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8. POST-MEDIEVAL (1485-1750): RESEARCH OBJECTIVES#

High Medieval Updated Agenda and Research Objectives Table
Click here to see details of agenda themes and topics for this period.
For more information about each Research Objective, select from the links below:
Research Objective 8A Research Objective 8B Research Objective 8C Research Objective 8D Research Objective 8E Research Objective 8F Research Objective 8G Research Objective 8H Research Objective 8I Research Objective 8J


Research Objective 8A#

Identify and research the landless urban and rural poor #

Summary:
The landless poor, with few possessions and often inhabiting insubstantial structures, have left few traces in the archaeological or documentary record, and identification of this largely invisible social class has been highlighted as a key priority for research. Even in the nineteenth century, the rural poor are hard to see[1], and for the Post-Medieval period they are most clearly visible by inference - as carriers, for example, of night soil to the fields, or as protagonists in the 1607 Midlands Revolt and other civil unrests reflecting antagonism to enclosure of the medieval open fields[2][3]. Some of these communities are potentially identifiable in the countryside by small, irregular enclosures on the edges of pasture, wood or road, depicted but not remarked upon by the surveyors of tithe or enclosure maps and now worth surveying for insubstantial earthworks or particular colonies of plants that might betray flimsy dwellings and other structures[4]. Wastes and commons, identifiable from documentary and cartographic sources, also provide possible locations for squatter settlements that might be revealed by detailed field investigations[5]. In urban areas, investigations of vacant plots and open areas on the edges of settlement may also reveal insubstantial structures associated with the poor[6]. Related groups include gypsies and travellers, whose temporary encampments are sometimes known through tradition, along with itinerant charcoal burners, shepherds and herdsfolk. These settlement locations have seldom formed the focus of archaeological inquiry, and all are under pressure from intensifying agriculture, forestry and urban development.

Agenda topics addressed: 8.1.2; 8.1.5; 8.4.1; 8.4.4

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 232-233

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: assessing regional historic environment components (11111:170)

Single-storey stone building on Hollow Way, Anstey Green, originating as a pair of squatter cottages encroaching on an ancient common at the west end of Anstey village, Leicestershire. The exact date of construction is unknown, but cartographic evidence indicates construction between 1762 and 1886. The cottages have been extended and modernised in recent years, but the rubble construction of the wall is still clearly visible (photograph: Paul Courtney; see Courtney, P 2003
Single-storey stone building on Hollow Way, Anstey Green, originating as a pair of squatter cottages encroaching on an ancient common at the west end of Anstey village, Leicestershire
NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Historic towns and suburbs (4A1); Rural historic buildings and their settings (4F1)

References:


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Research Objective 8B#

Further research the morphology and use of caves #

Summary:
The East Midlands preserves significant evidence for Post-Medieval usage of caves, most notably at Nottingham. The soft sandstone which underlies the modern city preserves a remarkable collection of over 500 artificially created caves[7], many of which were utilised in the Post-Medieval period for purposes such as habitation, storage, malting and tanning[8]. Their chronology extends at least from medieval to modern times, when some caves were utilised as Second World War air-raid shelters[9], and this unique resource has been highlighted as a key priority for cross-period research. A detailed laser survey of the caves is currently being conducted by Trent & Peak Archaeology alongside an assessment of the documentary resource[10], and will provide a secure foundation for future management of the resource and further research (including analyses of finds obtained during unpublished excavations and integration of the evidence from subterranean and standing structures). Comparable surveys may usefully be extended to other caves in the region whose period of use may have spanned the Post-Medieval period. Artificial caves are a distinctive feature of sandstone outcrops elsewhere in the region, including the Anchor Church[11] near Foremark and the Hermit's Cave near Dale Abbey[12], both in Derbyshire. In addition, natural caves with evidence for human activity spanning many millennia are abundantly distributed across the Carboniferous limestones of the Derbyshire Peak and the Magnesian Limestone escarpment that straddles the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire boundary. A review of post-medieval use of the above sites would complement well the on-going work at Nottingham and would provide a useful basis for further survey work and assessments of caves used in the medieval and other periods.

Agenda topics addressed: 8.1.2; 8.1.6; 8.5.1

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: assessing regional historic environment components (11111:170); New frontiers: understanding subterranean places (11112.210)

NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Historic towns and suburbs (4A1)

Willoughby House, Nottingham: laser plan of circular cave with central carved column and table, benches around the wall and entrance flanked by pilasters, constructed by Rothwell Willoughby in the mid-18th century below his Georgian townhouse (© Trent & Peak Archaeology)
Willoughby House, Nottingham: laser plan of circular cave with central carved column and table, benches around the wall and entrance flanked by pilasters, constructed by Rothwell Willoughby in the mid-18th century below his Georgian townhouse
Other research frameworks:
EH Thematic Research Strategy for the Urban Historic Environment 2010: Priority UR3 (Survival of early form and fabric in historic towns)
EH National Heritage Science Strategy Report 2 2009: Section 4.5.1 (Detecting and imaging)

References:


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Research Objective 8C#

Establish a typology of regional building traditions #

Summary:
Further research is recommended to establish a typology of regional vernacular buildings and to investigate temporal and spatial variations in building styles and materials (as indicated, for example, by the distinctive Lincolnshire tradition of mud or cob built structures with timber studs[13]). Dating is particularly problematic for many building types, and it is recommended that further use be made where possible of dendrochronological data - as, for example, in the recent exemplary studies of Newark and Norwell in Nottinghamshire[14]. Further information on the antecedents of post-medieval vernacular buildings could be obtained from the investigation of early structural remains concealed within gentrified urban buildings[15] and by the excavation of deserted or shrunken rural settlements. Reviews of vernacular architectural traditions tend to focus on extant higher status buildings[16], and survey could usefully be extended to the broad range of lower status structures that survive. A number of valuable sub-regional and local studies have been conducted[17], some such as the buildings survey published by the Norwell Parish Heritage Group[18] combining effectively the evidence of documents and maps with archaeological, dendrochronological and architectural information. These are complemented by the Buildings of England volumes, which include reviews of building styles and the range of building materials used[19], and in north Northamptonshire by a systematic RCHME survey of architectural monuments[20]. Themes which deserve greater consideration include the transformation of individual wealth as reflected in buildings, the impact of church ownership[21], the transition from timber-framed to brick or stone construction[22] and the study of local landscape settings[23].

Agenda topics addressed: 8.1.6; 8.2.5; 8.4.1-8.4.3; 8.5.3

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 232-233

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: assessing regional historic environment components (11111:170); Understanding place: researching regional diversity (11111:310)

NHPP 2011: Public, civil and communal buildings (4A4); Rural historic buildings and their settings (4F1)

Other research frameworks:
EH Thematic Research Strategy for the Urban Historic Environment 2010: Priority UR3 (Survival of early form and fabric in historic towns)
EH National Heritage Science Strategy Report 2 2009: Sections 4.2.1 (Chronology) and 4.5.1 (Detecting and imaging)

References:


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Research Objective 8D#

Investigate developments in estate and garden design and their landscape context#

Summary:
The East Midlands preserves numerous estates where a grand mansion sits at the centre of a tract of private land[24], as for example at Chatsworth in Derbyshire[25][26]. The study of estates has often been polarised between social and art historic evaluation of the mansion house and agricultural and horticultural assessment of the estate. There has commonly been little attempt to link these approaches or to consider relationships with the wider landscape and with more distant but closely intertwined interests of the estate owner[27]. Williamson has identified three phases of estate development, embracing the Post-Medieval and Modern periods, and hence this Research Objective spans both of these periods[28]. The first of these phases spanned the mid-seventeenth to mid-eighteenth centuries, during which time some of the larger estates developed, sometimes on post-Dissolution sites. The second part of the eighteenth century saw the development of Neo-Classical mansions associated with private parks from which public roads and settlements had been diverted. A third phase may be identified in the early nineteenth century, and was based on the landscaping ideas of Humphrey Repton[29]. Estate design owed much to local topographic and landscape factors, as well as to local tenurial and social traditions. Regional and sub-regional characteristics should be identifiable[30] and study of these variations should be encouraged. Particular attention should be paid to the impact of other landholdings and economic interests such as mining upon estate design and management, and to the influence of large estates upon the numerous and less commonly researched small estates[31].

Agenda topics addressed: 8.2.1-8.2.5

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 232-233

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: assessing regional historic environment components (11111:170) and researching regional diversity (11111:310)

NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Sport and entertainment buildings and landscapes (4C1)

References:


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Research Objective 8E#

Identify agricultural improvements of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries#

Summary:

Rockingham Forest: key to map below (Foard, G, Hall, D and Partida, T 2009 `Rockingham Forest. An Atlas of the Medieval and Early-Modern Landscape`, 72. Northampton: Northampton Record Society XLIV; reproduced by permission of the authors, the Northamptonshire Record Society and the Rockingham Forest Trust)
Rockingham Forest: key to map
Enclosure of the open fields, waste and commons took place increasingly from the sixteenth century, along with reclamation of the Lincolnshire Fens[32] and other marshy areas and the development of water meadows, although physical evidence of these changes is not always clearly visible until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries[33]. Additional investigations are required to shed further light upon the development of early enclosures, water meadows, fenland drainage schemes and other landscape evidence of the agricultural improvements that characterised this period[34] - and the extent of intra-regional variability. Environmental analyses of palaeobotanical and faunal assemblages should be encouraged as means of enhancing our knowledge of changes in crop and animal husbandry[35], including identification of the famously large sheep of the region that have so far eluded detection in archaeological excavations[36]. A variety of other direct and indirect evidence for agricultural improvement may also be expected, and should be sought for. The success of the Ticknall pottery in Derbyshire, for example, which produced substantial quantities of dairy ceramics throughout the seventeenth century in the face of Staffordshire competition[37], may reflect in part the growing importance and success of dairy farming in the region. Research should also be focused upon the identification of specialist agricultural buildings that may provide indirect evidence for agricultural change, such as beast houses which may reflect the growing importance of dairying and beef cattle production.

Agenda topics addressed: 8.3.1-8.3.4; 8.4.2; 8.4.5

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 233, 284

SHAPE 2008: Understanding ancient environments and ecologies (11111:420)

NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Historic water management assets (4B1); Rural historic buildings and their settings (4F1); Field systems (4F2)

Other research frameworks:
EH National Heritage Science Strategy Report 2 2009: Section 3.3.1 (People and environment)

References:

Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire: map showing the extent of enclosure c.1750 on this dissected plateau between the Rivers Welland (NW) and Nene (SE); the surviving open field was enclosed after 1750 mainly by Parliamentary act (Foard, Hall and Partida 2009, Fig 17; reproduced by permission of the authors, the Northamptonshire Record Society and the Rockingham Forest Trust)
Rockingham Forest, Northamptonshire: map showing the extent of enclosure c.1750 on this dissected plateau between  the Rivers Welland (NW) and Nene (SE); the surviving open field was enclosed after 1750 mainly by Parliamentary act

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Research Objective 8F#

Research the development of East Midlands industry and its impact upon landscape and settlement morphology#

Summary:
Coal, lead, iron, leather-working and textile production were foremost among a number of industries which in the Post-Medieval period came to characterise the East Midlands[38], and in the case particularly of coal and lead may be regarded as of national importance. A key area of required research is the transition of industry from an adjunct of the agricultural economy to the economic driver of the rural economy and the stimulus for urbanisation[39]. Rural sources of industry require further assessment of their locations, as well as the recording of detail. Particular interest attaches to the extensive coal-mining remains of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire[40], the landscape evidence for which has yet to be fully identified and recorded. Linkage to efficient communications networks and labour resources played a key role in the development of the coal industry, but the scale and chronology of the extraction of coal and other materials also depended on tenurial arrangements and the availability of labour. Processing frequently took place within settlements, including cloth-making and framework-knitting in rural settlements and leather-tanning in urban locations. All of these activities, which required open space and separation from domestic settlement, influenced settlement morphology and would have spurred population growth and hence settlement expansion.[41][42]

Agenda topics addressed: 8.4.4; 8.5.1-8.5.6

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 233-234

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: assessing regional historic environment components (11111:170)

NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Traditional industry, modern industry, mining and associated housing (4B2)

Other research frameworks:

EH Thematic Research Strategy for the Urban Historic Environment 2010: Priority UR3 (Survival of early form and fabric in historic towns)

Coal mining has a long ancestry in the East Midlands, as demonstrated by this pattern of probably sixteenth century mine galleries that was exposed in the middle of the Lounge Opencast site near Coleorton, Leicestershire (photograph: Fred Hartley)
Coal mining has a long ancestry in the East Midlands, as demonstrated by this pattern of probably sixteenth century mine galleries that was exposed in the middle of the Lounge Opencast site near Coleorton, Leicestershire
EH Thematic Research Strategy for the Historic Industrial Environment 2010: Priorities IND3, IND4 and IND 5 (The impact of industrialisation: industrial landscapes; transport systems, communications and public utilities; understanding industrial buildings and sites).

References:


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Research Objective 8G#

Study the post-Dissolution re-use of monastic structures and the continuity of monastic estates #

Summary:
The history of use of medieval monastic buildings and their estates following Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries between 1536 and 1539[43] remains poorly known and would benefit from further investigation. Some monastic institutions were abandoned after the Dissolution[44], but many other monastic buildings were converted to dwellings or other uses[45]. The conversion from ecclesiastical to secular use is illustrated by virtually all of over one hundred monasteries in the diocese of Lincoln[46], and elsewhere in the region has been demonstrated by documentary research and fieldwork at former abbey sites such as Launde[47] and Leicester[48], and by a study of the buildings and gardens of the former monastic grange at Langtoft Hall Farm in Lincolnshire[49]. The Dissolution provided important opportunities for the acquisition of high-status buildings and for the transfer to secular hands of extensive, well-managed and wealthy monastic estates[50]. While there may have been little change in how the land was managed, many estates will have been sub-divided or amalgamated with other holdings. Such amendments should be visible in the components of the historic landscape, as well as in written records[51], and merit detailed study as important evidence for the development of patterns of land ownership in the post-Reformation rural landscape.

Agenda topics addressed: 8.6.1

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 232-233

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: analysis of specific historic assets and locales (11111:130)

NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Places of worship (4DI)

References:

Darley Abbey, Derbyshire: some of the Abbey buildings survived after the Dissolution, including this fifteenth century building that may once have been part of the Abbot`s house or Guest House. The building has undergone many changes of use, including accommodation for workers in the adjacent textile mill and, from 1980, a public house (photograph: D. Knight)
Darley Abbey, Derbyshire: some of the Abbey buildings survived after the Dissolution, including this fifteenth century building that may once have been part of the Abbot`s house or Guest House.

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Research Objective 8H#

Investigate graveyards and other burial sites #

Summary:
Graveyards and other burials, including the mass graves that may survive at battlefield sites[52] and plague burial sites such as Eyam in Derbyshire[53] offer a wide range of information relating to demography, personal identity, religious observance and attitudes to death and, in the case of graveyards, the production, manufacture and acquisition of memorials[54]. Graveyards and the stones they contain are also an important ecological resource meriting conservation. Despite their importance, graveyard memorials are at significant risk, not only from erosion but also as a result of misdirected 'tidying-up' and clearance, perceived safety precautions and direct threats posed by the construction of amenities, and hence recording should be regarded as a priority before irreplaceable evidence is lost. Graveyards also offer a wide range of recording and interpretation opportunities which are particularly well-suited to community groups, and there is a need both to encourage such activities and to ensure a common approach so that comparable information can be retrieved from across the region[55][56].

Agenda topics addressed: 8.6.3; 8.7.1

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 234

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: analysis of specific historic assets and locales (11111:130); Understanding past populations of Britain: historic demography and human biology (11111.170)

NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Churchyards, cemeteries and burial grounds (4D2)

Other research frameworks:
EH National Heritage Science Strategy Report 2 2009: Section 3.3.1 (People and environment)

St Lawrence, Eyam, Derbyshire: the graveyard has close associations with the victims of the Plague that swept through the village in 1666 and preserves the head and most of the shaft of a richly decorated Anglo-Saxon cross. The shaft is embellished with vine scrolls and interlace, while the cross-head preserves carvings of angels and other figures (photograph: D. Knight)
St Lawrence, Eyam, Derbyshire: the graveyard has close associations with the victims of the Plague that swept through the village in 1666 and preserves the head and most of the shaft of a richly decorated Anglo-Saxon cross.
References:


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Research Objective 8I#

Develop further the study of ceramic assemblages #

Summary:
The region as a whole is poorly served by synthetic assessments of post-medieval ceramics, and although a number of key pottery groups from Nottingham, Leicester and elsewhere have been published[57] many important assemblages await full analysis and publication[58]. The development of ceramic studies needs to be underpinned by stronger guidance on methodologies to be employed during excavation, fieldwalking and post-survey analysis, and by the establishment of a regional ceramic type-series that will facilitate comparison and analysis of pottery and other ceramic artefacts and refine our understanding of ceramic chronology. Particular areas of inquiry, which should be addressed in further appraisals of ceramic assemblages, include the distribution of imported and other high-status pottery as an indicator of developing communications routes and patterns of changing status, diet and fashion[59]. Studies of individual assemblages which offer the chance to contribute to biographies of households and individuals should be encouraged, while the retrieval and study of assemblages from deserted villages and other rural sites should also be promoted. Ceramic analyses may also contribute to studies of agricultural improvements, as demonstrated by the proposed link between the successful marketing of Ticknall Ware and an expansion of dairy farming in the region (Objective 8E)[60].

Agenda topics addressed: 8.2.5; 8.8.1-8.8.5

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 234

SHAPE 2008: Understanding artefacts and material culture (11111:510)

Other research frameworks:
EH National Heritage Science Strategy Report 2 2009: Section 3.4.1 (Understanding materials)

Ticknall Ware: late 15th or 16th century butter pot found in situ during excavations of a kiln at Ivy Leigh, Ticknall, Derbyshire. The pot was used as a sagger (a container made of refractory clay used to protect clay products and glazes from flames and gases during firing) and still contains the jug to be fired (photograph © Jonathan Smith; reproduced by permission of the Ticknall Archaeology Research Group and Archaeological Project Services)
Ticknall Ware: late 15th or 16th century butter pot found in situ during excavations of a kiln at Ivy Leigh, Ticknall, Derbyshire.
Medieval Pottery Research Group 2011, 19-23, especially Research Priorities A1, A5, A6, A7 and A8

References:


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Research Objective 8J#

Investigate Civil War defences, siege works and battlefields#

Summary:
The East Midlands was an important arena of conflict during the First (1642-1646) and Second (1648) Civil Wars[61], and this turbulent period saw the fortification of key towns such as Leicester, Nottingham and Northampton and some of its gentry houses[62]. The region preserves several battlefield and siege sites of national importance, including the decisive Battle of Naseby (1645)[63] and the remarkable complex of siege works encircling Newark-on-Trent[64], plus many other skirmish, battle and siege sites. Many of these are vulnerable to development and require the formulation of appropriate conservation and management strategies. There is an urgent need for an assessment of the survival and condition of structural remains at siege sites, together with a separate assessment of the taphonomy of battle archaeology to determine the factors determining the survival and condition of metal artefact scatters. These could provide a foundation for subsequent investigation by a combination of metal detector survey, remote sensing, excavation, documentary and topographic work. Appropriate methodologies have been developed at Naseby[65] and several other sites in the region, including Leicester[66] and Grafton Regis[67] in Northamptonshire, and should be extended to other sites in the region. Newark, with its exceptional system of preserved offensive and defensive monuments, stands out as an ideal focus for further study, which could build upon the excellent survey conducted by the Royal Commission[68] and more recent work associated with the Monuments Protection Programme[69]. Building particularly upon the experience of work carried out at Bosworth (Objective 7H), there is also significant scope for community involvement.

Agenda topics addressed: 8.7.1-8.7.3

Archaeology of the East Midlands: 234

SHAPE 2008: Understanding place: analysis of specific historic assets and locales (11111:130) and assessing regional historic environment components (11111:170)

NHPP 2011: Identification of terrestrial assets via non-intrusive survey (3A4); Battlefields (4EI)

Other research frameworks:
Foard, G 2008 Conflict in the Pre-Industrial Landscape of England: a Resource Assessment. Leeds: University of Leeds, 265-269

Civil War ditch under excavation at Mill Lane, Leicester (Courtney 2006, 230; photograph reproduced by permission of University of Leicester Archaeological Services)
Civil War ditch under excavation at Mill Lane, Leicester
References:

Plans of two of the many Civil War monuments that are preserved in and around Newark, Nottinghamshire (RCHME 1964, Figs 3 and 9; © English Heritage) The Queen`s Sconce (above). This remarkably well preserved example of a sconce (detached fort with bastions) was constructed by the Royalist defenders of Newark on an elevated gravel spur overlooking the crossing of the River Devon by the Fosse Way. Parliamentarian redoubt (right) (small detached stronghold without provision for flank defences) at Hawton. This fortification was built to the south-west of Newark beside the River Devon, inside the moated enclosure of a destroyed 15th century mansion
Plans of two of the many Civil War monuments that are preserved in and around Newark, Nottinghamshire: The Queen


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This page (revision-16) was last changed on 20-Nov-2017 16:55 by David Knight