased from the then Lord Boston by Lord Lyttelton.

The rectory of Clent was held with the advowson of the church by Halesowen Abbey since 1340. A Halesowen rental of 1500 gives the rectory as worth ?5-10s, with certain property and rents attached to it. These are given as a pool, a croft of land and rents worth ?1-12s to be held by the vicar with the permission of the abbot (Amphlett 1907, 68). At the Dissolution, these lands were granted by the Crown to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland. Soon after they seem to have become considered a manor in their own right, and were known as Church Clent to distinguish it from the main manor of Clent. The old manor claimed precedent over Church Clent, claiming the best beast in heriot if a person held lands in both manors (ibid, 85-86).

Following the execution of John Dudley, following his part in the attempt to displace Mary Tudor as Queen with Lady Jane Grey, Church Clent reverted to the Crown. It was sold in 1633 by Charles I, with a tenement called Calcot Hill, to William Scrivener and Philip Eden. They sold it to a Mr Norrice, from whom it was purchased in 1660 by John Underhill, the tenant of Calcot Hill House. After this the manor was divided into three by inheritance. The manor was described c. 1782 as comprising no more than three cottages and four farm houses. In 1799 a third share was purchased by John Hollington, whose descendant William Hollington, reunited it with the other two thirds about 1878. In 1893 Hollington sold the estate to Thomas Jarvis Hodgetts for ?4200. The extent at this time was given as the Calcot Hill estate of 198 acres, and other lands in the parish, much of which was glebe (Willis-Bund 1913, 52).

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3.0 Methodology

3.1 General

This report has been written based largely on the format suggested by English Heritage in The management of archaeological projects (London, 1992, revised edition). The ordering of information follows the guidelines given in this document, although alterations may have been made to fit in with the particular requirements of the work. This report also pays attention to the Institute of Field Archaeologists' Standard and guidance for archaeological desk-based assessments (Birmingham, 1993).

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3.2 Summary of methods

The methodology followed was laid down in the Project Brief. This is summarised below.

  1. An appraisal of the documentary history of the estate.

    This will be based on the original estate papers and other relevant primary source collections in the Hereford and Worcester Record Office and elsewhere, but also included any other records pertaining to the estate area. Documents used included Saxon charters, royal medieval records (Domesday Book, Close and Patent Rolls, Inquisitions Post Mortem etc. in the Public Record Office), wills, contemporary published accounts, and cartographic sources (early OS maps, Tithe and Enclosure Maps, Parish Maps etc.). Reference was also made to all known published sources on the history and archaeology of the area.

    This was supported by research on the records held by the County Planning Department. This included the Hereford and Worcester County Council Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), listed buildings, scheduled monuments, aerial photographs and any other sources in their possession. Where additional information was available, the National Monuments Record was consulted for similar sources.

  2. An interpretation of the documentary sources.
  3. A survey of the landscape that included looking at land use types, past and present, and how this has evolved; woodland types; hedgerows; boundaries and trackways; and traces of water-management. This included a number of walk-overs of the estate to familiarise the surveyor with the topography and the more observable archaeological features.

    Where possible ploughed fields were subjected to a field scan. This did not include formalised field-walking, merely a walk-over of fields to note the in situ occurrence and date of any human debris that may be present as a surface scatter. Collection was not undertaken, but presence of artefacts was recorded to six grid points where possible.

  4. The production of a full SMR for the estate. This included all identifiable earthworks, crop or soil marks, and any other known archaeological remains. The information was written according to the format recommended by the National Trust, and entered onto the central archaeological database at Cirencester.
  5. Although a full analysis of buildings is not covered by this survey, it has made an outline assessment of any historic buildings on the estate, such as garden structures, cottages, barns etc.
  6. The survey identifies areas of archaeological sensitivity wherever possible.
  7. A photographic record was made of the estate and its historic/archaeological features and landscapes, where this is considered appropriate. This is incorporated into the SMR.
  8. Management recommendations have been made to ensure the sensitive treatment of historic/archaeological features and landscapes within the estate, where this is considered appropriate.
  9. Maps, at appropriate scales, have been provided to identify archaeological and historical features etc. These indicate major landscape changes of the period.
  10. The survey has included provisional interpretation of some tree plantings, and any other historical plantings or matters pertaining to the historical ecology on the estate where this was considered appropriate.

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3.3 Time expenditure

The project was carried out between April 1st 1996 and July 1996. The greater part of the documentary and field work was carried out between 1st April 1996 and 30th June 1996. The writing up of the report was carried out intermittently between April 1996 and 1st July 1996, when a provisional draft was presented. Further fieldwork and research was carried out as part of the editing process since July 1996.

It is estimated that the total time spent on the project was about 50 man days of eight hours each. 40% was devoted to documentary research and project liaison, 20% was devoted to fieldwork, and 40% to drawing, writing up and editing.

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3.4 Limitations of documentary research:

Recommendations for further work are given in section 10.3.

Although most of the primary sources relating to the estate were looked at, some more general documents relating to the history of the parish were too large to undertake more than a selected search. In particular, the Clent Court Rolls were only looked at selectively for references to the estate.

This research only did little research on newspaper articles and oral sources, as it was considered that this was unlikely to reveal any substantial amount of data relating to the project brief.

The air photographs at the National Monuments Record were examined. All those found in the NMR were entered into the National Trust SMR database, although some of the later photographs may have been entered as groups defined by date, rather than individually.

As far as the photographic collections of Clent were concerned, these were found to be widely scattered in local libraries and other sources. The author went through a limited proportion of them selecting those that showed either landscape views or pictures of specific archaeological sites and historic buildings. Of the photographs seen, those that fell within these criteria were incorporated into the Sites and Monuments database at Cirencester.

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3.5 Limitations of the field survey

Recommendations for further work are given in section 10.2.

During the period of the survey, only the fields ploughed at that time were examined. Other fields may have subsequently been ploughed, or are proposed for ploughing. To obtain a fuller coverage of areas that are ploughed, it would be necessary to monitor the fields over a number of years.

The woodlands on the estate are extensive, and so heavily overgrown in places, that sites may have been missed. Many of the sites that might exist here may only be discovered by chance.

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4.0 The Prehistoric landscape

It is difficult to imagine that prehistoric peoples did not visit Clent, but, unfortunately, firm evidence of their permanent presence is presently lacking. In some ways this might be considered surprising, as Clent Hills seems to have been seen as an area of prehistoric activity in the 18th century, when it is thought the mock 'Druidical' monument, the Four Stones, was erected. Although recognising that the Four Stones is a folly, Timmings, writing in 1836, felt that the hills were an area that would reward antiquarian study.

'The Antiquary, who feels a pleasure in examining the works of ages past, may here find subjects for contemplation' (Timmings 1836, 28).

There are further 'earthworks' near the summit of Clent Hill that have been taken by antiquarians as prehistoric. These include tree-covered 'mounds' on the ridge of the hill. Pagett (1996, 6) has drawn attention to these features, and says 'They could be man-made Neolithic or Bronze [Age] burials, but this is not proven'. He then goes on to mention the deliberate faking of prehistoric monuments as part of the decoration of nearby Hagley Park, and suggests that the mounds may be of this period. Certainly the placing of tree clumps on mounds as part of landscape design was well known in the later 18th and early 19th centuries.

The County Sites and Monuments Record (hereafter SMR) lists three sites of prehistoric date. They comprise of three flint find spots. The first two were chance finds made by the Birmingham University Geology Department on Clent Hill (NT SMR no. 73011), and Walton Hill (NT SMR no. 73014). The latter was a small surface scatter of Late Mesolithic date. The third was the discovery of a flint blade, also of possible Mesolithic date, found on a footpath leading from Walton Pool up onto Walton Hill (NT SMR no. 73012). Considering how common such flint finds can be in most parts of England, they tell us very little about the prehistoric landscape of Clent beyond the fact that man must have visited it in these times.

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5.0 The Roman landscape

There has been little genuine material found from the Roman period at Clent. However, antiquarian myths abound. Timmings (1836, 79-85) gives a long description about a battle fought between the Romans and the British across the Clent Hills, and in the valleys below. He even attributes earthworks on the hills to entrenchments built by the opposing parties as part of this event. That the traditional date of this battle is given variously as AD 416 or 418 throws considerable doubt on it ever having taken place. Amphlett (1907, 2-3) gives the battle very little credence, probably because he was aware that there is no evidence to support Roman military activity in the Midlands after AD 410.

It is possible that the tradition may remember a genuine battle, but the so-called entrenchments on the hills can be accorded much more mundane origins. These are probably no more than boundary banks and old trackways. The reputed cross dyke on Walton Hill, traditionally ascribed to being of British origin (Timmings 1836, 85), can be shown to link up with old trackways meeting up near Moab's Wash Pot. Although it is possible that later tracks may have reused this feature, there is no serious evidence to link it with a battle. Any battle fought between Britons and Romans at Clent would have been more likely to have taken place in the 1st century AD, following the Roman invasion in AD 43, rather than in the 5th century.

Perhaps the only genuine Romano-British find made near the study area is the reputed hoard of gold and silver coins found by labourers near the mill that existed on the site of the Vine Inn in 1792 (HWCC SMR no. 08326). Little is known about the precise date of this reputed find, that was made just outside the present National Trust boundaries.

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6.0 The Saxon landscape

Most of that known about Clent in Saxon times is mainly conjecture taken from place-names and local tradition. The most famous of the latter is the legend of the martyrdom of St. Kenelm. Although this story is clearly hagiography, there is a certain amount of conjecture about Clent that can be extracted from it.

According to the legend, Kenelm was the son of King Kenulph of Mercia, who had died in 821 leaving the kingdom to his son, who was only eight years old. He was clearly vulnerable to the worst excesses of power politics of the time. His elder sister, Quendreda, saw an opportunity to seize power. She persuaded his guardian, Ascobert, to have him murdered in return for ruling alongside her. Kenelm was staying at a royal residence at Clent at the time, and was taken out on the pretence of hunting. The boy was then murdered and buried under a tree.

The murderers were thwarted when a white dove appeared at Rome with a scroll indicating the murdered boy's whereabouts. The pope sent messengers to seek out the body, and they were led to the spot by the lowing of a cow. The body was then translated to Winchcombe Abbey, a foundation of King Kenulph, and a series of miracles were attributed to the remains. The first of these was the appearance of a spring at the spot where the body was found (Amphlett 1907, 7-8).

The story has many similarities to the murder of Edward the Martyr by Ethelred the Unready in 978, and may be a stock hagiographic story. Nevertheless, that part of the story that claims a royal residence existed at Clent may have some origin in fact. At the time of Domesday Clent is still a royal manor from which a hundred then took its name. It is very common for Saxon royal hundreds to be centred on villa regalis or royal residences. These vills are of varying importance. Some, like Hamwih in Hampshire, and Calne in Wiltshire, seem to have spawned important settlements. The former was a substantial Middle Saxon port, whilst the latter hosted a prominent conference in the time of Archbishop Dunstan in the later 10th century. Many became the site of minster, or mother, churches from which the later parochial system sprang.

There is no evidence that Clent was a particularly important vill after the Norman Conquest, but the legend offers a suggestion for its earlier status. That a hunting expedition is given as the excuse for taking Kenelm to the spot of his murder suggests that the 'residence' may have been a royal hunting lodge. The upland nature of the Clent Hills, and the late survival of large areas of hilly common pasture not far distant from more fertile lowlands, would have made it a suitable area for such activity.

Is there any justification for thinking that Clent was a minster or 'mother' church in the Saxon period? Again the evidence is conjectural, but there does seem to have been some primacy given to Clent church in the area. The neighbouring church at Broom was probably once a chapelry of Clent. In the 12th century it seems to have broken away from its parent when it was granted to Maurice de Ombersley. It is mentioned in a dispute in 1203 with the nuns of Brewood, who claimed it. Rowley, despite its distance from Clent, remained a chapelry of the latter until 1835 (Amphlett 1907, 16).

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7.0 The Medieval landscape, 1066-1540

7.1 Clent in the late 11th century

Documents describing the medieval landscape of Clent are not as common as one would have liked. As with the Saxon period much of our evidence must be taken from indirect later sources or place- and field-names.

The earliest post-Conquest document for the area is the Domesday Book of 1086. Even this entry is much shorter than one would normally expect. The entry states that Clent is in Clent hundred, and is held by King William. King Edward held it before him. It is assessed at nine hides, not an unreasonable assessment suggesting an estate of some importance. The demesne lands of the king had one and a half ploughs, whilst there were twelve villagers and three smallholders with nine and a half ploughs and three ploughmen. There was woodland covering two leagues (six miles). The revenue of the manor, worth ?4, was paid in Kingswinford in Staffordshire (Thorn & Thorn 1982, 1.6).

What does this tell us about Clent? According to a recent article by Higham (1990) an excess of ploughs over ploughlands indicates that the area described tends to be one of dispersed, rather than nucleated, settlement. Unfortunately the ploughlands at Clent are not given, but the eleven ploughs given seem to be a high number for the recorded population. Although this can not be stated with certainty, it seems that the late 11th century settlement of Clent had eleven ploughs between eighteen households. This excess might be tentatively taken to suggest a predominance of dispersed settlement in 1086. This does tie in quite well with what we know of later medieval and post-medieval Clent.

The two leagues of woodland also gives clues to the existence of a large area of marginal land, probably then used for woodland pasture as much as woodland in the present sense. This was probably equivalent to the large areas of upland common that still survives today in the parish. Rackham (1986, 121) has noted that much of the 'woodland' recorded in England in the Norman period was really wood-pasture, a mixed land use of grazing and trees. This gradually changed into more open country as the grazing animals prevented young trees from maturing and regenerating the wooded parts.

Quite how much 'woodland' existed in Clent at Domesday is uncertain. Pagett (1996, 3-4) suggests that this figure represents a circumference. Considering no better suggestions are forthcoming, this appraisal is probably correct, although an alternative of two leagues square might be another possibility. Pagett has suggested that the league is equivalent to 1.5 miles, which is an estimate erring on the low side. Richardson (1974, 11) says that the league is generally three miles (15,840 feet), but there are local variations between 7,500 and 10,000 feet.

If we take Pagett's calculations based on the 1.5 mile league, a two league circumference gives an area of 185 hectares (458 acres) for a circle, or about 170 hectares (420 acres) for an oval. If the more general three mile league is allowed the figure will roughly double. Either figure, or a figure somewhere in between, suggests that there may have been substantial areas of woodland or woodland pasture in the manor in 1086. Not only does this correlate with the hypothesis that Saxon Clent may have contained a royal hunting lodge, but it also relates fairly well to the amount of upland area that survives today as scrub woodland and rough grazing.

The present National Trust estate is over 443 acres in extent. Bearing in mind that it does not include all the upland area, those parts in the north-east corner of the parish (about 100 acres) being excluded, as well as the former common on Calcot Hill. This latter area may have included 200 acres at its maximum extent. Of these, 80 acres are known to have been enclosed c. 1672 (Amphlett 1907, 144). This suggests that at one time there may have been over 700 acres of upland grazing and woodland in the manor at one time, a figure that would not be too far removed from the two leagues of woodland given in 1086.

Despite the sparse Domesday entry for the manor, this record gives tenuous hints about Clent in 1086. It suggests that there are large extents of unenclosed lands in the manor, and that the high number of ploughs in relation to the number of households could suggest a dispersed settlement pattern. Neither conclusions are fully justified on their own, but as they match our knowledge of later medieval and post-medieval Clent, it might be argued that there is some semblance of truth in these hypotheses.

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7.2 Clent in the High Middle Ages, 1100-1349

There are occasional glimpses of medieval life in Clent after 1086. Royal records continue to list the manor among the king's possessions in the 12th century (Pipe Rolls 15 Henry II, 71; 19 Henry II, 61; 23 Henry II, 26), but the earliest reference to the landscape occurs in 1203. Here Herbert, the Rector of Clent church claimed three virgates of land at 'Hulle' that were disputed with Thomas de Esley. This dispute was quite protracted, and was not finally resolved until 1227 in favour of Thomas' descendent, John de Esley (Amphlett 1907, 19-20). The name 'Hulle' probably means hill, the reference to virgates of 'land' indicating that somewhere on or near part of the hilly district of Clent, there was arable land.

In general the arable land of Clent could be found on the lower lands to the west of the National Trust estate. The common fields seem to have been of an irregular type rather than the more typical Midland three field system. The open field areas included names such as Ryfolds, Horsalls, Windens and Crossfields. Amphlett (1907, 54-55), recalls how the strips were divided by stone markers until 'recent memory', and how the fields 'below Thicknall' were enclosed only one hundred years ago, as could be seen from the perfect straight lines of the hedges there.

Amphlett (ibid) goes on to suggest that the oldest enclosures in the manor are those defined by irregular hedges. The more recent ones are those enclosed by straight lines. He goes on to say that these irregular enclosures are commonest on the hilly areas. This is largely true, but it could be taken from this that the hilly districts were the areas of oldest settlement. It is unlikely that this is correct. The open fields are more likely to be amongst the earlier areas to be settled and farmed in the Saxon and early medieval period. The irregular fields on the hills have the appearance of assarted lands encroaching onto what was once a much larger area of common pasture. Although the open fields were not enclosed until much later than these assarts were created, thus making the assarts the older 'enclosures', the way this has been expressed could be seen to suggest the hill enclosures are an area of older settlement, which may not be the case.

There is very little record of this enclosure. Many traditional histories ascribe the 13th century as the period when assarting was at its height. This is largely because the 13th century is the earliest historical period to be recorded in any detail in documents. Work by this author in Southern England, including other National Trust estates, has argued that where records survive for the 12th century and earlier, it can often be found that much assarting had already taken place before 1200. Very often, the assarting that is recorded in the 13th century in the areas studied by this author may have been on a relatively small scale compared with that before 1200 (Currie 1990, 1995, 1996, forthcoming a). It is worth considering that encroachment on to the hills may have begun well before 1200 at Clent. However, there is some tenuous evidence to suggest that assarting on a reasonable scale was still continuing on the eastern part of the common in the 13th century (see Section 7.9).

On the death of Roger de Somery in 1273 an Inquisition Post Mortem recorded details of his lands. It states that he held a chief messuage and garden worth 2/-. The demesne comprised two virgates comprising 16 acres, worth 8d an acre. Each acre could be sown with a quarter of barley and two quarters of oats. There was meadow worth 4/-, and pasture on the moors of '...alemoor and Hodehull' worth 3/-. The rent of assize on the land was worth ?6-17-9 1/2d, with other services and fines being worth another 20/-, making a total value of ?8-15-5 1/2d. The advowson of the church was worth an additional ?7-13-4d (Grazebrook 1888, 25). The HMSO transcription of this IPM adds the additional information that the pasture at '...alemoor' can be transcribed as 'Halenmor' (IPM, Edward I, volume I, 14).

There is little to extract from this brief extent other than to question whether the two virgates comprise 16 acres, or if each virgate comprises 16 acres. If the former it makes the Clent virgate eight acres, which is very low. The latter is more plausible. The virgate is most commonly 30 acres, although it is known to vary with locality from 15 to 60 acres (Richardson 1974, 12). In Surrey subdivided virgates can be shown to have created land units still referred to as 'virgates' that could be as small as ten acres (Blair 1991, 72). One gets the impression, both from the Domesday entry, and from this extent that the lord's presence in Clent was slight. The demesne was very small in 1273, and one wonders if it was ever worth farming direct. It is possible that even at the height of demesne farming the Clent demesne was farmed out to the lord's steward. It also tentatively suggests that land holdings in Clent in the late 13th century had been much subdivided, probably as a result of population pressure on the use of the available land.

The alternative is that the common pastures were so extensive that the demesne farm here concentrated on stock-keeping rather than arable farming. The extent mentions pasture on the moors of Hodehull and Holenmor, but the value of 3/- for the former does not suggest that the lord's rights were particularly valuable. On average, medieval pasture was seldom worth less than 6d per acre, with meadow being 12d per acre and sometimes up to three times more. It seems that the 1273 extent mentions the demesne rights only, and ignores the much larger areas farmed by the ordinary villagers.

The jury of Clent men called together for the 1273 inquisition gives some indication of the area from the surnames. William de Walton is listed, suggesting that the hamlet of Walton beneath Walton Hill may have been an established settlement at this time. Other names with possible topographic surnames include Henry in the Wyke, Robert de Fonte, Richard in the Hull, and Hugh de Monte (Amphlett 1907, 29). The 'wyke' name suggests a possible dairy farm, 'de Fonte' probably means 'of the spring', and the surnames 'Hulle' and 'Monte' both suggest hills. There are springs aplenty near Clent, and the hills themselves are probably represented in these names, together with hints of stock pasturing on them. It is notable that amongst the jurors was a Richard Sparry, a family name that could still be found in Clent in the later 17th century.

In 1304 an inquisition into the holdings of William de Nonchurch, hanged for murder, states that he held a messuage and four acres from Gilbert de Chaucombe, the rector of Clent (Cal. Inq. Misc. vol. I, no. 1980). Although this reference seems generally uninformative about landscape development in Clent, it demonstrates that the rector then held rented land. It is possible that when the sub-manor of Church Clent emerges into history in the 16th century, one can look back to this reference for possible indications of its origins.

The Lay Subsidy of 1327 values Clent and Broome at ?2-6-11 1/4d, not a particularly high sum. Rowley, a chapelry of Clent, was assessed at ?2-5-1d on its own. Other nearby manors such as Wolverhampton (?3-6-3d), Kingswinford (?4-2-0d), and Kinver (?5-4-0d) are assessed at progressively higher figures. A list of taxpayers includes 25 named persons paying from 6 1/4d to 3/6d. No one in the manor stands out as being particularly wealthy, which is not uncommon where the lord is an absentee landlord.

The names and their assessments are given as:

Thomas de Kelmestowe2/6d
John Skyrry1/-
Symon Rondulf6 1/4d
Thomas Cholynes1/6d
Richard Sparry1/-
Richard Othettul2/-
Roger Jurdan2/6d
Richard FitzRichard3/6d
John le Cok1/-
Nicholas Hawoten2/6d
John Prat3/-
Henry de Warfeld2/6d
William de Spelstowe1/-
Nigell de Brome8d
Richard Prat3/-
Richard atte Hall2/6d
Nicholas atte Siche2/-
Richard Rondulf1/6d
William de Thukenol1/-
Henry in the Wyle9d
William the Oldreve1/-
John Savyn3/-
John le Well3/-
William de Forbrigge2/6d
Walter Deneys1/6d

The are a number of surnames here that occur frequently over the centuries in Clent: Sparry, Siche, Prat, Cook, and Savyn to give a selection. Other names suggest how their owners were employed, or where they may have lived. Oldreve (old reeve) is the most obvious, but others include de Kelmestowe, Othettul, Warfeld, atte Hall, and le Well.

In the Subsidy for 1332, there are 17 taxpayers listed, but only ten of them occur in the 1327 list. The seven new names, with their assessments, are Adam Byngham (1/6d), Richard the Tailor (4/6d), Alexander de Spelstowe (1/3d), Richard de Caldecote (8/-), Henry Hoges (4/6d), Richard Othehull (2/-) and John the Smyth (2/-) (Wrottesley 1889, 86). It might be assumed from the closeness in value of the assessments in 1327 and 1332 that the lands of Alexander de Spelstowe and Richard Othehull were the same as those of William de Spelstowe and Richard Othettul respectively.

In 1329 John de Botetourt purchased six acres of land in Cowbach in Clent from Edmund de Hagley. This transaction also included the advowson and manor of Hagley. Henry de Hagley recovered these lands in 1373, but the name field name Cowbach survived in Clent until recent times.

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7.3 Clent after the Black Death of 1349

The Black Death of 1349 and the subsequent economic disruptions of the later 14th and 15th centuries may have had a consequence for land use in Clent. Amphlett (1907, 55) considers that there was some evidence of the retreat of enclosure probably dating from the later medieval period to be found in old field banks surviving in the hilly areas of the manor. Certainly the initial visitation of the plague seems to have caused at least temporary damage to the manor. In 1355 it was recorded that the lord's profit from the manor had been reduced from ?4 a year to 30/- 'by reason of the pestilence' (ibid, 47-48).

Around 1400 Lord Burnell granted Richard Hull, John Sanyn, Richard Sparry of Walton and the other customary tenants of the manor all the waste ground of the manor. This is stated to be 'so that the aforesaid waste may be in common among the tenants, may be in no way enclosed, and may be held and enjoyed by them and their heirs for ever' (op. cit., 56). Nash (1781, xv) refers to the original text of this important document as being in the hands of 'Mr Dolman of Harborow'. It can not now be found, so it may be worth quoting the relevant part of the original as given by Nash,

'communibus tenentibus suis de manerio de Clent ...ita quod predictum vastum sit in communi inter tenentes, et nullo modo claudetur, et habeant et gaudeant sibi et hered suis in perpetuum.'

It is probable that the tenants held these common rights from time immemorial, as they did in most manors in England. What is perhaps less common here is that they had a deed laying down the specific right. One might assume that there must have been a reason for the lord to make such a specific grant, but it is not known what this was. It is possible that someone had tried to dispute this right in such a way that the legal position needed defining. According to his manuscript notes, Amphlett also considered that this document had an obscure meaning. He thought that the deed was to acknowledge the right of common over assarted lands that had been cultivated before the Black Death, but had now reverted permanently to common (HWRO BA 4600/659, ref. 705:550).

There would seem to have been much common in Clent, even at this time, with extensive tracts of land covering many hundreds of acres on Clent Hill, Walton Hill and Calcot Hill. How far this had shrunk before 1349, and how much it had grown again thereafter can only be guessed at. The extent of old field boundaries on the hills might suggest the difference may have been relatively large. Even so, the remaining common would still have been considerable. It may have been a response to the memory of how much had been lost before 1349, that the tenants required the post-1349 status quo to be recognised in law.

An apparently incomplete rental of the manor survives for 1369. This shows that the rents of the various lands in the manor are paid for partly in provisions, and partly in money. When they are not paying rent in money, the tenants seem to be providing the lord with oats (avenarum), capons (chickens caupon) or pullets (gallinas). Amongst the expenses is a payment of 8d for the shoeing of the seneschal's horse (in ferratura equi seneschalli, et in aliis expensis, viijd et solut). There are further payments for labouring tasks undertaken by Richard Cordewayn ( Item pro labore suo p'manus Rich. Cordewayn...), suggesting that the old system of feudal dues had given over to a largely money and 'barter' economy by this time (Shaw 1798-1801, ii, 245).

At the time of the collection of the Poll Tax c. 1380, Clent paid 26/-, with the local collectors being Ralph Cordewan and Thomas de Clent. This was a relatively low figure for a manor of Clent's size, although it apparently excluded Broom, which paid 7/- separately. Other local settlements of comparable size were paying more. For instance, Rowley Regis, still a chapelry of Clent until 1841, paid 40/4d, Kingswinford the same and Kinver 40/-. Larger manors, such as Wolverhampton, paid ?13-1s (Midgley 1970, 8-9).

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7.4 Clent's independent tenantry

It is possible that life in medieval Clent was generally peaceful. However, the records seem to suggest it may have been a turbulent manor on occasions. One has to recognise that documents are often silent about quiet times, giving a one-sided picture when many of the remaining records are of disputes. It has to be admitted, however, that the records of Clent do seem to suggest that violence was not uncommon in the manor.

The first mention of Clent men acting aggressively comes in 1274 when the villani of that manor are presented at the court of Halesowen for pulling down the hedges of Alexander the Cleric and Henry de Fulpen (HWRO BA 1065/5, p. 31). In 1292 they are again involved in a disturbance in Halesowen, this time at the abbey itself. John the Smith of Clent, Simon the priest of Clent, Thomas in the Spelstowe and William atte Wall are all Clent men involved in this affray (ibid, 33). Again in 1306 a number of Clent men are mentioned in the Halesowen Court Rolls of damaging the rights of the abbot by preventing the latter from having common of pasture where he had usually had it (op. cit., 32). These events seem to suggest that there was once a dispute on the boundaries of Clent and Halesowen. This seems to have been connected with common rights, and the enclosure of lands. There has long been a historical problem over the position of the vill of Kelmestowe in the area, some documents claiming it was in Clent, others in Halesowen. It is possible that these disputes are related to this problem. A fuller discussion of this is given below in section 7.9.

Disputes with an overbearing and powerful local monastery were not uncommon in the medieval period in any manor (cf. Watts 1983). In Clent there were many other disputes that seemed to be between peers. It has already been noted above that William de Nunnechurche of Clent had been hanged for murder c. 1305. In 1376 Richard Stury acted as supplicant for Richard Cordiwan, accused of causing the death of John Smyth for which a pardon was granted (PR 1374-77, 366). Smyth may have been related to Thomas le Smyth who was acting as bailiff in the manor for Lord Botetourt in 1363 (Shaw 1798-1801, ii, 245; Amphlett 1907, 48-49). A rental of this date mentions Thomas le Smyth, Henry de Bradford, Thomas Sparry, Alice Webb and Richard Cordewayn specifically by name. It is perhaps more than a coincidence that all the family names mentioned bar that of Alice Webb are involved in what appears to be violent disputes in the 14th century.

In 1356-57 John Botetourt sued Henry de Bradford, Henry his son, and Thomas de Bradford for forcibly taking goods from his property in Clent worth ?10. During this seizure, they so beat, wounded and ill-treated Botetourt's servants that he lost their services for a long time. At roughly the same time, Philip de Lutteleye also sued Henry de Bradford, Henry, his son, and John Pirye for breaking into his close at Clent and taking 20 rabbits worth 10/- and underwood to the value of 100/- (Wrottesley 1891, 141). It is possible that the incidents in 1356-57 and 1376 were not entirely unconnected, and that bad feeling prevailed between the servants of Lord Botetourt and some of villagers that persisted over many years.

Meanwhile, others seemed equally prepared to ignore property rights. In 1462-63 William Pachet sued John Penne 'of Hagley' for breaking into his close at Kelmestowe in Clent and cutting down trees and underwood, and depasturing his cattle on his grass (ibid, 124).

In 1454 the Cordwaner family were again involved in dispute. This time it was Richard Cordwaner, a descendent of the Richard accused of killing John Smith, who was on the receiving end of bad behaviour. He was forced to sue Humphrey Swymaston and John Hethe, both 'late of Swymaston', for taking three horses and six cattle worth ?6 from his lands in Clent (Wrottesley 1891, 96). In 1461 Richard was again the victim of theft when Richard Nash 'sisyer' broke into his house and closes at Nether Clent (ibid, 64).

The 'Richard Stury' who stood witness for Richard Cordiwan's 'accidental' killing of John Smyth in 1369, may be a corruption of the family name Sparry. This family lived in Clent over many centuries, and are frequently mentioned in disputes, some of which may have been violent affairs. In 1462-63 John Hampton sued a group of miscreants that included John Sparry of Clent for breaking his closes in Stourton and stealing 1000 rabbits worth ?20 (Wrottesley 1901, 121). The similarity between the incident of 1356-57 and that of 1462-63 in that poaching rabbits was involved on both occasions suggests that there was a group of Clent villagers who were prepared to behave unlawfully whenever the opportunity arose. The Sparrys, it will be seen, seem to have continued their close association with disputes that appear to have involved violence and intimidation into the 16th century.

The Sparry family make frequent entry into the early court books. In 1526 Thomas Sparry of Walton is reported to have turned more pigs on to the common than his due number. These animals, it is recorded, were not commonable. The stint of each tenant was recorded then as being four horses for every 'plough' of land. Cottagers could have no more than two horses. The stint for sheep was 80 for every virgate held (Amphlett 1907, 78-79).

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7.5 Medieval water-management in Clent

The valley between the two main ranges of the Clent Hills, Clent Hill and Walton Hill, contained a number of ponds, some of which may have medieval origins. A rental of Halesowen Abbey for 1500 refers to a pool belonging to Clent Rectory. Neither its purpose or its location is given. By the post-medieval period there was a mill on the site of the Vine Inn fed by a millpool still largely extant. There are other ponds above this mill site, and another possible mill site at Oldmill Farm further downstream. The latter, Amphlett (1907, 40) tells us, had gone by 1740.

The medieval records are curiously silent about a mill at Clent. An inquisition into the possessions of Joan Botetourt in 1338 says that she had neither 'messuage, land, meadow, pasture, mill, nor the like' in the manor. This has been taken to suggest that she had disposed of all the lord's demesnes in the manor, and had retained only the title, rents and the advowson (ibid). The entry does not necessarily mean there was not a mill in the medieval manor, only that it was not held by the lord. In the first half of the 16th century the court rolls record a 'Nether Mill' from which the miller had fled as a result of his being accused of a felony (op. cit., 82), that seems to confirm this conjecture.

At the very end of the medieval period there is an interesting reference to Richard Sparry building a dam on the land of the Abbot of Hales called Kings Meadow causing the water to flood some land belonging to William Hart called Alston Jenks (op. cit., 78). On the surface, this might be taken to suggest the building of a pond, but apparently Sparry had also done the very same thing in 1522. The Manor Court ordered the offender to rectify matters, and stated that a tenant could only divert water onto his own land for only six days at a time between Pentecost and Michelmas.

The significance of these entries seems to have been missed by Amphlett. The flooding of land, apparently meadow, for only six days between Pentecost (Whit Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter, normally in May) and Michelmas (September 29th) seems to be characteristic of the practice of watermeadow management. According to general opinion, flooding meadow in this way was not invented until the end of the 16th century. In its early days it was traditionally thought to be restricted to chalk streams in the south of England.

This reference seems decidedly out of place, and might require some explanation if further reference of the medieval practice of damming streams and rivers to flood meadows to help produce better hay crops had not been forthcoming from Pyrford on the Wey in Surrey (Manning & Bray 1804-14, i, 154). Here a customal of the abbot of Westminster records the services required by the tenants in managing the manor's meadow lands. This includes 'damming the water, to overflow the Lord's Meadow 1/2d. Mowing the meadows for three half days 3d. Spreading the hay for three half days 1 1/2d' etc. These Surrey entries are remarkably similar to those found in the early 16th century court books for Clent. They suggest that the practice of deliberately flooding meadows may have been more widespread than previously considered, particularly as the meadows of Clent manor are restricted in area. If they were doing it in this obscure part of England, one would expect it to have been practised elsewhere.

Although King's Meadow can be identified a few hundred metres to the west of the National Trust boundaries, it is possible this form of management may have taken place on meadows within the estate.

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7.6 Smithing and the beginnings of cottage industry in Clent

Water power later came to be of some importance for running forges for the scythe-making industry that grew up in Clent. Although this seems to have been at its height in the first three centuries of the post-medieval period, when records of it are at their most abundant, there are hints that it may have started much earlier.

It has already been noted above that in 1461 Richard Nash had broken into Richard Cordwaner's property. Nash's profession is given as 'sisyer', a word probably deriving from the Latin 'to cut'. It is possible that this indicates that Nash was a scythesmith.

There is another reference in the Court Rolls of Halesowen that suggests that Clent was well known for its scythesmithing as early as the opening years of the 14th century. In 1302 Margery of Kelmestowe was summoned to explain what had happen to some old iron she 'had from the reaper at the grange of Offmoor which she had taken to Clent to be worked up' (HWRO BA 1065/5, 32). The mention of a reaper requiring old iron to be 'worked up' hints that a scythe may have been required here.

If there is any doubt that scythesmiths were already working in Clent in the later medieval period, the Court Roll of 1520 makes it clear they existed at that date. This states that any artificer called a scythe-maker was to be fined 3/4d if he was caught collecting the 'necessaries' for his work within the manor. These are doubtless firewood for their forges. The illegal taking of underwood to burn was one of the more common offences in the early Court Rolls (ibid, 79).

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7.7 Archaeological evidence for medieval Clent

The general impression given of Clent in the medieval period is that it was largely an area made up of independent tenantry, living in a manor that was characterised by dispersed settlement. The manor was made up of a series of farms and hamlets rather than a nucleated village in the real sense. These hamlets may have once been more populous than they were in later centuries. The known archaeological record seems to support this, and there is much evidence within the manor, and on its fringes, of medieval settlement that has subsequently gone, or been reduced to single farmsteads.

Pagett (1996, 5) has identified earthworks to the east of Brinks Copse, under Walton Hill at SO 938798, that may be associated with abandoned settlement. There are certainly earthworks on the site, but whether they are settlement earthworks remains to be proven. In support of this possibility is that in low evening light, it is just possible to make out faint ridge and furrow type earthworks in the field to the north. The earthworks of these ridges are so faint that it is not possible to state for certain their purpose. The proximity of a small stream could suggest that they might be connected with meadow drainage, rather like water-meadows in Southern England.

There is some evidence to suggest that there were more houses associated with the old church of Kelmestowe that in later years. It is possible that the claim that there was once a community of 30 houses here may be exaggerated (HWCC Archaeology Section, correspondence in parish file). The remaining earthworks, and the general pattern of local settlement, suggests that Kelmestowe was more likely to have been a small hamlet of half a dozen houses around the church, but with a wider scatter of isolated farms beyond. Farmsteads such as Spring Farm, Penorchard Farm and Wesley's Farm are thought to be on medieval sites that may have been considered part of this 'vill' (HWCC SMR nos. 06760, 09893).

Excavations on the site of the Walton Hill Cafe, Ivy Lane, in 1952, on the NE edge of the National Trust property, revealed evidence for a small medieval building, possibly a hut, associated with an oven or kiln dating from the 12th-14th century (NT SMR no. 73007). The latter was three feet in diameter, with a flue six feet in length. Overlying this was a burnt layer containing pottery, that was interpreted as part of a hearth within the hut. Although the excavator considered the kiln to be a domestic oven, with a poorly built hut overlying (Taylor 1954, 11), one should consider the possibility that this was a kiln for firing ceramics. A nearby quarry hollow has been designated as 'an old gravel pit' (NT SMR no. 73006), which it may partly be, but considering the proximity of this possible kiln site, the quarry might also have provided clay for the making of pots, or other ceramics.

There is a possible similar site near the present Nimmings Visitor Centre. Here the County SMR records both an old quarry (HWCC SMR no. 20686), with the discovery of undated pottery slightly to the north (HWCC SMR no. 03368). Unfortunately the records for these sites are very sparse. All that is known is the bare record that these sites existed. The common edge position and juxtaposition of an old quarry with pottery finds could be tenuously taken to suggest that the possibility that there was a similar site here should be considered.

There are a number of other old quarries around the edge of the common. These can be located adjacent to the track leading from Uffmoor Green onto the common at NGR SO93868041 (NT SMR no. 73002) and SO 93768044 (NT SMR no. 73001), and opposite Clent Hill Lodge, where the track across Hagley Park enters the common from the north (NT SMR no. 73005). These sites are listed as post-medieval, but this is an assumption. The apparently purposeful location of these sites on the common edge near access points could suggest a greater antiquity. The location of one near the site of a possible medieval kiln is suggestive that there may have been minor industrial activities going on in settlements adjoining the common. This is further supported by the site of a post-medieval brick kiln adjoining the road to the NE of Uffmoor Green. This was within 300m of the pit on the common edge mentioned above. The collective evidence indicates that clay may have been taken from the common to make products from it over a relatively long time span. The location of the pits on the edge of the common might be explained as much by the fact that clay and gravel deposits are more likely to be present there in sufficient quantities to make quarrying worthwhile, as for easy access. It was well known that the soil is particularly thin higher up the hills (Shaw 1798-1801, vol. 2.1, 247).

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7.8 Place- and field-names

There are some potentially interesting suppositions to be made from old field names in Clent. There would appear to be some names around High Harcourt Farm that remember previous land uses and tenures. Unfortunately there also seems to have been a degree of change in the Clent field names that makes it impossible to trace the majority of names mentioned in the medieval and early post-medieval period. The earliest map giving the location of field names is the tithe map of 1838, and there would seem to have been many changes to names by this date.

However, there are survivors, if not where one would always like them. The meadows that Richard Sparry is noted as flooding in 1530, Kings Meadow and Alston Jenks, can be located by the survival of the former name to the immediate west of the church (HWRO (AP) 5760/238 BA 1572). Although the name 'Alston Jenks' has not survived, the location of Kings Meadow means that its approximate position can be estimated.

The name 'Nimmings' may have survived since at least the early 15th century. Mawer and Stenton (1969, 280) have interpreted a Lyttelton charter of 1429 that refers to 'land in Churchill called Nemmynges' as being in Clent. The name comes from the Old English 'nimming' meaning land taken into cultivation or enclosure. Nimmings Hill and Nimmings Wood survive on the tithe map, and the name is carried on by Nimmings Plantation on the NE side of Clent Hill today. The reference to 'Churchill' is interesting, as it might be taken to suggest that Clent Hill was known as Church Hill in the medieval period. The only survivor of this name in 1838 was a field called 'Clent Church Hill' on the SW slope of Clent Hill near the church. However, it is possible that the 'Churchill' referred to here is the manor of that name adjoining the west boundary of Clent where the Lyttelton's also held land. One would have expected reputable scholars such as Mawer and Stenton to have been aware of this possibility.

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7.9 Clent, Kelmestowe, and High Harcourt

The legend of St. Kenelm states that the boy saint, the son of King Kenulph, was murdered by his guardian, in an attempt to seize the crown of Mercia in conjunction with Kenelm's evil sister Quendryda. He was buried 'where there is a deep valley between two hills, in the wood called Clent'. Miraculously a dove is supposed to have flown to Rome to inform the Pope of the crime. Envoys were sent to check this information, and were guided to the burial spot by a cow. Miracles were associated with the spot, and the legend grew up from hereon (Amphlett 1907, 181-84).

Numerous other secondary sources claim that the martyrdom, and the subsequent discovery of the body, took place in Clent (Willis-Bund 1913, 50). The murder gave rise to the foundation of a church, supposedly on the spot of the murder, and a hamlet grew up around it in the medieval period that, one assumes, is now much reduced. There is considerable doubt as to exactly where this 'vill' lay. According to the Court Rolls of the Abbot of Halesowen, it lay within his vill of Romsley in the manor of Halesowen, but other sources seem to be at variance over this.

In 1462-63, it has been noted above, William Pachet sued John Penne of Hagley for breaking into his 'close at Kelmestowe in Clent' (Wrottesley 1891, 124; Willis-Bund 1913, 145). Furthermore Nash records that at least part of Kelmestowe was considered to be in Clent in the reign of Elizabeth. As late as the Clent tithe map of 1838, part of the chapel yard is shown as being in Clent (HWRO BA 1572).

Nash (1781, xii) argues that the boundary between Romsley and Clent regarding Kelmestowe was made in 1344, when Clent rectory was granted to Halesowen. Before this, he argues, more of Kelmestowe was in Clent than after this date. The arguments he gives are not perfectly clear, but it is likely that he is on to a germ of the truth. In Section 7.4 above, a series of unexplained disputes is noted between the tenants of Clent and Halesowen. It has been suggested that they relate to a disputed boundary, although this can not be proved for certain on the evidence of the disputes alone. Perhaps one of the more puzzling aspects of the parish of Clent near the Romsley boundary is the existence of field-names as late as 1838 that suggest that part of Clent was held as part of Offmore Grange, a property of Halesowen Abbey.

This would be perfectly explicable if we were to find these lands, now part of High Harcourt Farm, in the so-called manor of Church Clent that passed from Halesowen Abbey after the Dissolution. A survey of this manor in 1705 suggests that this was not the case. The lands of Church Clent, apart from a small area around the church, are to be found on Calcot Hill and west of Holy Cross, making distinct land groups that are some way from the lands of High Harcourt Farm. Yet in the Court Roll for 1530 it has already been noted that Richard Sparry had built a dam on the land of the 'Abbot of Hales' called Kings Meadow (Amphlett 1907, 78). Kings Meadow can be located from the 1838 tithe map just below the church (HWRO BA 1572), nowhere near any of the lands allocated to Church Clent Manor in 1705. If this field somehow became detached from later lands in Clent held by Halesowen Abbey, why should those on High Harcourt Farm have not done so as well?

The situation is a mystery that can not be explained by the surviving facts alone. One has to resort to conjecture to suggest reasons for this odd state of affairs. The following arguments may be incorrect, but the writer considers they are worth putting forward, even if others might consider the suggestions to be based on slender evidence.

The opinion of Nash, and the numerous medieval records that claim at least part of Kelmestowe was once in Clent, can not be readily dismissed. Amphlett considers that the abbots of Halesowen were grasping men, and so it would not be surprising to find them perverting the truth to support their own claims to lands near the boundary of Clent and Kelmestowe, by claiming the latter was in Halesowen. It could be argued that the abbot of Halesowen merely held land on the boundary of the two parishes and it was this that was in dispute in the medieval period. The tithe map, however, seems to suggest differently.

Close to High Harcourt Farm there are four fields shown in 1838 that have names that suggest they were once held by the abbot of Halesowen. These are tithe map numbers 556 'Offmoor Lands', 557 'Offmoor Land', 566 Lower Monks and 567 Over Monks. Pagett (1996, 4) has argued from these names that this land must have been connected with the monastic grange at Offmoor, and had been enclosed from Walton Hill Common in the medieval period. There is further evidence to support this theory in medieval documents, although none is so conclusive to make it a certain fact.

It has been recorded above that in 1274 the tenants (villani) of Clent had been presented in the Halesowen Court Rolls as having pulled done hedges belonging to Alexander the Cleric and Henry de Fulpen (HWRO BA 1065/5, 31). Later in 1292 a group of Clent men are recorded to have gone to the abbey at Halesowen and caused a disturbance (ibid, 33). Finally there is the enigmatic entry in the Halesowen Court Rolls for 1306 that certain men of Clent had prevented the Abbot's beasts from having their common of pasture 'where they had usually had it without prejudice' (op. cit., 32). This dispute was, it seems, led by the bailiffs of 'Dudley and Clent' against the abbot.

Amphlett, in his journals (op. cit.), states that he can not fully explain what the said bailiffs had to do with this dispute if it was not for the fact that the abbot's cattle had a claim to take common pasture on Clent Hills. It may be possible to take this further and suggest that the medieval extent of Clent Hills once spread over the lands later taken up by parts of Kelmestowe and Romsley. It would seem also that the men of Clent claimed ownership of these lands, suggesting that the jurisdiction of Clent once extended into areas that were later parts of Halesowen, or vice-versa.

This seems to be suggested by the men of Clent pulling hedges down belonging to Romsley men in 1274. The most common cause of medieval peasants destroying hedges was the enclosure of lands that they felt to be communally owned. It is possible that the deputation of Clent men at the abbey in 1292 had arrived to complain that their rights were being infringed by the abbot. Matters became heated because the dispute was probably over land. Finally the dispute of 1306, specifically mentions that the bailiffs of Dudley and Clent were opposing Halesowen Abbey's right to common pasture. It is hard to believe that they would have disputed this on land that they considered outside their parish. The Dudley bailiff's presence may be explained by the fact that the lords of Dudley Castle, the de Somerys, were also lords of the manor of Clent then. He had probably been involved in support of the de Somerys' personal claims.

It was not unusual in the early medieval period for a number of settlements to share a large common pasture between them, as still exists in a degraded form on places like Exmoor in Devon down to the present day. The fact that Clent was once the centre of a large hundred could suggest that the common pasture of that hundred was once shared by a number of later manors that were originally part of that hundred. When Clent became detached to form part of Staffordshire, these manors may have still felt that they had claim to the common pasture centred on Clent. This pasture was probably on Clent Hills.

There are further tiny hints, meaningless on their own, but which cumulatively add further support to the above thesis. One of the men accused of disturbance at Halesowen in 1292 was William atte Wall. There are two fields on the other side of the road passing up to valley to Kelmestowe near High Harcourt Farm that were called Over Wall and Lower Wall on the tithe map (HWRO BA 1572). This could be taken to suggest that the Wall family held lands at the Kelmestowe edge of the common at one time. If this is correct, it puts them firmly within the area of the conjectured dispute, and hints at their reason for being at the abbey.

This is further supported by an entry in the Clent Court Rolls for 1570 that states that Robert Wall surrendered a messuage near Kelmestowe called the Snowes, with Bendles and pasture in Kelmestowe Green with a cottage and garden adjoining (HWRO BA 1065/9, p. 796). In 1571 John Penne surrendered a close at Kelmestowe 'called Wallfield' lying between the common and the land of Edward Moseley. The 'Wall' field names in 1838 lie adjacent to the common, hinting that the field described in 1571 is the same as those still called 'Wall' in 1838. If this is so it would suggest that the 'vill' of Kelmestowe extended south beyond Uffmoor Green down the Clatterbach valley towards Clent. It is possible that the 'Kelmestowe Green' mentioned above was an alternative or earlier name for Uffmore Green.

The nearest farm to High Harcourt at present is Westley's Farm, just over the Romsley boundary, 400m to the east. According to the County SMR, this is reputedly the site of a shrunken settlement. A William Westley is mentioned in the Romsley Court Rolls in 1322 (HWRO BA 1065/9, p. 570). A rental of 1499-1500 refers to this area as 'Wasteley' (Nash 1781, xxxiv). Although it is possible that the name derives from 'Westley', meaning the 'West clearing', adequately describing its position in Romsley, an alternative is 'Wasteley', meaning a clearing from the waste or common. Whatever interpretation is correct the 'ley' ending suggests the settlement was a clearing from land that was earlier unenclosed. Either way, the land on the edge of the National Trust estate would seem to have derived from enclosure of former common.

After the Dissolution the grange of Offmoor passed to John Dudley. In 1549-50 he leased a 'lesser tiled barn and one oxhouse at the grange upon Uffmore', plus other lands 'within the pale of Offmore' to George Tokye (ibid, xxvii). When High Harcourt Farm was described in the tithe award for Clent of 1838, it was held in trust for the Dudley family, possibly a branch of the same family that held Offmoor in the 16th century (HWRO BA 1572). Does this suggest a connection between the lands later attributed to High Harcourt Farm and Offmore Grange in the medieval period? Why can the connection between High Harcourt lands and Halesowen Abbey not be more firmly established, if it existed at all? As has been stated earlier, it does not seem to have been attached to the Church Clent manor in 1705, which had probably been the lands of Halesowen Abbey. Had it broken away soon after the Dissolution? If so, why did it not appear in the Halesowen rental of 1499-1500? Is it disguised, and hidden among the entries for Romsley, under which vill the abbots appeared to lay claim to lands on the Clent border?

There is one last little clue that the abbot held lands in Clent in the medieval period. In a Clent Court Roll for 1520, it is recorded that there is a bank in the lane leading to Kelmestowe near Westley that is in default of the abbot of Halesowen (HWRO BA 1065/17, 266). This is quite likely the parish boundary bank between the two manors, but it reminds us of the proximity of the abbot's lands to the present National Trust estate.

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8.0 Post-medieval Clent Hills, 1540-present

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8.1 Later Tudor and Stuart Clent

It is unlikely that the transition from the medieval to the post-medieval period had very substantial influence on the everyday lives of the manorial tenants. It is true that the monasteries were dissolved, but one absentee landlord was as much the same as any other in the mid-16th century not to have made any significant difference. The Court Rolls continued to record much the same type of material before 1540 as it did after.

It was soon after the Dissolution that the 'Clent Church' estate came to be seen as a separate manor. Before he was executed for treason this 'manor' had been held by the Earl of Northumberland. He had acquired it from Halesowen Abbey at the Dissolution of that house in 1538. On his death in 1553, an inquisition listed the tenants of the manor and their rents as:

John Underhill8/2d
Thomas Hill 3/9d
Thomas Sparry 1/6d
Edward Lobench 1/4d
William Sparry 'gent' 2/-
Edward Moseley 7 1/2d
John Sparry 1/1d
John Dunkley 6d
John Pen 2d

These lands, although apparently enjoying their own customs, took a subordinate position within Clent as a whole. If a tenant held lands in both manors, the old manor took precedence and was entitled to the heriot (Amphlett 1907, 86). Church Clent manor seems to have been mainly that block of lands in the SE corner of the parish around Calcothill Farm, with an outlying block in the SW corner beyond the hamlet of Holy Cross, and a smaller area east of the church.

In 1579 the will of William Green listed the stock he owned as one of the wealthiest men in the parish at that time. He was valued at ?106-13-3d, and owned six oxen, three steers, four kine and a young bull (14 cattle in total), 120 old sheep and 40 lambs, six old swine and four pigs, four horses and five stalls of bees (Amphlett 1907, 88). A will of 1642 for Philip Cox lists the following animals: twelve cattle, two horses, 103 sheep, seven pigs, eight chickens, twelve geese and one gander (ibid, 119). In the 27 years covered by the Court Rolls in the reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603), 36 sheep and ten horses were found stray in the manor (op. cit., 102). These figures give some idea of the type of animals that would have been put on the hills to pasture.

The Rolls show that infringements of common rights on the hills were frequent. In 1563 William Palmer and John Underhill were fined for persistently cutting underwood on Walton Hill. The fine for cutting ferns to burn was 3/4d. One supposes that the right to collect them was for the purpose of providing animal bedding or fodder (heybote). Burning them may have then seemed a waste of the resource, although it later became connected with a peculiar local custom (see Section 8.11).

These references suggest that the commons were once more coming under increasing pressure at this time as the local population began expanding again. After 1574 the stinting rights of the tenants had to be reduced. From hereon tenants could only keep four horses for every yardland they farmed, two for every half yardland, and only one for cottagers. The fine for breaking this injunction was 20/-. In 1583 two encroachments on the common were noted. Hugh Peter enclosed six perches to grow hemp and John Manley built a house on the 'waste'. Other tenants continued to enclose former common lands throughout the parish, not just on the hills (Amphlett 1907, 104-5).

At this time there was further common land adjoining up against Walton Hill Common on Calcot Hill. According to custom these common lands belonged to the tenants of Church Clent manor. They had oak, ash, beech, birch and holly trees on it. The tenants were allowed to take one wagon load of wood to mend their fences, but William Underhill is reputed to have abused his rights. Before 1608 he is said to have taken 100 wagon loads of wood off the common to burn as firewood and make wheels from it. He is also said to have encroached on the common and built houses thereon (ibid, 113).

Another William Underhill purchased Church Clent manor from a Mr Norrice in 1676, after the king had sold it in 1633 to William Scriven and Philip Eden. Slightly before this, c. 1672 Underhill and the other tenants of Church Clent manor wished to enclose 80 acres of land on Calcot Hill that was not fenced off from the rest of Walton Hill. In return they agreed to give up any rights they had on the other Clent commons as landholders of Church Clent. From hereon the tenants of Church Clent manor had no right to put animals on Clent or Walton Hill (op. cit., 143-44). This incident demonstrates that the common lands on Walton Hill once extended over at least another 80 acres to the south of the present boundary.

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8.2 Local disputes in the later 16th and 17th centuries

The tenants of Clent seemed to continue their quarrelsome nature throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. The same family names that appeared in the medieval period as principle players in local disputes occur again in this later period. The Quarter Session Rolls for Staffordshire for 1587 record John Penne, victualler, 'late of Clent' was called to answer for divers trespass and contempts (Burne 1931, 175). Soon after this John Underhill, listed as of 'Over Penn, yeoman' and Thomas Coxe gave sureties in Clent for John Penne holding an alehouse (ibid, 319). This alehouse may have been the 'Red Cow', a hostelry possibly recorded in 1499-1500 as being held by Hugh Westwood 'pro hospitio St. Kenelm' in Romsley, and then held of the abbot of Halesowen (Nash 1781, vol. 2, Appendix, xxxiv).

In 1580 Christopher Sparry was fined 40/- for illegally entering the free warren of the lord of the manor to hunt. In 1592 the manor court ruled that only those who possessed a free tenement worth 40/- or more per annum were allowed to keep dogs for hunting rabbits, or to hawk or fish on private lands in the manor (Amphlett 1907, 102).

The scythsmiths of Clent begin to come to prominence around this time, not for the quality of their workmanship, but for their propensity for conflict. In April 1590 Richard Hurcott of Clent, scythesmith, was ordered to appear at the County Quarter Sessions to keep the peace concerning Thomas Hurcott of Halfmore in Clent. John Nasshe and Francis Taylor agreed to stand surety for him, and the case was dismissed (Burne 1932, 68).

This same Richard Hurcote had earlier, in 1563, been in a dispute with Harry Melley over a cottage and a 'noke of land' in Clent that it was claimed Hurcote wrongly held (Boyd 1933, 197-98). The same court also heard from Richard Moseley that about 16 years previously one Richard Gope was seised of pasture in Clent called Egbage, and that he conveyed it to Moseley. Deeds regarding the land were reputed to have come into the possession of Thomas Sparry who claimed that Gope had been wrongly entered into this land, and therefore wanted Moseley evicted. Called to court Sparry denied the charge, and said that there were no such deeds (ibid, 202). The same court heard that Roger Moseley claimed that Richard Hurcote was seised of a copyhold messuage in Clent two years previously, and that Hurcote had conveyed this property to him. Now Thomas and Adam Melley claimed that deeds had come into their possession regarding this property, and that they refused to give them up. The court heard how Thomas Hurcote had been seised of this messuage thirty years ago when he died (op. cit., 209).

In 1572 Henry Moseley of Clent and his wife Agnes claimed the right to a messuage and lands that had formerly been in possession of Halesowen Abbey in the right of 'their church', presumably Clent Church (Boyd 1933, 210). Adam Melley claimed that Roger Moseley conveyed him a messuage and land in Clent, but deeds had recently come into the hands of Edward and Henry Moseley regarding it. As a consequence, they had expelled Adam from this land (ibid, 217). The connections between these lands are not clear, but at least some of the land disputed seems to have been in the eastern portion of Clent near the Hills. They demonstrate the extremely complex nature of Clentish disputes.

In 1599 the County Quarter Sessions record how Richard Nash, Thomas Cox and others broke into the close and house of William Cox and stole 35 dozen scythes, one dozen iron 'strynges', 15 iron moulds, 20 hammers, five oxen, 72 sheep, 20 lambs, two geldings, one heifer, three cows and two steers worth ?100 (Burne 1936, 106). The roll suggests this occurred in Clent. It demonstrates how scythesmithing had probably developed in the Clatterbach valley by this time around the numerous suspected millpools there. It also shows how the occupation appears to have been seasonal. Judging by the number of animals William Cox appears to have had, it seems that he was a reasonably substantial farmer as well as a smith.

It could be taken that the application by the tenants of the manor for a royal charter confirming their status as being tenants of a manor formerly of 'ancient demesne' in 1566 was further evidence of their 'independent' character. This gave them right to be exempt from serving on juries outside their own parish, and from payment of certain tolls and expenses, such as those required for sending knights to Parliament. The charter was confirmed by Charles I in 1625 (Willis-Bund 1913, 51).

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8.3 Field- and place-names in the later 16th and early 17th centuries

There are a number of field- and place-names in the Court Rolls of the later 16th and early 17th centuries that suggest continuity of settlement sites and field boundaries between then and the present. It has already been suggested that a 'Wallfield' mentioned in 1571 as being next to the common are the fields below Clent Hill west of Uffmore Green called 'Over and Lower Wall' on the tithe map. In this year it was surrendered to Henry Moseley. About 20 years later Moseley surrendered 'Waldefield, a pasture called Jack Hill and 2 cottages in Lower Clent called Adam Hills' to Alice and Edward Auger (HWRO BA 1065/9, p. 802). Jack Hill could still be found as field name north of the Vine Inn Millpool in 1838. Adam Hills is possibly the earliest mentioned of the small hamlet of cottages tucked into the far western corner of Clent Hill Common that was to become the centre for 19th and early 20th century tourism in the area. In 1613 the Augers surrendered these lands to Richard Wall (ibid, 803).

Another field-name closely associated with the National Trust estate is Nag Hill. This was the last field at the west end of the Walton Hill part of the property. The name occurs frequently in the Court Rolls in the 16th and 17th centuries, first being recorded in 1530 (HWRO BA 1065/17). Other names, now forgotten, that were possibly associated with the common, being enclosed lands nearby include Halfmoor, Ryemoor, Broken Brinks, and many others with 'moor' type names or names 'like 'Brinks' associated with assarts. There is a group of fields with 'Brink' names on the National Trust estate around Brinks Coppice in the Clatterbach valley.

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8.4 Population growth, c. 1540-1800

According to Nash (1781, vol. 2, Appendix, x), the population of the manor was given as 46 families in 1563, but this had increased to 150 by 1781. This can be checked to a degree against the Muster Rolls for 1539. This lists 38 able-bodied men who could bear arms if needed. They include many of the names listed in this account so far, like Sparry, Nash, Moseley, Hurcote, Smyth and Cordwaner, indicating the long-term establishment of these families in the area (Boyd 1903, 68-69). The names are given in full below:

Richard Sparry, Thomas Sparry, Henry Sparry, Thomas Sparry (II?), Thomas Sparry (III?), John Sparry, William Nash, Thomas Nash I, Thomas Nash II, John Dorby, John Cordwaner, Richard Kendall, John Hill, John White, Christopher Rastrike, William Parker, Philip Acks, John Hurcote, Richard Hurcote, John Rowley, Edward Moseley, Richard Lokoryche, Richard Coks, John Coks, Richard Hethe, John Hethe, Thomas Hethe, Thomas Watters, Richard Parkes, George Osburn, John Warynge, Edmund Apen, William Palmer, Richard Aston, John Maudys, Raffe Smyth.

It is noteworthy that there are no less than six able-bodied Sparrys in the manor, three of which are called Thomas. One guesses that there were fathers and sons amongst these names, but others were probably cousins and other relatives.

This list bears some comparison with the Hearth Tax returns of 1666 (William Salt Collections 1924, 71-73). Many of the old names are still present, but there are some new ones. The Amphletts appear for the first time in the name of Richard Amphlett, a gentleman, living in a house of six hearths. The largest house seems to be occupied by John Coxe, who lived in a dwelling with eight hearths (possibly the house later known as Clent Grove). For comparison, the Vicarage is listed as having five hearths. This suggests that none of the Clent houses were large by the standards of country houses in general, a reflection of the fact that the manor never seems to have had a resident lord to erect a manor house in the true sense.

The names listed are as follows. The number in brackets after the name indicates the number of hearths each person was taxed for.

Richard Amphlett, gent (6), Thomas Nash (5), John Webbe (2), Thomas Penne (2), John Sparry (1), John Hill (1), John Coxe (2), John Hill (1), John Coxe (8), Henry Cordiven (1), William Nash (1), John Hall (1), John Green (1), Richard Hill (4), John Wilson (1), Thomas Mason (1), John Lowe (4), John Waldron (6), Gilbert Cole (2), William Pernes (1), John Mansell (3), Thomas Richards (1), Richard Osbourne (1), Thomas Cordiven (1), Thomas Waldron (1), William Turner (1), Richard Waldron senior (3), John Underhill (5), William Ashfield (2), Dan Harris (3), Richard Perrins (2), Bar:Wall? (1), Richard Pearman (3), Thomas Hill (1), John Heath (1), Vicarage House (5), William Cole (3), Mark Taylor (1), Richard Waldron senior (4), Anne Coxe, widow (2), James Bayle (1), Henry Cresswell (1), Henry Nashgreave (1), William Taylor (1), Edward Hatten (1), John Coxe (1), Edward Wakeman (1), Giles Zachy (1), William Cleare (1), William Sparry (1), Morris Hill (1), John James (1), Thomas Wall (1), Francis Hill (1), Roger Hill (1), John Potter (1), John Joanes (1), Humphrey Green (1), Thomas Perkes (1), John Fitter (1), Henry Witson (1).

This lists 50 houses containing a total of 117 hearths. Bearing in mind that there may have been a number of untaxed houses, it suggests roughly 50 households taxed, with perhaps another 20 or so untaxed, making a total of around 70 houses with an estimated population of about 300. However, a report by the vicar and churchwardens dated 20th April 1676 states that there were 165 inhabitants in Clent then (HWRO BA 1065/5, p. 140b). One wonders if this number includes only the adults in the parish, but omits children. This would make some sense, suggesting that the population may have increased gradually since 1539 and 1563. If the 150 households given in 1781 is accurate, then this would suggest that the population may have increased substantially between 1666 and 1781.

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8.5 Local trades, c. 1540-1800

Much of this increase may have been the result of the rise of cottage industry within the parish, as well as the general growth in the agricultural population that is reflected in the increasing encroachment on to the commons since the early 16th century. Industrial activity has already been recognised in the setting up of scythe forges, mainly in the Clatterbach valley, where they could use the streams here to power their forges. There are possibly up to five mill pond sites here that may have been related to this industry. As well as the scythesmiths, there was a growing body of nailers in the manor.

According to Timmings (1836, 12) the scythe-making industry was removed from the parish in 1790 when Thomas Waldron of Field House transferred it to neighbouring Belbroughton, but this may not be strictly accurate. According to Amphlett, there were still scythe mills in Clatterbach valley until 1827, when Clatterbach Pool burst its dam and swept away the mill there. This mill had been a scythe mill operated by the same Thomas Waldron, who was supposed to have removed the industry to Belbroughton. The wheel here had been 35 feet in diameter, and the mill pool covered two acres. It seems that no-one attempt to rebuild this mill, which may have lain just to the west of the National Trust boundary, possible in Oldmill Pound (Tithe map number 409).

With the demise of the scythe-making industry, nail-makers continued to work in the parish. Blocksidge (1910, 8) states that the industry had been centred on the hamlet of Holy Cross, but had gone by his time. Willis-Bund (1913, 50) states that this had died out late in the 19th century.

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8.6 The ornamentation of Clent Hill in the later 18th century

The 18th century saw the beginnings of change to the old commons on Clent and Walton Hills, particularly the former. In 1735 Sir George Lyttelton exchanged some land on Clent Hill Common for four acres on Lower Clent Common near Thicknall Farm. Amphlett (1907, 155) states that the hedgebanks of this land can still be seen on the right hand side of the ridge leading up the hill from Adam's Hill. These are probably represented by one of the largest set of old hedgebanks still visible on the common. By the time of the tithe map of 1838, this land was no longer marked separately, and had become part of the common.

The main changes on Clent Hill Common were probably the result of the landscaping of Hagley Hall, from the middle of the century onwards. However, there were some other minor landscape changes that occurred around this time, as a result of the landscaping of Clent Grove. This latter property had been part of the estates of the Cox family.

Amphlett (1907, 163) states that this estate, on the western edge of Clent Hill Common, had been bought by a London merchant called Liell from the Cox family. Liell went on to build the old Clent Grove house that is shown on the tithe map of 1838 (HWRO BA 1572). This house was once known as the Gate House, probably the result of it being near an old gate leading onto the common at Adam's Hill. The name was changed to Clent Grove to prevent confusion with the Gate Inn near the church. This former house was demolished in 1863 (Clent History Society 1988, 7) in favour of another house nearer the common, on the site of the tithe map field known as 'The Grove' (number 304). Liell also seems to have purchased lands in the area from John Sage in 1784 (HWRO BA 1947/2). It was probably after this date that he had a simple map made of his property (ibid).

This shows the mock ruin called Clent Castle near to Adam's Hill, one of the main follies seen from the hill. Timmings (1836, 26) may have been persuaded that this castle was real, for he makes the ambiguous statement that it was 'formerly inhabited by a genteel family, but when Clent Grove estate became the property of Captain Leil, he dismantled this castle...' Amphlett, who would have known a genuine medieval castle from a folly, makes a similar comment. He says:

'In the Castle near the Fountain Inn, late in the grounds of Clent Grove, there lived a hundred years ago a family of the name of Turner. They disposed of it to Thomas Liell of Clent Grove who dismantled it and sold everything that could be detached from the brickwork in 1837' (BA 1065/18).

The map also shows the pond, now within the common, on the western edge of Clent Hill. This is marked as 'New Pool', possibly suggesting that it was made in the later 18th century, possibly as part of the landscaping of the Clent Grove estate (HWRO BA 1947/2).

These alterations on the western edge of the common were relatively minor compared with the use that Hagley Hall seems to have made of the hills as a backdrop to its own designed landscape. Hagley Park's southern boundary was, for much of its length, co-existent with the northern boundary of Clent Hill Common.

The exact date that the Lyttelton family started to alter the landscape on Clent Hills is not exactly known. One thing seems certain, their activity was to ultimately attract vast crowds of industrial workers from nearby Birmingham that resulted in great changes to the management of the Clent Commons.

The landscaping of the park at Hagley in the English Landscape tradition of the mid-later 18th century has been attributed to George Lyttelton, later the 1st Lord Lyttelton. Some commentators claim that the landscaping of the park was begun by 'at least 1743' (Nares 1957a, 548), over ten years before the new house was begun in 1754 (Nares 1957b, 608). This was before the death of George's father, Sir Thomas Lyttelton in 1751. Other sources suggest that the Lyttelton family did not start the landscaping of the park in its new style until the later 1740s (Jackson-Stops 1979, 13; English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens). Certainly the two earliest known follies in the park, the Castle and the Rotunda, are not thought to have been begun before 1747 (Department of the Environment, Listed Buildings Hagley nos. 2/127 & 2/131).

Even before the new house was built, fashionable commentators like Horace Walpole were already praising the landscape. In September 1753 he wrote of a design of great character:

'...with all manner of beauty; such lawns, such woods, rills, cascades, and a thickness of verdure quite to the summit of the hill, and commanding such a vale of towns, meadows and wood extending quite to the Black Mountains in Wales...' (Bolton 1915, 527).

The landscape itself, like the house, has been described as being one of the best examples of the Rococo style, with its catholic tastes that could happily place features in conflicting styles, such as the Gothic and Classical, side by side (Nares 1957a, 546). Originally the park was full of exotic follies and other structures. The ruined castle, by Sanderson Miller c. 1747-48, is one of the earlier Gothic Revival buildings of its kind. This building can still be seen just outside the northern entrance to Clent Hill Common. James Stewart's Temple of Theseus c. 1758-59, was considered to be the first building in England built in the primitive Doric style of the Ancient Greeks. This was one of the last of the major follies to be built, thus dating the main phase of landscape improvement at Hagley to between c. 1747 and 1759.

Judging from Walpole's statement, it would seem that part of the attraction of Hagley Park was Clent Hill, both as a setting to the park and as a place from which to take the view. If this is the case, it is possible that George Lyttelton had begun to improve the hill by adding features to it during his main phase of landscaping. No-one knows exactly when the Four Stones and the clumps of trees described by later commentators were put up, but it is possible that they were in place by 1759. It is possible that the lack of mention by Walpole might suggest that the Four Stones had not been put up until after 1753.

A description of Clent Hill in the 1770s suggests that it was covered largely with grass at that time. In 1777 Joseph Heely states that the woodland of the park:

'affording over its branches a precipitate slant of the green hills of Clent - bold, high and picturesque... the downy foot of Clent... this lovely green hill... In my walk along the brow of this enchanting eminence, I was led to the cottage, which I found exactly in character, and fancifully situated in a small grove, on the edge of a concave sweep of the hill, looking over a finely cultivated country...'

The cottage is probably that later known as the Ranger's Cottage. According to Timmings (1836, 22-23) this was occupied by a blind poet c. 1800, who had been paid by visitors to recite his poems.

The fir clumps appear to have been planted before the end of the 18th century. By 1800 it is stated that 'the Clent hills, rearing their fir-deckheads above, crown the striking landscape...' More than thirty years later, Timmings (1836, 19-20) described the hills as rearing,

'their aged and lofty heads above the surrounding landscape; crowned with a verdant clump of trees; and covered with a garment of the softest moss, which is bespangled with the opening golden blossoms of the humblest gorse, or the beautiful flowers of the pendant foxglove.'

The cottage was also described as being 'sheltered by a plantation of Firs, thus presenting ideas of retirement, even in the midst of much open exposure' (ibid, 22).

It is perhaps unwise to assume that the clumps of firs were planted after the 1770s on the strength of Heely's failure to mention them. Absence of mention should not be taken to denote physical absence. It is clear, even from Timmings's description, that much of the hill was still open grassland and gorse in the 1830s.

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8.7 Clent Common and tourism

The incorporation of Clent Hills into the surrounds of Hagley had a far more important effect on the old common that its adornment with a folly (Four Stones) and a few clumps of fir trees. As Hagley's fame spread, so more visitors came to the area to see its sights. Clent's reputation as a viewpoint and a tourist attraction must have grown alongside that of Hagley. It is possible that many of the first 18th century visitors were of an aristocratic type like Horace Walpole. The popularity of Clent with the industrial proletariat of the Black Country was something that probably came slightly later. Nevertheless, by 1826 the visitors must have become too much for the owners of Hagley Hall, for in that year the footpaths in the park were closed up and the public barred from entering (Timmings 1836, 27). It is possible that events a little over ten years earlier may have precipitated this action.

Following the declaration of peace in 1814 at the end of the main phase of the Napoleonic Wars with France, the inhabitants of Clent decided to hold a celebratory feast on the hill. This is described in one of John Amphlett's journals.

The celebrations included the roasting of an ox on the highest part of Clent Hill, just below the Four Stones. It is stated that the exact spot is now occupied (in 1876 when this account was written) by a clump of sycamores and firs planted since by Lord Lyttelton. A number of loyal speeches were made, and in the bonhomie of the moment, the 'Mr Amphlett' of that time said that he hoped that the event would become an annual affair. This became known as the Clent Wake, and it was thereafter held on the first Sunday and Monday in July every year. It is said that it drew people from all over the neighbourhood. What must have begun as a well-intentioned event soon deteriorated, and came to attract undesirables from miles around. Amphlett describes how this came about:

'Beer was sold on the hills and tents and booths were erected and Clent Wake became a time of license for the whole Black Country. Free fights were general, parish challenging parish or person person, and at last men used to come on purpose for the fighting they knew would take place. In the year ---- [blank in the original] however the wake was put to a stop to by the inhabitants of the parish.' (BA 1065/18, p. 70).

One guesses that by the time the wake was stopped the tradition of coming to Clent Hills by large crowds in the summer had been firmly established. It is doubtless that it was the visitors getting out of hand that caused the Lytteltons to close Hagley Park to the public in 1826. From the 1830s the first major populist tourist books started to appear. First came William Timmings, A guide to Clent Hills, first published in 1834. Others followed rapidly, including William Harris, Clentine Rambles or a companion to the hills of Clent in 1845. Harris published an enlarged version that included sections on geology and flora in 1868, and followed it with an even more populist A handbook for excursionists. The excursionist's penny guide to the Clent Hills... in 1878. There were other works such as William Matthews, The flora of the Clent Hills (1868) and The flora of the Clent and Lickey Hills (1881), and William Lyttelton's Physical geography and geology of the district [of Clent] (1868). All these works, even the more populist, have an educational tone that gives the impression that visitors were coming to Clent were refined people seeking to improve their minds through the aesthetic appreciation of the views, and study of the flora, geology and the like.

No doubt many people came with self-improvement in mind, but many came simply to enjoy themselves on a convenient open space that offered other attractions besides the views. Adams Hill became the main centre for tourists, and was soon supplied with many of the attributes of the fairground. This influx of visitors had wide-ranging effects on the old common. The traditional commoning of animals became increasingly difficult, as crowds of visitors trampled on the grass, and disturbed the animals at their grazing. The hire of horses and donkeys to visitors further increased this problem. Drunkenness and disorder abounded to a degree that the villagers felt that the common needed to be regulated to try to control some of the worst excesses.

John Amphlett recalled the reasons behind the decision in a court case in 1917,

'Previous to the Regulation in 1881 scenes of great disorder took place on public holidays... and there was no means of exercising any control over the crowds of visitors. I was the person who suggested regulating the portion of the common to which visitors resorted. I was assisted by other persons, and eventually the regulation was carried through... I was the first Chairman of the Conservators, and returned the chairmanship for 21 years retiring in 1902; and I was elected chairman again in 1911 and held the post for 1 year.' (HWRO 4600/664)

The same court recorded a statement about this regulation of 1881, when the control of the common was handed over to a body known as the Conservators. This states that the part of the common that required regulation comprised 162 acres. There was an unregulated part on Walton Hill of about 90 acres that was then little visited by tourists.

This 'history' records that,

'Clent Hill Common has been at some early period for the most part cultivated. Old hedge banks run about it in many directions. Of some of these the history is known; of the origin of others, the shapes of the field they bounded being still evident, nothing is known... The common is covered with gorse, bracken and short turf; there are very few trees upon it, and what there are have been planted; they are not of natural growth.'

It then describes the coming of the visitors,

'Disorder reached a great pitch. The little valley now called Adam's Hill was filled with all kinds of booths, the slopes of the hills were covered with cocoa nut throws, and the climax was reached when in some disorder round a shooting gallery a boy was shot and killed. The necessity for "management" became patent' (BA 4600/639).

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8.8 The Regulation of Clent Common, 1881

The 1881 Award was confirmed by an Act of Parliament, and laid down the boundaries of the land that was to be regulated. This act made public access to Clent Hill Common official. Previously it had been tolerated by the inhabitants. The Enclosure Commissioner stated that,

'I do reserve for the benefit of the inhabitants of the several parishes of Clent Hagley and Halesowen and of the several towns of Stourbridge, Dudley, Rowley Regis, Brierley Hill, Quarry Bank, and Kidderminster and of the public generally at all times a privilege of walking and playing games and enjoying other species of recreation over the whole of the said Common subject to such bye-laws as are hereinafter mentioned.'

The management of the common was vested in a body of twelve Conservators. These were to be:

  1. The Lord of the Manor of Clent or his/her nominee.
  2. Two persons nominated from those with an interest in the Common (ie those with grazing and other rights).
  3. Three persons to be nominated by the inhabitants of Clent, Hagley and Halesowen. One to represent each parish.
  4. The Chairman of the Urban Sanitary Authorities of each of the towns of Stourbridge, Dudley, Rowley Regis, Brierly hill, Quarry Bank and Kidderminster.

Leaving out the representatives of the Sanitary Bodies, those elected to the first committee of conservators were:

  1. William Matthews of Waterloo Street, Birmingham, as the nominee of the Lord of the Manor.
  2. John Amphlett of Clent and William Phillips of the Fountain Inn representing those with common rights.
  3. Henry Martin of Prospect Cottage, Clent, gentleman, representing the parish of Clent.
  4. Major Henry Wolridge of The Lawn, Hagley, representing the parish of Hagley, and
  5. Alfred Burr of Halesowen, gentleman, representing that parish (HWRO BA 1064/6).

The Award gave the Conservators the power to make bye-laws for the 'prevention of and protection from nuisances and for keeping order on the said Common...'. It gave them the right to collect any money due to them to carry out their functions, and to maintain and protect the common. It also said that the Conservators might 'execute any works of drainage and levelling the said Common and may plant trees for ornament...' (ibid, 4).

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8.9 Clent Common under the Conservators, 1881-1959

Within a month of the award being issued the Conservators issued their first notice of bye-laws. This gave a list of 20 offences. These mainly dealt with public order, but they also maintained the rights of the commoners as they had been by manorial custom. It restricted the erection of booths or the sale of goods to those licensed by the Conservators. Likewise the hiring of horses, donkeys and any other animals was restricted by licence, and the payment of an annual fee. The last of these orders forbade anyone to enclose any part of the designated common, and it was this latter injunction that was to place the Conservators' long-standing former chairmen, John Amphlett, in danger of breaching bye-laws that he was largely responsible for formulating.

This occurred in 1917 when a man called Collis claimed that Amphlett had contravened the injunction against enclosure by erecting fences between his own land and the common that encroached onto the common land. The case was extremely detailed. The papers that survive give much information on the common between 1881 and 1917, but the bone of contention itself was a relatively petty matter. Collis had claimed that Amphlett had exceeded his boundary by as much as four feet in places. Amphlett claimed that his boundary extended to the far side of the ditch outside his boundary bank, and quoted local custom in his support. The original court found against Amphlett, but this was overturned on appeal (HWRO BA 4600/639). What with the continuing reduction in the traditional use of the common, the role of the Conservators slowly declined after this case.

Initially the Conservators had been able to appoint a ranger to look after the common, but from 1913 costs forced this position to fall into temporary abeyance. It was revived in 1921, by which time a new series of difficulties had begun to arise (Kingsbury 1983, 34-35). Motorcycling, dry tobaggoning and litter were all problems by the 1920s. A letter of 15th September 1930 in the Stourbridge County Express noted the concern that the traditional commoning of animals was not being exploited to its full potential, although this seems to have continued unabated into the first decade of the 20th century.

By 1947 the Conservators were in financial difficulties, and an approach was made to the National Trust to take on the guardianship of the land. This was initially refused, as the property was not self-supporting. Finally it was agreed in 1957 that arrangements should be made to transfer the Conservators power over to the National Trust in conjunction with the then Worcester County Council. This was finally completed in 1959, the Conservators meeting for the last time on 22nd January of that year (Kingsbury 1983, 36). The hand-over included Walton Hill.

This area had not been included in the Regulation of 1881. According to the deliberations of the time, Walton was not resorted to by tourists in the same way as Clent Hill. Traditional commoning continued relatively unmolested here well into the 20th century. It was not mentioned until 1937-38 when it was suggested that the Clent Ranger might occasionally visit Walton to supervise it, but this was not taken up. It was not brought up again until 1956, when it was suggested that it be taken over as part of the National Trust/County Council plan (ibid, 37).

In March 1974 the newly formed Hereford and Worcester County Council took out a 21 year lease on the land from the National Trust. From this date the Council managed the property as a Country Park by a joint management agreement. In March 1995 the property reverted to the National Trust, with a small amount of land near Nimmings Hill Visitors Centre being retained by the Council.

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8.10 The changing landscape of Clent Hills from 1800

The decline of traditional land uses from 1800 had a number of consequences for the common and its surroundings. There are three main issues here: the conversion of certain areas of the common to woodland, the retreat of arable land uses on the common edge, and the decline of traditional pasturing. In many cases, the subjects are connected.

In an unpublished County Council report on the common as a country park, Kingsbury (1983) addresses the question of woodland expansion in some detail. According to this study there had been opposition to tree planting on the hills before 1881. At a meeting at Hagley in January 1880 it was stated that the public did not want trees, and they were unlikely to thrive (ibid, 1983, 14).

There had been tree planting on the hill before 1881, as has been shown above. Heely's description of 1777 records a small grove around the Ranger's Cottage, and by 1800 the hill is stated to be crowned by 'firs'. Timmings, writing in the early 1830s refers to 'clumps' in plural, suggesting that by that time there was more than one clump on the hill. Quite who planted them is a matter of some doubt. Although tradition ascribes them to George Lyttelton, it is possible that his successor may have planted them after 1773. When John Amphlett (1907, 164) was writing his history in the 1890s he stated that there were 'clumps of Scots Firs scattered about over the common, and now fast perishing'. Amphlett certainly seems to think that at least one clump had been planted since the celebrations on the hill in 1814, when he refers to a clump of sycamores and firs planted near the Four Stones (HWRO BA 1065/18, p. 70). On August Bank Holiday in 1887 a fire destroyed six acres of 'young plantation' east of Four Stones, suggesting a small amount of more intense planting had taken place by the later 1880s (Kingsbury 1983, 18). Despite the presence of limited trees, however, the descriptions of the hill before 1881 suggest that it was largely open country.

It was clear, nevertheless, from the Enclosure Award issued in 1881 that the Conservators wanted to reserve themselves the right to plant trees for 'ornament' if they felt it appropriate (HWRO BA 1064/6). It is possible that the limited planting recorded in the early years of the Regulation was therefore to replace the dying clumps of mainly short-lived fir trees on the hill. By 1890 ?20 had been spent on limited plantings. On 19th March 1894, it was recorded that two clumps were added near Adams Hill. Furthermore, on 16th February 1898 there is mention of a fencing bill to protect '... the new clumps of trees on the Hill' (Kingsbury 1983, 14). A comparison of the Ordnance Survey maps of 1884, 1902 and 1924 seems to indicate where these new clumps were planted. The details for these clumps and their planting dates is given in Tables 1 and 2 below. There is no record of deliberate planting of larger areas of common land until the 1950s, although areas of former farmland adjoining the hills were gradually becoming more wooded from 1838 onwards. The 1902 OS map shows that there was already about two acres of conifers along the southern boundary of Stones Cover. Planting had also extended south of Deep Wood, and over the southern part of Gaplow Grove by this time. Following the extinction of the male line of the Amphlett family in 1949, there was much clearance of old woodland on the edges of the common. This included Moors Coppice, Nimmings Plantation and Shorts Wood, all of which were replanted in the 1950s.

Table 1: clumps on Clent Hill

LocationDate of apparent creationNotes
SO93238024described in 1777'grove' around Hill Cottage
SO93228034first shown 1884 OS 6" mapsycamore/fir, according to Amphlett, Ld Lyttelton planted this clump after 1814, but before 1876. It may have replaced a fir clump nearby in existence since at least 1800
SO92758025first shown 1884 OS 6" mapAll historic maps show as fir clump
SO92978028first shown 1884 OS 6" mapAll historic maps show as fir clump
SO92657996first shown 1884 OS 6" mapAll historic maps show as fir clump
SO92698041first shown 1884 OS 6" mapAll historic maps show as deciduous clump
SO92747990first shown 1902 OS 25" mapAll historic maps show as deciduous clump
SO92958015first shown 1902 OS 25" mapAll historic maps show as fir clump
SO92878016first shown 1902 OS 25" mapAll historic maps show as fir clump
SO93348021first shown 1902 OS 25" mapAll historic maps show as deciduous clump
SO92877994first shown 1924 OS 25" mapContained behind bank of earlier field abandoned in 1735. Historic maps show as fir clump
SO92627987first shown 1924 OS 25" mapFirs by present toilets. Historic maps show as fir clump

Table 2: the proliferation of clumps on Clent Hill

* It is thought that these two clumps occupied close positions, and that the later one replaced the earlier between 1814 and 1876.

# The additional clumps added since 1924 were not counted. Only one is shown on the 1970 OS 25" maps, and that is near the head of the valley running down to New Pool at SO 92708006. This is depicted in 1970 as a mixed planting of deciduous and fir trees. As the table shows the majority of the clumps were planted between 1876 and 1924, with the most intense planting taking places between 1876 and 1902.

Date of existencenumber of clumps added since last datetotal no of clumps
By 177711
By 18001*2
By 18761*2
By 188446
By 1902410
By 1924212
Since 1924not counted#not counted#

It is possible that the decline of traditional commoning on the hills from the 1930s has contributed to the gradual regeneration of woodland over much of the hills. This has speeded up considerably since the 1950s, and has been aided by deliberate plantings that began from 1953-54 (Kingsbury 1983, 15). In the meantime, the old boundaries on the common have become increasingly neglected.

Although much of the land on the boundaries of Clent Hill was still arable in 1838, this changed rapidly in the 20th century. With the death of the last Amphlett, and the handing over of the common to the National Trust in 1959, many of these boundaries fell out of use altogether. These lands were allowed to merge into the common. Without grazing animals to restrict regrowth the regeneration of woodland on Clent Hill has continued apace to the present.

On Walton Hill, the situation has been slightly different. Kingsbury (1983, 4) claims that this was always more wooded that Clent Hills, but the evidence of the tithe map does not support this. There were no more woodlands adjoining this common than at Clent Hill in 1838. Those that did exist (Brinks, Moor, and Round Meadow Coppices), were no different to Deep Wood on the opposite side of the valley below Clent Hill, in being private woodlands on the common edge. There is little evidence to support the notion that Walton Hill was more heavily wooded in the early 19th century. It is even possible that the continuation of traditional common usage here for longer than on Clent Hill may have kept regeneration at bay until a later date. Trees mentioned here in the 16th and 17th centuries may have been largely present on that part of the common enclosed on Calcot Hill in 1672.

Towards the end of the 19th century change begun to become apparent on Walton Hill. Former open farmland on Broomy Hill and Moor Meadow in 1838 had been planted up as Irongate Plantation and Moor's Plantation respectively by 1884 (OS 6" map, sheet IX NE, 1884). The woodlands on the northern slopes of this hill have continued to expand to the present day. The continued farming of High Harcourt Farm by National Trust tenants in recent years has ensured that less area of old farmland has been swallowed up by common than on the southern slopes of Clent Hill. Nevertheless, woodland has expanded since 1884 to form an almost continuous strip along the northern edge of Walton Hill.

The area presently known as the Arboretum, to the south-west of Deep Wood, contains a number of older trees that have an ornamental appearance to them. This area was covered by arable fields in 1838. If the 1884 OS map is accurate, planting had not started then. The first sign of any trees here is shown on the 1902 map. This seems to suggest that some deciduous trees had been planted along the south edge of the National Trust boundary to this area. By 1952 aerial photographs in the National Monuments Record shows a scattering of individual trees all over this area. One must assume that planting began here between 1884 and 1902, and was intensified probably soon after the latter date. The Ordnance Survey 25" map of 1924 (Worcestershire sheet IX.7) shows a scattering of conifers over the area, suggesting that the bulk of the arboretum planting was done between 1902 and 1924.

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8.11 The end of commoning and other local traditions

Free-ranging, commoned animals would have great difficulty co-existing with the type of tourism experienced at Clent in the 19th century. It is true that the local tenants were still trying to preserve their rights in the early years of the 20th century, but it must have been an uphill struggle.

The beginning of the end may be signalled by the issue of a summons of 19th April 1813 to all the commoners to a meeting to discuss the future use of the common. This meeting discussed the continuing regulation of common rights, in particular the pasturing of animals thereon. The notice mentions the need to address the problem of infectious and illegal animals being turned out to graze (HWRO BA 1065/18, p. 694). This may have been merely a continuing problem that all commons experience, but one feels that it may have been directed at the use of the common by people hiring horses and donkeys to tourists for riding. This had certainly become a problem by 1881, when it needed to be regulated, but it is possible that it had already begun before this date. The influx of these animals, which doubtless needed to be pastured while present, would have led to a number of unofficial animals being on the common and using its resources.

This obviously became worse over the course of the 19th century, and it became one of the reasons that the Regulation of 1881 was required. One suspects that many of the commoned animals were interfered with by tourists, causing them some distress, or even physical harm. It is hard to imagine that industrial labourers the worse for drink would not have tried to requisition commoned animals for a 'free' ride from time to time, or that sheep and cattle were not regularly worried by dogs.

It is possible that once the summer was over, animals could have grazed relatively peacefully on the common. On Walton Hill, commoning seems to have continued largely untroubled until the 1930s, but this was not all it could have been.

Nevertheless, stock density seems to have been maintained in the early years of the Conservators. In the spring of 1885 stock had declined from 22 to 17 ponies, 94 to 37 cattle, and 66 to 20 sheep. This may have simply been seasonal common sense of bringing animals in as the tourist numbers began to increase from Easter onwards. After June 1886 the numbers were back up again to 22 horses, 60 cattle and 64 sheep. In July 1888 there was a sudden increase of sheep from 87 to 314, and of cattle from 41 to 70. The reason for this was given as the poor condition of the fences on Walton Hill. By 1904 the Conservators were recording that excessive grazing was a problem, but from this high point commoning rapidly declined. By the 1930s the commons were being underused (Kingsbury 1983, 20). The Manor Courts, which had once regulated the commons, had largely ceased by 1900, although their role had been superseded to a certain extent by the Conservators.

Other land use of the common also declined with the growth of tourism. Little is known about the use of the common for quarrying or for collecting certain types of wood, but it can be assumed that these usages declined at Clent over the 19th century, as they did on commons everywhere. There was one particular local custom that is recorded as falling out of use by the 1850s. It is possible that this specific record reflects the general decline in non-grazing rights.

Amphlett's journals record that up until c. 1850,

'...fern was cut in quantity both on Clent and Walton Hill for the purpose of burning it. Fires were kindled all over the hills, and the fern was burnt while it was still quite young, the cutting beginning on St. James' Day, July 25th. The ashes were kneaded into balls as large as a man's two fists called "Essballs" and sold all over the country. "Ess" was the local pronunciation of the work "Ash" the holes underneath firegrates were called "Ess-holes"' (HWRO BA 1065/5, p. 104).

It was around this time that another age-old local tradition died out. Amphlett records that the 'beating of the bounds' of the manor had been preformed last when he was a boy c. 1850. This is a tradition dating back to the medieval period, where the boundaries of the local parish were walked annually to keep the knowledge alive in an age before maps. In Puritan times, the event became more formal, with the priest reading passages from the gospel at each boundary marker. The marks then became known in some parishes as the 'Bannering or Gospel Places'. Amphlett provides a transcription of the bounds or gospel places 'from an old book'. This is given as Amphlett Manuscript VI, page 62, but it seems that the original is now lost, like so many of the manuscripts that Amphlett records in his journals. Judging from the place-and personal names given, the bounds may be quite old, possibly pre-dating the first large-scale maps of the parish.

The bounds are worth giving in full. For long distances they follow the common boundaries around Clent and Walton Hills, and there seems to be some discrepancies that can not easily be explained around the old vill of Kelmestowe. This might suggest, as already discussed in section 7.7, that the boundary here is not the same as that shown on the tithe map of 1838.

  1. The bottom of the meadow at John Raybould's house.
  2. At the top of Mrs Pratts (now Mrs Smiths) Hagley, in the park near the Root-house.
  3. Cross on the oak tree in the middle of Shortwood Lane near the gate.
  4. At the ash tree in the further end of Shortwood Lane close to the Asps.
  5. At the bend in the hedge of Grayley below Harry Oxford's now William Oxford's close almost to James Clenley's house. NB About half an acre belonging to Mr James Clenley at the top of Grayley.
  6. Gospel Place; A cross made close to the arch near John Ballard's house at the Sheepwash called the HorseMed.
  7. Gospel Place; On the dresser in Calcot Hill House.
  8. So in Walton Lane at the oak tree near Mr John Higgs now Mr Bury's rickyard.
  9. Daw pool dam at Walton.
  10. To about the middle of Santhill parting Belboughton [sic] and Clent opposite CB cut in the rock.
  11. In C Boughton's bank (now John Hylle's) in Holy Cross. NB A cross at the turn as leads to this fieldhouse at the middle of the lawn.
  12. Gospel Place is in Thicknall Kitchen NB The Barnpiece near the Mile payable for Tythe being in the parish of Clent, 2 acres, a piece adjoining the pool at Johnson's (now Mr Smith's) Blake Mill.
  13. Gospel Place is at Damask Hall at the upper part of the garden hedge.
  14. At the cross made on Wigley's Mill. (HWRO BA 1065/5, pp. 194-95).

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9.0 Summary of historic land management and ecology

9.1 Arable

The research above has shown that the arable farming in Clent was largely undertaken on the better soils on lower ground to the west of the hills. Here a series of open fields seems to have developed, although there is little evidence for systematic three or four field systems found elsewhere in the Midlands. The open fields of Clent seem to have grown up in a more haphazard fashion, being the result of reaction to the local needs of the numerous hamlets making up the parish. Historically these seem to have been Over, Lower and Nether or Upper Clent, plus Holy Cross Walton Pool and Field House Farm. Besides these were other more distant hamlets at Calcot Hill and Kelmestowe.

It would seem that by the middle of the 14th century arable farming had expanded to cover even some of the difficult slopes on the hills. This is demonstrated by the grant Lord Burnell gave to the men of Clent c. 1400 confirming their rights to the common pasture on the hills. A number of commentators have taken this to suggest that lands on Clent Hills had been ploughed up before the Black Death, but had now reverted to common. The grant was required to formalise the return of this temporary arable to common (Nash 1781, xv; Amphlett 1907, 56).

There are also suggestions that the lands of the vill of Kelmestowe, on the eastern and northern slopes of the hills, were assarted out of a once larger common. These lands were converted to arable, probably by the later 13th century, when disputes over land in this area are recorded. Like many later assarts taken from former common and woodland, these lands were hedged enclosures, rather than communally owned fields like those to the west of the hills.

The arable land use of marginal lands adjoining the common seems to have continued well into the 19th and early 20th century. There are occasional records of the odd field being given back to the common, as in 1735 when Lord Lyttelton agreed to abandon four acres on Clent Hill in exchange for some land near Thicknall Farm (Amphlett 1907, 155). These lands could not have been easy to plough, often being on the steep sides of the hill. That they were not given back to the common until after the National Trust/County Council take-over in 1959 suggests that arable land had been consistently in short supply in Clent. Parts of High Harcourt Farm are still ploughed up today, but this is mainly to grow fodder for animals. In the main, arable land has declined drastically since the 1950s, much of it being converted to pasture, and in some cases, to woodland.

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9.2 Pasture

The pasturing of animals has long been an important part of the Clent economy. It would appear that this may have been in short supply before the Black Death in 1349 because of pressure on land for arable. It has been suggested that parts of Clent Hill had been ploughed up in the earlier medieval period.

There are a number of clues to suggest that the pasture lands of Clent were becoming a pressurised resource before 1349. In 1306 the men of Clent seem to have banded together to prevent the abbot of Halesowen from using the common. There are other hints mentioned above that in 1274 and 1292 they were acting communally to protect their interests against encroachment from 'outsiders'. Place-names like Westley, on the edge of the common, suggest that these settlements were originally assarted out of the old common. Field-names within High Harcourt Farm connecting it to Offmore Grange and the monks of Halesowen Abbey suggest that even this area may have been brought into cultivation from the common since the founding of Halesowen Abbey in 1215. If this was the case, it would seem that the commons on Walton Hill and Clent Hill may still have been connected as late as c. 1200.

The Court Rolls and other ancient records of Clent record the type of animals let out onto the common. These were mainly cattle and sheep. Earlier in the medieval period, it is possible that the emphasis may have been on the keeping of cattle, but by the 16th century at the latest, this had changed. By this time sheep were the dominant animals, at an estimated ratio of about ten to one.

With the coming of tourism to Clent from the later 18th century, there would seem to have been greater number of horses kept on the common. In particular horse and donkey rides for the tourists were popular in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. Tourism made the traditional pasturing of animals more difficult, but it would seem that until at least 1904 the farmers of Clent persisted in the use of the commons for their animals. This had virtually stopped by the 1950s.

There would appear to have been considerably less enclosed pasture compared to arable outside the common in 1838. This suggests that enclosed land was kept largely for arable use, with the commons being used to pasture animals. The exceptions were the enclosed fields alongside streams. Many of these were used for meadows, and were used as pasture once the hay crop was taken off. Others, perhaps, less suitable for meadow, are listed as 'pasture', but these enclosures were relatively rare, and were often fields that, for topographical reasons, were often unsuited to other land uses. Since the 1950s the greater bulk of the meadow lands still enclosed within the National Trust estate have changed over to pasture grazing.

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9.3 Meadow

Considering the lack of substantial streams in Clent, significant use was made of streamside land as meadow. The importance of the hay crop to rural communities before the present is well attested (Brunskill 1987, 23-24). At Clent, it seems that the tenants had special procedures to increase the hay yield that seems to have pre-empted the creation of later post-medieval watermeadows.

The damming of the stream in King's Meadow by Richard Sparry in 1530 to flood his meadow seems to be a crude harbinger of more organised watermeadows. The latter were not thought to have been invented in England until c. 1600, but the tenants of Clent seem to have had their own meadow flooding system before that. According to Amphlett (1907, 78) the tenants had a custom whereby they were allowed to flood their meadows for six days at a time between Pentecost and Michaelmas. Such custom seems very close to the procedure of watermeadow flooding in southern chalk stream valleys in the later post-medieval period.

The cutting of hay meadows in Clent seems to have ceased by the 1950s. Whatever the customs recorded in the 16th century Court Rolls, meadows do not seem to have been flooded in living memory.

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9.4 Woodland

There are two early records that suggest that there was once a considerable area of woodland within Clent. The first is the Domesday record that states that there is two leagues of woodland in the manor. This can probably be taken to indicate that there was woodland six miles in circumference. The second record is the legend of the martyrdom of St. Kenelm, probably first written down in the 12th century. This states that the saint's body was found in a wood called Clent Wood that lay in a valley between two large hills. The hills are clearly Clent and Walton Hills. This suggests that 'woodland' once stretched right over the later commons, and crossed the valley between them. This would tie in well with a wood six miles in circumference. As Rackham (1986, 121-22) has argued, the term 'woodland' in Norman times often meant woodland pasture. This would suggest that the later commons were at least partly wooded in 1086, and that the valley between was still woodland. It has been suggested that much of this was probably cleared over the course of the 12th and 13th centuries to create a reasonably substantial, but possibly scattered, settlement that was called Kelmestowe.

Land was used reasonably intensely throughout the history of Clent, and this led to reduction of woodland areas to the minimum necessary to sustain the local economy. Some woodland seems to have survived on Walton Hill into the 16th and 17th centuries as there are complaints about the excessive cutting of this resource by William Underhill in the years before 1608 (Amphlett 1907, 113). Oak, ash, beech and holly are all mentioned as growing on the hill at this time, although this was probably mainly on the part later enclosed as the share of Clent Church Manor c. 1672. According to the tithe map there was only a limited area within the National Trust estate that were held as private woods in 1838. These were Moor Coppice (3 acres, 2 rods, 8 perches), Round Meadow Coppice (3 rods, 11 perches), and part of Brinks Coppice (1 acre, 1 rod, 24 perches) on the north side of Walton Hill, and Deep Wood (5 acres, 1 rod, 37 perches) on the south side of Clent Hill (HWRO BA 1572).

The area covered by woodland has increased considerably since that time, as many of the traditional land uses on the estate were gradually abandoned. By 1884 two new plantations had been created on the north side of Walton Hill from former farmland at Moor's Plantation and Irongate Plantation. Since 1884 woodland on the northern side of Walton Hill has expanded considerably to cover almost the entire slope.

Planting on Clent Hill had begun in the late 18th century, with the addition of small clumps to ornament the view from Hagley Hall. These were slowly added to over the 19th century, but the hill was still largely open countryside when the National Trust/County Council took it over in 1959. Planting on the former farmlands on the southern slopes was begun between 1884 and 1902. This expanded further after 1902, with much replanting in the 1950s. Details of this is given in Table 3 below. Further planting was undertaken in the 1960s, including the planting of two acres of wood near the Four Stones in 1968. Nevertheless, the bulk of the woodland on the southern slopes has appeared through natural regeneration, following the abandoned of traditional land use there. Since 1959 there has been regeneration on other parts of the hill, and scattered trees and bracken are now the predominant cover on Clent Hill.

The present woodlands on the estate are mainly conifer plantations. Where trees have regenerated naturally oak is the most common species, with birch and beech also locally common.

Table 3: date of creation of woodlands on NT property

Name of wooddate of creationtype (predominant*)source
*Please note that these designations are as shown on historic maps, not present conditions.
# dated 1838
Moors Coppicepre-1838deciduoustithe map#
Brinks Coppicepre-1838deciduoustithe map#
Round Meadow Copsepre-1838deciduoustithe map#
Deep Woodpre-1838deciduoustithe map#
Irongate Plantation1838-1884conifer1884 OS map
Moors Plantation1838-1884conifer1884 OS map
Deep Wood (extended southwards)1838-1884mixed1884 OS map
Gaplow Grove (south)1884-1902mixed1902 OS map
Deep Wood (extended southwards again)1884-1902conifer1902 OS map
Stones Cover (south side only)1884-1902conifer1902 OS map
Arboretum (southern edge only)1884-1902deciduous1902 OS map
Nag Hill1884-1902mixed1902 OS map
Irongate Cover (east part)1902-24conifer1924 OS map
Fourstones Covert1902-24conifer1924 OS map
Stones Cover (north side)1902-24conifer1924 OS map
Arboretum (rest)1902-24conifer1924 OS map
Gaplow Grove (north)1924-54conifer1954 OS map
Irongate Cover (west part)1954-70conifer1970 OS map
Wood SW of Fourstones Covertsince 1950?conifer1970 OS map

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9.5 Other land uses

This research has shown that the common was used for a number of other resources besides pasture and wood products such as timber and underwood. The most important of these was the collection of ferns for animal bedding and burning, and the digging of quarries. The latter has left the most obvious visual trace. Old quarries, usually on a small-scale, are frequently found throughout the National Trust estate. They are most commonly located alongside entrances to the common, where ease of access was probably an important factor in their siting. The use of ferns in the rural economy has left virtually no trace, although the burning of the 'crop' in situ to make a distinctive local fuel called 'Ess Balls', which continued until c. 1850, could mean that there might be quantities of burnt stone and flint to be found on the hills. This latter material is often taken as a sign of prehistoric activity, and the possibility of finding large deposits on the hills through this much later activity could confuse the archaeological record.

Finally, the men of Clent seem to have been particularly fond of damming streams to form ponds for various purposes. Many of those surviving outside the estate have been interpreted as millponds, some possibly associated with scythe-makers' forges, but many may have been more mundane fishponds. There is only one that survives on the present estate, and that is the so-called New Pool on the west side of Clent Hill. This seems to have originated as an ornamental fishpond in the later 18th century, utilising one of the many small springs that originate on the local hillsides.

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10.0 Recommendations for general management, further survey and research

No survey can ever be complete. It is inevitable that new archives and new sites will be discovered with the passage of time. Furthermore, one can not expect estate managers to take in too much detail at once. This report has done its best to try to highlight the more important aspects of Clent's development. Inevitably there are areas where more detail could have been given if there was further time allowed, but a survey needs to have a sensible deadline to ensure the final document is produced with a reasonable period. It is, therefore, the purpose of this section to suggest areas where further survey and research might be undertaken, and make recommendations for general management.

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10.1 Management recommendations

10.1.1 Integrity of the estate

Recommendation: Management should try to ensure that the integrity of the estate as a whole is preserved.

This goes beyond retaining the land as a single unit, but includes the preservation of all the features within it, not just those that are obviously historic such as the buildings. Old tracks, hedgerows and even old trees are as important in a landscape as historic buildings.

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10.1.2 Trees

Recommendation: Historic recognition of trees should be extended to include all historic trees, including those not planted as part of designed landscaping.

The difference with trees in non-designed areas is that they do not necessarily need replacing if they die. It is often preferable that areas of historic woodland are allowed to regenerate naturally. What is required of management, however, is that practices should not be adopted that will accidentally damage historic trees. This includes considerations such as the inappropriate siting of future car parks in areas where the cars will cause root compaction to historic trees.

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10.1.3 Hedgerows

Recommendation: Historic hedgerows and boundaries should be respected.

Some of the hedgerows on the Clent estate are of great antiquity. These should be vigorously preserved, both as habitats and as historical boundary alignments. Where hedgerow trees are lost through natural causes, the management should consider their replacement. Care should be taken to ensure replacements are in keeping with the original hedge. Such statements may be obvious, but exotic species, even when they are closely related cultivars to native species, should not be encouraged.

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10.1.4 Trackways

Recommendation: Historic trackways should be respected.

The ancient trackways of the Clent estate are probably its oldest features. It could be argued that the old tracks leading out to commoned areas date to at least Saxon times, if not earlier. It is vital that they should not be harmed in any way. Diversions of old tracks for the convenience of motor vehicles should be particularly resisted.

Unfortunately, many of Clent's old trackways have long been converted to modern usage, often giving them inappropriate surfaces, and constructing barriers to motorised use on them. In many cases, this can be dated back to the popular use of the common in the 19th century, although the majority of it was probably carried out during the management of Hereford and Worcester County Council as a Country Park. There is little that can be done about much of this now, but undisturbed tracks should not be given this treatment in future.

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10.1.5 Motorised vehicles

Recommendation: The use of non-essential motorised vehicles on the estate should be restricted.

This recommendation follows on from 10.1.4. Clearly the Trust's staff need to have access to certain areas, but the indiscriminate use of heavy motor vehicles can be devastating for archaeological remains. In particular heavy tractors and tracked vehicles carrying out forestry work can cause much damage to earthworks in woodland, as well as to the fragile nature of the ancient trackways on the estate. It is recommended that should such vehicles be needed in the future they should keep to existing tracks, and not wander indiscriminately over potentially undisturbed areas. There should be clearly defined restrictions on non-essential vehicles using certain unmade tracks.

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10.1.6 Staff awareness

Recommendation: All staff should be made aware of the need to report incidents likely to have impact on the historic aspects of the landscape.

The management should ensure that all staff should be aware of the need to protect the historic landscape and potential archaeological sites. This awareness needs to be extended to all field staff, especially those working out on the estate. The management might consider the need to extend this to tenant farmers. It is recommended that all outdoor staff, and possibly certain tenants, should attend an awareness meeting or lecture at regular intervals. Correctly organised, this only need to take up about 1.5 hours every two or three years, depending on staff turnover.

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10.1.7 Farming practices

Recommendation: Farming practices should be monitored for impact on archaeological sites.

The management should be aware of any changes in current practice proposed by tenant farmers. Such changes should be reported to the Archaeological Advisers at Cirencester where a decision on the need for action can be taken. Any changes in ploughing techniques, the alteration of land use, or new drainage measures should be reported as a matter of course.

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10.1.8 Forestry practices

Forestry practices should be monitored for archaeological impact.

The creation of new commercial timber areas can have wide-ranging effects on both the local ecology and archaeology. Any proposals in this area of work need to be reported to the Archaeological Advisers at Cirencester, who will decide if action needs to be taken. It is to be noted that forestry practises in areas let out to outside contractors can be particularly inappropriate for land held in trust for the nation. For example, the report on the Vyne estate in Hampshire was critical of the Forestry Commission's management of part of that estate (Currie 1994). All outside contractors in this area of work should be carefully monitored.

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10.1.9 Historic buildings at High Harcourt Farm

These buildings appear to be of late 18th or early 19th century date, but they may have earlier origins. They should be treated as historic buildings. These recommendations apply to the farmhouse, and the two ranges of brick farm buildings to the SW. Other farm buildings on the site are much later, and do not presently need to be treated as historic building, although this will obviously change with the passage of years. Until more is known about the earlier buildings at High Harcourt, the following programme should be followed for their future management and recording:

  1. Any modifications or repairs affecting these structures should be preceded by an archaeological/analytical survey. This should include a basic plan, and where appropriate sections and elevations, at a scale of at least 1:50, supported by written descriptions and photographs. Photographs should be taken in both colour and monochrome or slide; the latter for long-term archival purposes.
  2. Subsequent opportunities arising to record historic fabric during repair work should be taken to supplement this record. Details of any new repair work should be recorded and added to this entry in the Sites and Monuments Record.
  3. Historical fabric should not be removed from these buildings or their environs without consulting the archaeological advisers at Cirencester.
  4. Should below ground excavation be undertaken in the vicinity of these buildings, advice should be sought from the archaeological advisers at Cirencester.
  5. Repairs should be undertaken with appropriate period materials. Modern substitutes should not be used.
  6. PVC and similar plastic window frames and doors are not suitable for National Trust vernacular buildings. If present, these should be replaced at the most convenient opportunity.
  7. Re-roofing should take account of any original insulation used within the building. This should not be removed without prior consultation with the archaeological advisers at Cirencester. e.g. there have been instances on other estates where straw insulation in roofs has been removed without recording.
  8. Repointing of masonry should be done with lime-based mortar. Generally, cement-based mortars should be avoided on historic buildings.

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10.1.10 Walton Hill

The management should be aware that although there are numerically more archaeological sites on Clent Hill, Walton Hill is the less damaged landscape. The management should consider ways to protect the integrity of Walton Hill against erosion resulting from visitor pressure. Methods should be considered that ease visitor pressure on areas where the best examples of the relict common grassland survive.

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10.2 Further survey

The type of archaeological and historic sites discovered at Clent are not those that are most easily given to formal surveying. Nevertheless there are some areas where continued monitoring would be beneficial. In so doing these works, it is possible that further sites might be discovered to add to our knowledge of Clent's development, particularly in the earlier periods. The recommendations here are as follows:

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10.2.1 Historic buildings

Recommendation: Detailed recording of historic buildings in advance of any structural alterations. See section 8.1.9.

This is obvious for estates where the centrepiece is a country house, but recording should be extended to cover all vernacular buildings of historic interest on the estate. Those buildings that may conceal evidence of earlier structures should be carefully recorded. In particular, High Harcourt Farm should be given special attention if the opportunity arises. This should include the ancillary farm buildings associated with this site.

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10.2.2 Ground disturbance

Recommendation: Recording of ground disturbances around the estate where appropriate

Should any services need installing or other works that require ground disturbance, monitoring of the trenches should be considered. To avoid wasting resources exploring areas where there is no reason to suspect archaeological remains, the management is advised to consult the archaeological advisers at Cirencester for guidance. In particular, this work may prove useful adjacent to any historic building.

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10.2.3 Arable farmland

Recommendation: A monitoring programme of the evidence revealed by ploughing.

The discovery of prehistoric sites through observations made after ploughing frequently demonstrates continuity of land use back into the prehistoric periods. The fields ploughed at Clent that were available for field scan during this survey may have been only a representative selection of those ploughed over a longer period. If more fields are ploughed in the future, it might be useful to monitor the disturbed soil for evidence of man's past activities.

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10.2.4 The estate woodlands

Recommendation: A continuing monitoring programme for the estate woodlands.

The extent of the woodland, and the variability of the ground cover there, has only allowed a restricted walk-over of the area. A continuing monitoring programme of the common under different conditions could continue to reveal archaeological sites missed during this survey. In particular the examination of root boles following the falling of trees after high winds can often reveal evidence for sites. Should any occurrences of uprooting of trees during high winds occur in future, it is recommended that the soils revealed be examined. This policy can be extended to cover all trees so threaten within the estate, whether in woodland or otherwise.

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10.3 Further research

Areas that would benefit from further research include the following:

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10.3.1 Further searches for previously unrecorded medieval and early post-medieval documents

It is possible that further research amongst the numerous Court Rolls surviving for Clent could recover useful information. It is highly recommended that a thorough search is made, although the time required would make the cost prohibitive for a professional researcher. This work may only be attempted if a suitable volunteer, with a knowledge of medieval Latin and early post-medieval calligraphy, can be found.

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10.3.2 Further research on pictorial evidence for Clent

It is highly likely that there are a number of unseen pictures and photographs of Clent in private collections. Continuing searches are sure to reveal more of these that could contribute to our understanding of the later history of Clent.

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10.3.3 Newspaper articles

Again, a thorough search of newspaper articles was beyond the brief of this work. This might be useful for the period when the common was a resort of tourists from the later 18th century. As with the Court Rolls, the time factor makes this research impracticable for professional researchers. It is considered that it could make a useful project for a volunteer, or group of volunteers.

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10.3.4 Oral history

Although oral testimony must always be viewed critically, it can be of use. It is possible that there are only a few years left to collect the testimony of those local people who remember Clent earlier this century. It is important to collect this information before it is too late. Again this would make a useful project for a volunteer.

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11.0 Archive

The archaeological inventory contained in volume 2 of this report is but a summary of a more detailed record kept on the National Trust archaeological database at their Estates Advisory Office at 33 Sheep Street, Cirencester (see below). All original photographs taken were sent to the archaeology section at Cirencester.

Copies of this report were deposited at:

Severn Regional Office at Mythe End House, Tewkesbury, Glos., GL20 6EB

NT Estates Advisory Office, 33 Sheep St., Cirencester, Glos, GL7 1QW

County Sites and Monuments Record, Hereford & Worcester County Council Archaeology Service, Tolladine Road, Worcester, WR4 9NB

National Monuments Record, Swindon, Wiltshire

Hereford & Worcester County Record Office, St. Helens Church, Worcester

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12.0 Acknowledgements

Sincere thanks are given to all those involved with this project. These are, amongst the staff of the National Trust, Mark Armstrong, the Land Agent for the property; the late Christopher Weaver, the Property Warden at the time of the survey; Clare Norman, the Assistant Historic Buildings Representative for the Severn Region, and Philip Claris, Archaeological Advisor to the National Trust with responsibility for Clent Hills.

Kate Ahern of Land Use Consultants provided information from their work on the property, particularly that relating to the designed landscape. Robin Whitaker and the staff of the Worcester Record Office at St. Helens, Worcester were, as always, a source of much help and expertise.

The author is also grateful to local archaeologist, Tom Pagett, who provided the author with much useful information gleaned from his own researches, and many years' familiarity with the area.

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13.0 References

13.1 Original sources

In the Hereford and Worcester Record Office:

Maps:

BA 1947/2, ref. 705:335, Map of Clent Grove estate, late 18th century?

BA 1572, ref. S570/238, Tithe map and award for Clent, 1838

BA 1572, ref. 760/533, Tithe map and award for Romsley, 1839

BA 5467/20, ref. 705:658, Map of Lyttelton estates in Hagley and Clent, 1864

BA 1064/6, ref. 705:53, Map of Clent Hill Common, November 1879

BA 4600/1012, ref. 705:550, Map of Amphlett estates in Clent, not dated, 19th century?

Ordnance survey maps:

Worcester 6" sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheet, IX.8 (1902); sheets IX. 7 (1924), IX.8 (1923)

Manuscript sources:

BA 1064/6, ref. 705:53, Particular and valuation of Amphlett estates, 1804

BA 1065/1-27, ref. 899.118, John Amphlett's transcriptions of historical materials relating to Clent, c. 1880-1918

BA 4600/664, ref 705:550, Collis v Amphlett, John Amphlett's statement, c. 1917

BA 4600/639, ref. 705:550, Judgment of Mr Justice Younger and others in the case, Collis v Amphlett, bound volume with annotated maps 1881-1917 in back pocket

BA 8286, ref. 899:118, Further notes, extracts from documents, transcripts, and cuttings from original deeds relating to local history made by John Amphlett, c. 1880-1918

Original sources in the National Trust Regional Office, Mythe End House, Tewkesbury

Ordnance Survey maps IX.7 (1924), IX.8 (1923), IX.11 (1924); Plan SO 9279-9379 (1968), SO 9280-9380 (1968), SO 9479-9579 (1968)

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13.2 Original sources in print

In the Public Record Office:

CR, Calendar of Close Rolls, 60 vols., HMSO, London, 1902-63

Fine Rolls, Calendar of Fine Rolls, 22 vols., HMSO, London

Cal. of Inq. Misc., Calendar of Inquisitions Miscellaneous, 7 vols., HMSO, London, 1916-68

IPM, Calendar of Inquisitions Post Mortem, 20 vols., HMSO, London, 1904-95

PR, Calendar of Patent Rolls, 73 vols, HMSO, London, 1901-86

Published by the William Salt Archaeological Society:

Anon., 'Hearth Tax, Staffordshire, 1666', Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, New Series Vol. for 1923 (published 1924)

S A M Burne (ed.), The Staffordshire Quarter Session Rolls, part. 1, 1581-89, Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Volume for 1929 (published 1931)

S A M Burne (ed.), The Staffordshire Quarter Session Rolls, vol. 2, 1590-93, Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Volume for 1930 (published 1932)

S A M Burne (ed.), The Staffordshire Quarter Session Rolls, vol. 4, 1598-1602, Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Volume for 1935 (published 1936)

W K Boyd (ed.), Muster Roll, Staffordshire, 1539', Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, New Series Vol. VI, part 1, 61-88

W K Boyd (ed.), 'Final Concords or Pedes Finium, Staffordshire', Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, New Series Vol. VII (1904), 191-236

W K Boyd (ed.), 'Final Concords or Pedes Finium, Staffordshire', Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, New Series Vol. X, part 1 (1907), 11-70

W K Boyd (ed.), 'Elizabethan Chancery Proceedings, Series II, 1558-79' pp. 121-231, Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Volume for 1931 (published 1933)

W K Boyd (ed.), 'Elizabethan Chancery Proceedings, Series II, 1558-79' pp. 3-201, Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Volume for 1938 (published 1939)

L M Midgley (ed.), 'Some Staffordshire Poll Tax Returns' in H W Greenslade (ed.), Essays in Staffordshire history presented to S A H Burne, Collections for a history of Staffordshire 4th series, vol. 6 (1970), 1-25

G Wrottesley (ed.), 'Plea Rolls...', Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Vol. III (1882), pp. 1-163; Vol. IV (1883), pp. 1-215; Vol. VI, part 1 (1885); Vol. XII, part 1 (1891), pp. 1-173, New Series Vol. IV (1901), 93-212

G Wrottesley (ed.), 'Subsidy Roll of 6 Edward III, AD 1332-33', Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Vol. X, part 1 (1889)

Elsewhere

F & C Thorn (ed.), Domesday Book. Worcestershire, Chichester, 1982

W Timmings, A guide to Clent Hills, Halesowen, 1836 (2nd ed.)

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13.3 Secondary sources

J Amphlett, A short history of Clent, London, 1907 (reprinted by the Clent History Society, Brownhills, 1991)

J Blair, Early medieval Surrey. Landholding, church and settlement before 1300, Stroud, 1991

E Blocksidge, Clent described and illustrated, 1910, British Library no. BL 010352.de.8

A T Bolton, 'Hagley Hall, Worcestershire', Country Life, October 16th 1915, pp. 520-28

R W Brunskill, Traditional farm buildings of Britain, London, 1987 (1st edition, 1982)

Clent History Society (ed.), Clent remembered. An armchair ramble, Clent, 1988

C K Currie, 'Medieval settlement in the Upper Wallington Valley in Hampshire', Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, 13 (1990), 17-20

C K Currie, 'Saxon charters and landscape evolution in the south-central Hampshire Basin', Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, 50 (1994), 103-25

C K Currie, Polesden Lacey and Ranmore Common estates, near Dorking, Surrey: an archaeological and historical survey, unpublished private report to the Southern Region of the National Trust, 1996

C K Currie, 'Compton Bassett, Wiltshire: diversity and change in a landscape' Wiltshire Archaeological Magazine, forthcoming a, 1997

English Heritage, English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens, London

English Heritage, The management of archaeological projects, London, 1992, revised edition

H S Glazebrook, 'Barons of Dudley', Collections for a history of Staffordshire, Kendal, Vol. IX, part 2 (1888), 1-152

W Harris, Clentine Rambles or a companion to the hills of Clent, Halesowen, 1845

W Harris, A handbook for excursionists. The excursionist's penny guide to the Clent Hills..., Halesowen, 1878

N J Higham, 'Settlement, land use, and Domesday ploughlands', Landscape History, 12 (1990), 33-44

Institute of Field Archaeologists, Standard and guidance for archaeological desk-based assessments, Birmingham, 1993

G Jackson-Stops, Hagley Hall, 1979

J G Kingsbury, The historical geography of the Clent Hills Country Park, unpublished report to Hereford & Worcester County Council, 1983

W Lyttelton, Physical geography and geology of the district [of Clent] (1868)

O Manning & W Bray, The history and antiquities of the County of Surrey, 3 vols., London, 1804-14 (reprinted Wakefield, 1974)

W Matthews, The flora of the Clent Hills, 1868

W Matthews, The flora of the Clent and Lickey Hills, 1881

A Mawer & F M Stenton, The place-names of Worcestershire, Cambridge, 1969

G Nares, 'Hagley Hall, Worcestershire - I', Country Life, Sept. 19th 1957 (1957a), pp. 546-49

G Nares, 'Hagley Hall, Worcestershire - II', Country Life, Sept. 26th 1957 (1957b), pp. 608-11

T Nash, Collections for the history of Worcestershire, 2 vols., London, 1781

T Pagett, The carve up of Clent, unpublished typescript, 1996

N Pevsner, The buildings of England: Worcestershire, Harmonsworth, 1968

O Rackham, The history of the countryside, London, 1986

J Richardson, The local historian's encyclopedia, New Barnet, 1974

Stebbing Shaw, The history and antiquities of Staffordshire, Stafford, 1976 (reprint of original published 1798-1801)

G S Taylor, 'Excavations of a twelfth-century kiln and a twelfth-thirteenth-century hut site', Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society 72 (1954), 10-13

D G Watts, 'Peasant discontent on the manors of Titchfield Abbey, 1245-1405', Proceedings of the Hampshire field Club and Archaeological Society, 39 (1983), 121-36

J W Willis-Bund (ed), The Victoria History of the County of Worcester, vol. 3, London, 1913

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13.4 Other sources:

Hereford and Worcester County Council Sites and Monuments Record (SMR), c/o County Archaeological Service, Worcester

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Appendix 1: Key to tithe map field numbers

1) From the Clent tithe map and award

Tithe map field name and number: Pool, 303

NGR (centred on): SO 92588005     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-1-4

Land use in 1838: water

Surviving boundaries?: all survive

First mention in documentary record: late 18th century?

Outline history:

Shown on map of Clent Grove Estate thought to be late 18th century, as 'New Pool', suggesting that it was made as part of late 18th century ornamentation of the surrounds of the Clent Grove Estate. At the time of the tithe map (1838) it was considered part of that estate, owned by Elizabeth and Mary Liell, and not part of the common, which it has now become.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1947/2 map of Clent Grove estate, late 18th C?; HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions:

Pleasant pool still in much the same condition as when made. Some silting up near feeder entry, but this is not too bad considering. At time of visit in early May, there was only a limited amount of weed present. Local people use it presently for angling.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: House, shop & garden, 348Seaborne access was crucial in times of siege, and although the waters of Tremadog Bay have receded over the centuries, they may originally have lapped the cliffs beneath the castle.

NGR (centred on): SO 93238024     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-0-35

Land use in 1838: not given

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: about 1800

Outline history:

Timmings (1836, 22-23) writes that the cottage here was the home of blind poet c. 1800, who held it rent free from Lord Lyttelton. It is reputed to be an 'old enclosure', possibly dating back well beyond memory even in 1800. It became known as the Ranger's Cottage, presumably the home of the Common Ranger that was appointed by the Conservators following Regulation in 1881. It has been pulled down since 1959.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

HWRO BA 1064/6 map of Common, 1879; Timmings 1836, 22-24.

Present conditions:

Site is now overgrown by clump of trees; it is difficult to see any evidence that there was once a house here without being shown the exact spot, where there are a few bricks lying hidden in the undergrowth.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Garden, 349

NGR (centred on): SO 93168007     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-0-28

Land use in 1838: not given

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Shown on the tithe map, and most subsequent maps. The boundaries are still visible although it has been allowed to merge into the common since 1959.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions:

Heavily overgrown with nettles and some brambles.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Deep Wood, 350

NGR (centred on): SO 93208000     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 5-1-37

Land use in 1838: wood

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Private woodland on the southern edge of the Clent Hill Common, owned by the Lytteltons of Hagley Hall in 1838. It was still shown as a separate enclosure in the 1950s, when the wood was cleared and replanted. Since the National Trust/County Council took it over in 1959 the boundaries have not been maintained, and it has been allowed to merge into the common. Old boundary banks can still be traced for the most part.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions:

Maturing woodland containing both deciduous and conifer trees.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Dark Pool Grove, 351

NGR (centred on): SO 93257985     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 5-2-39

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?:

Southern boundary survives as NT boundary, rest survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Formerly farmland, this has been allowed to merge with the common since 1959. It is currently regenerating as woodland, with many young trees present. There are a number of apparently ornamental trees within this area, and it is known as the arboretum today. The date of the planting of these trees is not entirely clear. The only evidence available comes from the large-scale OS maps. If these can be taken as reliable it would seem that some deciduous trees had come into being along the southern boundary of the area between 1884 and 1902. Further trees, mainly conifers, seem to have been planted within the rest of the area between 1902 and 1924. By 1952, when we have a good air photograph of the area, the locale is scattered about with mature trees within grassland. The infilling by younger scrub woodland has occurred since this date.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924); National Monuments Record, air photograph SO9378/2 (1952)

Present conditions:

Regenerating woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Middle Piece, 361

NGR (centred on): SO 93127980     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 2-0-2

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Shown on tithe map, it was formerly farmland. Since 1959 the boundaries have not been maintained, and it has merged into the common. Planted as woodland between 1884 and 1902.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions:

Maturing woodland, dominated by conifers.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Far Piece, 362

NGR (centred on): SO 93107980     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 1-3-36

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?:

Southern boundary survives as NT boundary, rest survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Former farmland that has been allowed to merge into the common since 1959. Northern edge encroached by woodland between 1838 and 1884. Rest planted as woodland between 1884 and 1902.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions:

Maturing woodland, dominated by conifers.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Sling, 363

NGR (centred on): SO 93088000     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-3-6

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Former farmland that has been allowed to merge with the common since 1959. Incorporated into Deep Wood between 1838 and 1884.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: The Grove, 364

NGR (centred on): SO 93008000     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 4-1-36

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Former farmland that has been allowed to merge with the common since 1959. Became woodland between 1924 and 1954.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland, dominated by conifers.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: The Grove, 365

NGR (centred on): SO 93007985     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 4-0-12

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Former farmland that has been allowed to merge with the common since 1959. Became woodland between 1924 and 1954.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions:

Woodland, dominated by conifers.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Gaplow Grove, 366

NGR (centred on): SO 92907973     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 5-0-1

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?:

SE boundary survives as boundary of NT property, rest survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Former farmland allowed to merge with common since 1959. Became mixed woodland between 1884 and 1902.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions:

Woodland dominated by conifers.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Pleck, 367

NGR (centred on): SO 92977966     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-1-27

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Former farmland allowed to merge with common since 1959.

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: scrub woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Sling, 368

NGR (centred on): SO 92987969     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches):

Land use in 1838:

Surviving boundaries?:

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Former farmland that has been allowed to merge into the common since 1959, now woodland

References to field:

HWRO Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Nag Hill, 404

NGR (centred on): SO 93167941     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 4-1-6

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?:

All survive as NT boundary, except SE that survives as an earthwork only.

First mention in documentary record: 1530

Outline history:

Mentioned in the Court Rolls for 1530 when it was held by William Hert (HWRO BA 1065/17). It was arable land in 1838 owned by the Trustees of the Dudley family. The 1884 OS 6" map still seems to show it as an open field, but by the 1902 map it is shown as mixed woodland (deciduous and conifer trees marked). Since 1959 it has merged into the common on Walton Hill.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924) .

HWRO BA 1065/17, extracts from Court Rolls.

Present conditions: mature woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Big Brinks, 413

NGR (centred on): SO 93557992     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-2-16

Land use in 1838: meadow

Surviving boundaries?: all survive

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

There is a field called Broken Brinks mentioned in the Court Rolls in 1616, but its relationship to this field is not known. The field was meadow in 1838 under the ownership of John Price, and is now pasture grazing.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1924)

HWRO BA 1065/9, p. 805

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Brick Hill, 414

NGR (centred on): SO 93557975     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-3-26

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: all survive

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Arable in 1838, it is now used as pasture for sheep and cattle. Mary Raybould owned and occupied it in 1838.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Brinks Coppice, 415

NGR (centred on): SO 93607985     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 1-1-24

Land use in 1838: wood

Surviving boundaries?: all survive except E, which survives as an earthwork only.

First mention in documentary record:

Outline history:

Broken Brinks is mentioned in the Court Rolls of 1616, but it is not known if it is connected with this field. By 1884 it had been subdivided into two copses, that on the east being marked 'Hipkin's Coppice' in 1902. It is still subdivided, only the western Brinks Coppice being in National Trust hands. John Price owned and occupied in 1838.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1924)

Present conditions:

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Round Meadow Coppice, 417

NGR (centred on): SO 94007982     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-3-11

Land use in 1838: wood

Surviving boundaries?:

Southern boundary only survives, rest survives as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Woodland in 1838, it has been incorporated into woodland that has expanded along the north side of Walton Hill since 1959. It was owned by Mary Raybould in 1838.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: conifer dominated woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Round Meadow, 418

NGR (centred on): SO 93957975     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 6-0-7

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all survive?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Unchanged since first shown on tithe map.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Moor Meadow, 420

NGR (centred on): SO 93667970     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 10-3-24

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?:

SW and NE now NT boundary, NW survives as field boundary, rest survives as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Pasture owned by John Amphlett in 1838, the eastern part of the field had been divided off for a plantation by 1884. This is shown as mixed woodland with deciduous and conifer trees in 1902. It remains mixed woodland today. Only the woodland part of this field is in National Trust hands today.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Moores Coppice, 421

NGR (centred on): SO 93587954     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-2-28

Land use in 1838: wood

Surviving boundaries?:

Part of NW boundary acts as NT boundary, rest survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Amphlett estate woodland in 1838, it has remained wooded until the present day.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Hanging Earls, 554

NGR (centred on): SO 94258000     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 7-0-12

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?:

NW survives as field boundary, rest survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

This land was arable owned by Francis Durant and farmed by Edward Waldron in 1838. It has reverted to scrub woodland and scrub since 1959.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: scrub

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Mawkesmoor, 555

NGR (centred on): SO 94208010     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 14-0-8

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all survive?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

This land was arable owned by John Amphlett in 1838. It is now part of High Harcourt Farm.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Offmoor Lands, 556

NGR (centred on): SO 93928005     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 5-1-21

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: NW and NE only, rest survives as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Offmoor was a grange of Halesowen Abbey in the medieval period. The grange is mentioned in 1302 when Margery of Kelmestowe was sent by the 'reaper' at the grange to have some iron 'worked up' in Clent (HWRO BA 1065/5, p. 32). Pagett (1996, 4) considers that the use of the name here suggests that the monks of Halesowen cleared these lands from waste. The main text of the report argues that although this can not be conclusively proved, there are indications that this is possible, although the name Offmoor in Clent is not mentioned before 1838.

The fields here were swallowed up into woodland after 1959.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924) ; Pagett 1996, 4.

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Offmoor Land, 557

NGR (centred on): SO 94038000     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 5-3-10

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: NE only, rest survives as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Offmoor was a grange of Halesowen Abbey in the medieval period. The grange is mentioned in 1302 when Margery of Kelmestowe was sent by the 'reaper' at the grange to have some iron 'worked up' in Clent (HWRO BA 1065/5, p. 32). Pagett (1996, 4) considers that the use of the name here suggests that the monks of Halesowen cleared these lands from waste. The main text of the report argues that although this can not be conclusively proved, there are indications that this is possible, although the name Offmoor in Clent is not mentioned before 1838.

The fields here were converted to woodland plantation between 1902 and 1924.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924) ; Pagett 1996, 4.

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Broomy Hill, 558

NGR (centred on): SO 94157984     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 9-1-17

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, this former arable was on the side of a hill, and possibly difficult to work. It gradually converted to woodland. Irongate Plantation in the southern third is first shown in 1884. It expended to cover the rest of the field between 1902 and 1924. Conifer dominated.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 ( 1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Little Houghmoor, 559

NGR (centred on): SO 93907996     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 4-1-8

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?:

SW and NW, rest survives as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

There is land called Halfmoor mentioned in the 13th century. 'Houghmoor' may be a corruption of this as there are no mentions of Houghmoor before 1838. Halfmoor continued to be mentioned in the 16th and 17th centuries. Indications are that it was in the area of High Harcourt/Kelmestowe. It was part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, where it remains today.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Lower Kitchen Meadow, 560

NGR (centred on): SO 93707997     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-0-30

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all except NE survive.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, incorporated with Over Kitchen Meadow by 1884, where it now remains.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Long Meadow, 561

NGR (centred on): SO 93638000     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-1-27

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all survive?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Owned by Dudley family in 1838, but not part of High Harcourt Farm. Has survived largely unchanged to the present.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Over Kitchen Meadow, 562

NGR (centred on): SO 93858015     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 6-3-38

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all except SE?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838. Incorporated with Lower Kitchen Meadow by 1884, where it now remains.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Sling, 563

NGR (centred on): SO 93808022     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-1-16

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all survive?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, it has survived largely unchanged to the present

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: House Meadow, 564

NGR (centred on): SO 93908030     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 2-2-39

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all except part of SE?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, it was combined with Garden Close by 1884, and divided back again quite recently.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: The Tyning, 565

NGR (centred on): SO 93958022     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-3-2

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: all survive?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

The name may derive from the Old English tyning, meaning enclosure. It was part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838. It was incorporated into one large field with Over and Lower Monks since 1959. On date of visit it was being ploughed for animal fodder. The soil was quite heavy and clayey. No evidence of occupation before the later 18th century was found during a field-scan.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: arable

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Lower Monks, 566

NGR (centred on): SO 94058016     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 2-1-7

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: all except NE?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Pagett (1996, 4) considers the name suggests it was once part of the lands of Halesowen Abbey. The main text of the report hints that this may be supported, but not firmly proven, by the documentary record. Incorporated with The Tyning since 1959, the fields Over and Lower Monks were already themselves combined by 1884. No evidence of occupation before the later 18th century was found during a field-scan.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924); Pagett 1996

Present conditions: arable

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Over Monks, 567

NGR (centred on): SO 94108029     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 1-2-37

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: all except SE?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Pagett (1996, 4) considers the name suggests it was once part of the lands of Halesowen Abbey. The main text of the report hints that this may be supported, but not firmly proven, by the documentary record. Incorporated with The Tyning since 1959, the fields Over and Lower Monks were already themselves combined by 1884. No evidence of occupation before the later 18th century was found during a field-scan.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924); Pagett 1996

Present conditions: arable

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Garden Close, 568

NGR (centred on): SO 94008022     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 1-3-39

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?: all except NW?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, it was incorporated with House Meadow by 1884 where it remained until after 1959. Subsequently, it seems to have been divided into its original fields again, and has become part of the immediate farmyard. Although most of it is open, the surface is muddy, disturbed by animals, and contains virtually no vegetative cover.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: open space used as part of farmyard.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Farm, 569

NGR (centred on): SO 94028038     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-1-26

Land use in 1838: not given

Surviving boundaries?: no significant changes?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

History before 1838 is a mystery, it does not seem to be mentioned by the name of High Harcourt before 1838. Research has indicated that this part of Clent might have been considered to be in Kelmestowe in the medieval period, and possibly as late as the 17th century. Uffmore Green opposite the farm entrance may have been known as Kelmestowe Green in 1570 (HWRO BA 1065/9, p. 796).

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1924)

Present conditions: farmhouse and yard

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Cats Land, 570

NGR (centred on): SO 94008063     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-1-20

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: part of SE now gone.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Amphlett land in 1838, it was incorporated into the adjoining Ten Acres by the 1960s.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Ten Acres, 571

NGR (centred on): SO 93958050       Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 8-0-13

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: NW and SE only?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Combined with part of Spring Close between 1838 and 1884, it was part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Ben Leys, 572

NGR (centred on): SO 93808060     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 7-0-25

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: all survive? Lynchet-like earthwork on SE boundary.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, the field form has survived to the present, although the SE boundary has been allowed to degenerate recently into an unfenced lynchet.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Spring Close, 573

NGR (centred on): SO 93858045     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-1-2

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: SE and SW only; NW as lynchet-like earthwork.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

The lower portion of this field contains an old quarry in its SW corner. This is shown individually in 1884 and 1902. Research has suggested that this quarry may be very old.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture with rough scrub in SW corner

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: The Pleck, 574

NGR (centred on): SO 93868036     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 0-1-9

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?:

Not known, now incorporated into former field called Over Walls.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Incorporated into Over Wall by 1884, it was part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: rough scrub

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Over Wall, 575

NGR (centred on): SO 93758030     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 4-3-35

Land use in 1838: pasture

Surviving boundaries?:

All but small part of NE, all of SE, rest survives as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1571?

Outline history:

A field called Wallfield is mentioned in the Court Rolls for 1571. It is said to be at Kelmestowe, 'lying between the common and the land of Edward Moseley' (HWRO BA 1065/9, p. 796), this location matching the position of the tithe field reasonably well. It is further mentioned in 1620 (ibid, 806). It was part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

HWRO BA 1065/9 extracts from Court Rolls

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Lower Wall, 576

NGR (centred on): SO 93708015     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 2-1-9

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: SE, rest survives as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1571?

Outline history:

A field called Wallfield is mentioned in the Court Rolls for 1571. It is said to be at Kelmestowe, 'lying between the common and the land of Edward Moseley' (HWRO BA 1065/9, p. 796), this location matching the position of the tithe field reasonably well. It is further mentioned in 1620 (ibid, 806). It was part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

HWRO BA 1065/9 extracts from Court Rolls

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Far Knoll, 577

NGR (centred on): SO 93608023     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 5-2-0

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1521

Outline history:

'The Knoll' is mentioned in the Court Roll for 1521 when Richard Sparry was admitted to it (HWRO BA 1065/17). By 1838 it was part of High Harcourt Farm. The field boundaries can still be traced, but it has been allowed to merge into the common since 1959. It is now covered by Fourstones Convert, a largely conifer plantation. This seems to have been created between 1902 and 1924.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

HWRO BA 1065/17 extracts from the Court Rolls

Present conditions: woodland and scrub

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Hither Knoll, 578

NGR (centred on): SO 93658035     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 4-2-12

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1521

Outline history:

'The Knoll' is mentioned in the Court Roll for 1521 when Richard Sparry was admitted to it (HWRO BA 1065/17). By 1838 it was part of High Harcourt Farm. The field boundaries can still be traced, but it has been allowed to merge into the common since 1959. Between 1884 and 1902 the northern portion was planted up as conifer woodland. The rest of the field seems to have become merged into woodland since 1924, probably in the 1950s.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

HWRO BA 1065/17 extracts from the Court Rolls

Present conditions: woodland and scrub

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Four Stones Piece, 579

NGR (centred on): SO 93508031     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 4-2-2

Land use in 1838: arable

Surviving boundaries?: survive as earthworks only.

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of High Harcourt Farm in 1838, it has been allowed to merge with the common after 1959. The southern portion of this field had become conifer woodland between 1884 and 1902. By 1924 the rest had become a mixed plantation. It has probably been replanted as predominantly conifer plantation since 1959. It is reputed that this took place in 1968.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland & scrub

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Clent Hill, 630

NGR (centred on): SO 93008030     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 163-0-9

Land use in 1838: common

Surviving boundaries?: most still survive, although some only in earthwork form, where former enclosures on the southern edges have been abandoned and allowed to revert to common.

First mention in documentary record: 1086

Outline history:

The recording of woodland measured at two leagues (in circumference?) is thought to be the land later taken up by the Clent Commons. The legend of St. Kenelm records that he was buried in 'Clent Wood' between two large hills, suggesting that woodland once stretched across from Clent Hill to Walton Hill in the 9th century. Between 1086 and 1306 the intensive exercise of common rights probably reduced the remnants of this woodland to more open heath.

The men of Clent are recorded as preventing the Abbot of Halesowen having common of pasture 'where they usually had it' in 1306. This might be taken to suggest the commons on the Clent Hills. Later c. 1400 the men of Clent persuaded the lord of Clent manor to grant them right of common on the hills (Nash 1781, xv). A number of commentators have taken this to mean that lands had been enclosed on the former common before the Black Death in 1349, but they had been since abandoned. This grant seems to indicate that they were to be officially reincorporated into the common.

The common rights of Clent were an important part of the manor's life and economy. They are mentioned repeatedly in the Court Rolls of the 16th to the 18th century. Following the popularity of nearby Hagley Park as a tourist attraction from the late 1740s, the common began to change. Initially small scale tourism of aesthetic elites gave way to mass tourism of the industrial classes of the Black Country. This became particularly notable after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. This tourism became such a problem to the local people that they had to apply for an Act of Parliament to regulated behaviour on the common following a number of disturbances, and finally a killing at an unlicensed shooting gallery.

The Regulation of 1881 was enforced by a body called the Conservators who drew up bye-laws to regulate the use of the common. The problems of visitor numbers continued into the second half of the 20th century. In 1959 the commons were taken over by the County Council in conjunction with the National Trust. It would appear that any remaining commoners' rights were extinguished under the Commons Registration Act of 1965. In 1995 the National Trust assumed sole responsibility for the estate.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924) ; Amphlett 1907; Nash 1781; HWRO BA 1064-65 various journals and papers collected by John Amphlett regarding the history of Clent.

Present conditions: heath, scrub woodland, with some areas of more mature woodland.

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Walton Hill, 631

NGR (centred on): SO 94357965     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 88-3-33

Land use in 1838: common

Surviving boundaries?: most still survive, although some only in earthwork form, where former enclosures on the northern edges have been abandoned and allowed to revert to common.

First mention in documentary record: 1086

Outline history:

As for Clent Hill Common, although Walton Hill was less influenced by tourism. Traditional land uses continued here unmolested longer. Public access became easier following the incorporation of this part of the common in the Country Park established in 1959. It would appear that any remaining commoners' rights were extinguished under the Commons Registration Act of 1965.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924); IX.8 (1923); Amphlett 1907; Nash 1781; HWRO BA 1064-65 various journals and papers collected by John Amphlett regarding the history of Clent.

Present conditions: heath, scrub woodland and conifer plantations

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Tithe map field name and number: Clent Church Hill, 632

NGR (centred on): SO 92957960     Parish: Clent

Modern parish: Clent

Acreage in 1838 (in acres, rods and perches): 3-2-38

Land use in 1838: common

Surviving boundaries?: E, W and S; N in earthwork form only?

First mention in documentary record: 1838

Outline history:

Part of the commons of Clent manor, it is possible that the entire hill was called Church Hill at one time. Nimmings on the far side of the hill was called 'in Churchill' in 1429 (Mawer & Stenton 1969, 280. This was a separate common in 1838 divided from the main common by private arable. It was possibly unenclosed because of the steepness of the hill here. Since 1959 it has been allowed to merge into the larger common area.

References to field:

Amphlett 1907; Nash 1781; HWRO BA 1064-65 various journals and papers collected by John Amphlett regarding the history of Clent. HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: woodland

Date of present record: May 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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2) From the Romsley tithe map and award

Tithe map field name and number: Greyley, 32

NGR (centred on): SO 94208040      Parish: Romsley

Modern parish: Romsley

Acreage in 1839 (in acres, rods and perches): 6-1-17

Land use in 1839: arable

Surviving boundaries?: all boundaries survive

First mention in documentary record: 1332

Outline history:

In the Romsley Court Rolls it is mentioned that William Westley surrendered a croft called Greyleys in 1332. This is the field next to the present Westley Farm. In 1839 the field was owned by John Amphlett and leased to George Whitacre. It is mentioned in a bounds of the parish of Clent c. 1850, and was still called by that name by the historian Amphlett in 1909.

References to field:

HWRO BA 1065/5, p. 194; 1065/9, p. 578; HWRO BA 1572, Clent tithe map and award, 1838; Ordnance Survey 6" Worcester sheet IX NE (1884); Ordnance Survey 25" Worcester sheets, IX.7 (1902 & 1924)

Present conditions: pasture

Date of present record: November 1996

Recorder: C K Currie

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Appendix 2: glossary of historical and archaeological terms

Archaeology: the study of man's past by means of the material relics he has left behind him. By material relics, this means both materials buried within the soil (artefacts and remains of structures), and those surviving above the surface such as buildings, structures (e.g. stone circles) and earthworks (e.g. hillforts, old field boundaries etc.). Even the study of old tree or shrub alignments, where they have been artificially planted in the past, can give vital information on past activity.

Artefacts: any object made by man that finds itself discarded (usually as a broken object) or lost in the soil. The most common finds are usually pottery sherds, or waste flint flakes from prehistoric stone tool making. Metal finds are generally rare except in specialist areas such as the site of an old forge. The absence of finds from the activity of metal detectorists is not usually given much credibility by professional archaeologists as a means of defining if archaeology is present

Assart: usually taken to be a clearing made from former common or waste. This term tends to imply a medieval date for colonising of former uncleared or unenclosed land.

Bote: the right to take certain materials from the common. The prefix usually denotes the type of material. For example heybote, means the right to take wood to make fences or hedges; housebote means the right to take wood for repairing houses.

Burnt flint: in prehistoric times, before metal containers were available, water was often boiled in pottery or wooden containers by dropping stones/flints heated in a fire into the container. The process of suddenly cooling hot stone, particularly flint, causes the stone to crack, and form distinctive crazed markings all over its surface. Finds of large quantities of such stone are usually taken as a preliminary indication of past human presence nearby.

Desk-based assessment: an assessment of a known or potential archaeological resource within a specific land unit or area, consisting of a collation of existing written or graphic information, in order to identify the likely character, extent and relative quality of the actual or potential resource.

Environmental evidence: evidence of the potential effect of environmental considerations on man's past activity. This can range from the remains of wood giving an insight into the type of trees available for building materials etc, through to evidence of crops grown, and food eaten, locally.

Evaluation: a limited programme of intrusive fieldwork (mainly test-trenching) which determines the presence or absence of archaeological features, structures, deposits, artefacts or ecofacts within a specified land unit or area. If they are present, this will define their character, extent, and relative quality, and allow an assessment of their worth in local, regional and national terms.

Furlong: when used as an open field term, it means the length of a furrow. In time 'furlongs' came to apply to a block of furrows.

Hedgebanks: banks of earth, usually with a ditch, that have been set up in the past on which is planted a stock-proof line of shrubs. There is written evidence that they were made from at least Roman times, but they are suspected as existing in prehistoric times.

Hide: the amount of land that could be ploughed in a year by one family. Usually 120 acres, but local variations existed from 60 to 180 acres dependent on soil quality.

Hundred: administrative division of the shire that declined in importance in the later medieval period. Exact definitions can not be made, but a hundred usually comprised a number of later parishes or manors. Often thought to represent 100 taxable hides.

Lord/Lordship: a man, woman or institution (such as an abbey) who holds manorial rights.

Manor: land held by a lord, usually with the right to hold its own manorial court to enforce the local agricultural customs. Some manors later developed into parishes, but many parishes could contain four, five or more manors within them. Occasionally manors can be spread over two or more parishes.

Open Fields: also known as Common Fields, a system of communal agricultural without permanent internal fences. These fields were farmed by the village as a whole, each tenant ploughing a series of strips, often distributed at random throughout the field.

Perch: variable measure between nine and 26 feet, often standardised at 16 1/2 feet.

Period: time periods within British chronology are usually defined as Prehistoric (comprising the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age), Roman, Saxon, Medieval and Post-medieval. Although exact definitions are often challenged, the general date ranges are as given below.

Prehistoric c. 100,000 BC - AD 43. This is usually defined as the time before man began making written records of his activities.

Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age 100,000 - 8300 BC

Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age 8300 - 4000 BC

Neolithic or New Stone Age 4000 - 2500 BC

Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC

Iron Age 700 BC - AD 43

Roman AD 43-410

Saxon AD 410-1066

Medieval AD 1066-1540

Post-medieval AD 1540-present

Pottery sherds: small pieces of broken baked clay vessels that find their way into ancient soils. These can be common in all periods from the Neolithic onwards. They often find their way into the soil by being dumped on the settlement rubbish tip, when broken, and subsequently taken out and scattered in fields with farmyard manure.

Site: usually defined as an area where human activity has taken place in the past. It does not require the remains of buildings to be present. A scatter of prehistoric flint-working debris can be defined as a 'site', with or without evidence for permanent or temporary habitation.

Project Design: a written statement on the project's objectives, methods, timetable and resources set out in sufficient detail to be quantifiable, implemented and monitored.

Settlement: usually defined as a site where human habitation in the form of permanent or temporary buildings or shelters in wood, stone, brick or any other building material has existed in the past.

Stint: the number of animals a tenant is allowed to put on the common.

Stratigraphy: sequence of man-made soils overlying undisturbed soils; the lowest layers generally represent the oldest periods of man's past, with successive layers reaching forwards to the present. It is within these soils that archaeological information is obtained.

Villein: term for medieval tenant farmer, often holding by unfree tenure. In the earlier medieval centuries, would have performed services to the lord for his land, but from c. 1300 this was often commuted to a rent.

Virgate: unit of land in medieval England, usually 30 acres, but it could vary from 8 to 60 acres depending on the locality.

Watching brief: work, usually involving ground disturbances, that requires an archaeologist to be present because there is a possibility that archaeological deposits might be disturbed.

Worked flint or stone: usually taken to mean pieces of chipped stone or flint used to make prehistoric stone tools. A worked flint can comprise the tools themselves (arrowheads, blades etc.), or the waste material produced in their making (often called flint flakes, cores etc.).

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