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Strip Lynchets - unique evidence of early farming methods around the village

Have you seen these historical landmarks? Even better, does anyone have a well lit photo of them showing them off? Apparently, they are some of the best known examples in the country

(Taken from early research document on surviving geographic examples of early farming)

Any continuity between Celtic fields and strip lynchets and the latter's downward extension of the former which could be expected if Mr Macnab's thesis is correct is not borne out by the evidence. Wherever strip lynchets and Celtic fields lie in a clear relationship, and this is usually at the top of escarpments or slopes, the former have always cut across the latter, indicating a clear break both in technique and date between the two. Many examples can be cited, but a few will suffice. At Turnworth in Dorset strip lynchets override Celtic fields. Perhaps the best example is at Great Wishford in Wiltshire. Here, on the lower slopes of the valley side are well-preserved and sharply defined strip lynchets. As one moves up the valley sides the strip lynchets become less well-defined, and large projecting stubs in their risers, or lynchets, indicate that they have ridden over earlier Celtic fields. Higher still the strip lynchets are even less clear while the underlying Celtic fields are almost intact. Beyond, on the hilltop, are Celtic fields partly broken up by ridges and furrows of the normal medieval form, while further on perfectly preserved Celtic fields extend up to a well-defined Romano-British settlement. Here it can be clearly seen that the strip lynchets have been gradually extended up the slope and not down it and at a period subsequent to that when the Celtic fields were cultivated.

On all counts it appears that strip lynchets are different from, and later than, Celtic fields.

Ploughing methods and plough types do not necessarily determine field shapes. By the Roman period, ploughs were in existence that, in theory at least, were quite capable of ploughing long terraces. But this does not mean that this occurred and what evidence there is suggests otherwise. The rectangular Celtic field form can now be seen to go back to c.1500 B.C. but whatever the reason for the development of such a shape, whether it originated as a result of hand- dug plots or the need for cross-ploughing with an ard-type plough, the form continued largely unchanged right through to the Roman period, in spite of the developments of ploughs. The appearance of long Celtic fields which were first suggested by Bowen as being probably Roman now seems to be confirmed by recent fieldwork and excavation. However these long fields, strip-like though they are, are quite different in form from strip lynchets. They are relatively short and always have closed square ends, quite different from the long strip lynchets with their drawn-out and quarter-round ends.

Some numerical facts about the village

148 households, Population: 336 (2001 census)

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