Settlement and field patterns in the South Pennines : a critique of morphological approaches to landscape history in upland environments

Smith, Nigel and Winchester, Angus (2013) Settlement and field patterns in the South Pennines : a critique of morphological approaches to landscape history in upland environments. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

[thumbnail of Settlement and field patterns Nigel Smith 2013]
PDF (Settlement and field patterns Nigel Smith 2013)
Settlement_and_field_patterns_Nigel_Smith_2013.pdf - Published Version

Download (13MB)


Upland regions have received significantly less attention from landscape and agricultural historians than lowland areas. The literature on fields, for example, is dominated by discussion of open or common fields, displaying an arable bias that ignores the pastoral nature of upland farming. National and county scale studies of landscape, focusing on fields and settlements in particular, have been undertaken in the last few years that purport to avoid such distinctions. The principal aim of the thesis is to critically examine the extent to which these methodologies, based on the study of patterns in the landscape, can offer a valid terrain-neutral approach that might contribute to our understanding of upland landscape history. The basic approach taken by this study is to apply to the study area the morphological methodologies used by the national Rural Settlement study undertaken by Roberts and Wrathmell and the county level Historic Landscape Characterisation exercises, before comparing the results with those obtained by more traditional landscape history methodologies. The comparative methodology used here focuses on two issues: the validity and robustness of the original methodology, and the effect of using additional documentary and other evidence that sheds light on the historical processes involved in the landscape. The analysis of the fieldscape is informed by use of the settlement data, and this combination is then examined in the context of various morphological models of agrarian structures, focusing on those proposed by Roberts and Wrathmell. A new model is proposed that combines the evidence of historical process with the morphological attributes of settlement and fieldscapes. While this model is based on the South Pennine pays, the principles involved in its construction are intended to be applicable in other upland areas.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
07 Jan 2015 00:09
Last Modified:
09 Apr 2024 00:37