The History of Ilmington - Chapter 5
The Open Fields
As has been shown in earlier chapters, Ilmington village was surrounded by its open fields from at least 1086-1781. To the present day farmer with his arable fields of a size in which two or three tractors can work at the same time, and the combine harvester can deliver grain to the drier in a few days, the difficulties of the farmer of the open fields must appear almost insuperable.
An Ecclesiastical Terrier, dated 1607, during the time of Augustin Walker, 1586-1631, is given in full below. It shows clear evidence of the four fields shown on Map 2, and includes many of the names given to their subdivisions, in some cases known as furlongs. The 'faire parsonedge house' stood much where the recently demolished National school stood at a later date, and the garden was in a part of what is now the churchyard. No trace of the dove house has been found. The close with the two small tenements recently erected, are what is now Glebe Cottage. Of the two tenements next to the street, one is at present being enlarged and restored, and lies at the south end of what was Crow Yard. The adjacent one has been demolished. A fifth, which at one time belonged to the rectory, but is not mentioned here, is Church Cottage.
This terrier is of particular interest, since it shows the enclosure of Southfield, which may have been before 1586, but cannot have been later than 1607. The house was not built until 1689.
ECCLESIASTICAL TERRIERS OF WARWICKSHIRE PARISHES, vol. 1
A true note and terrier (1) of all the Glebes, Lands, Houses, Tenaments, portions of Tithes, pensions of money,
Closes, Gardens, Orcharde, belongine unto the Rectorie of Ilmington and in the possession, and occupation of
Augustine Walker (2) Rector of the saide Parsonedge of Ilmington, or of the farmers or Tenants of him the said Augustine taken the first of Aprill in the yeare of our lord god one thousande six hundred and seauentetith (3), by the viewe of honest men accordinge to the true meaninge of the constitut' in that case provided.
Houses, tenaments, closes, gardens, orcharde
Imprimis a faire parsonedge house with barnes and stables and other necessarie houses for the inhabitants.
Item two small Gardens and one Orchard on the East side.
Item one Close, and a Dove (4) house on the South side.
Item one Close called the vikeridge Close with two small tenament newly erected adioyninge to the Church yearde.
Item two tenaments with a Close and Garden in the tenure of Richarde Greene, and Thomas Sammon, next vnto the Streate at the ende of the parsonedge Doue (5) house Close.
Pension of money, portions of Tithes
Item out of Compton groundes a pension of tenn poundes paid by the yeare in consideration of the Tithes of the saide groundes.
Item out of Foxcote and Larke Stooke (6) all manner of Tithes are due in kinde to the Rectorie of Ilmington.
Erable Lande lyinge in Ridge way feilde
Imprimis two buts lyinge next to woode way.
Item one aker of Lande lyinge in woode way furlonge.
Item one other aker of Lande shootinge into Roses hadelande neare unto mill way.
Item one hadelande shootinge vppon the ende of Will Roses hadelande.
Item one aker in Weetlande (7) furlonge.
Item two other akers in weetlande.
Item two landes shootinge into fiue aker moore.
Item one bute shootinge into weetlande and into William Smithes hadelande.
Item one aker out of the quartare neare unto the end of Richard Neales hadelande.
Item one broade lande shootinge into cheese hedge.
Item one lande shootinge into Will. Winston hadelande.
Item one aker in short staple.
Item one lande in longe staple.
Item one aker shootinge into March moore.
All these landes afore named are marked with the Parsonedge bauke.
Erable lande lyinge in Slade feilde
Imprimis three lands in Meere thorne furlonge.
Item one lande shootinge into Shipson way.
Item one aker of buts shootinge into middle meaddowe one the East side.
Item one other aker shootinge into middle meaddowe one the (West) East Side.
Item one lande shotinge into rode meaddowe one the East side.
Item one lande shootings into Armescote feilde.
Item one aker shootinge into rode meaddowe one the West side.
Item one aker shootings into balde hade l(o)(a)n(ge)d.
Item one hade Lea at two Lease.
Item one feather at crosse Lease.
All these landes afore named are marked with the Parsonedge bauke.
Ereable lande in windemill hill quartare
Imprimis one lande shootinge into Blackewell Lease.
Item two whole ridged akers shootinge into Blackwell Lease.
Item one lande shootinge into Blackwell Lease.
Item one lande shootinge into Shipson way.
Item one lande shootinge into Henn Lease.
Item one bute shootinge into Longdon way on the north side.
Item one lande shootinge into Longdon way in the same furlonge.
Item one other lande shootinge into Longdon way in the same furlonge.
Item one aker shootinge into Longdon way in the same furlonge one the south side.
Item one lande in Brooke furlonge.
Item one aker vppon the tope of littleton hill.
Item one aker shootinge into Shipson way.
Item one other aker shootinge into the widdowe Caldicotes hadelande.
Item one sidelonge alonge by Shipson way side.
Item one Lea in shooe furlonge.
Item one foresuter vp winde mill hill.
Item one single lande in the middle furlonge.
Item two Lease shootinge vppon the Elme.
All the lands afore named are marked with th Parsonedge bauke.
Erable lande in meaddowe hill quartare
Imprimis one lande shootinge into Stratforde way, and Allins meaddows.
Item two lands in the same furlonge next to the church meere.
Item one lande in the furlonge called deade side.
Item one aker shootinge into Allins meaddows.
Item one lande shootinge into Lullockes hill.
Item one aker in the same furlonge shootinge into Lullockes hill.
Item one lande in blacke pite furlonge next to March moore.
Item one lande shootinge into Cocke Lease.
Item one lande shootinge into the meaddowe towardes the farther ends of saide meadowe.
Item one aker of broade buts shootinge into whetton(8) lease.
Item one lande in the same furlonge shootinge into Whetton(8) lease.
Item one aker shootinge into Woode Way.
Item one lande in the same furlonge shootinge into woode way.
Item one aker in the middle furlonge shootinge into the ends of Nicholas Archards whole ridge aker.
Item one aker shootinge into the meaddowe next vnto Will. Towers lande one the west side.
Item one feather shootinge into Will. Petties peece called eight akers.
All the lands afore named are marked with the Parsonedge bauke.
Meaddowe and Lease in meaddowe hill quartare
Imprimis one lea in (9) Lullockes hill.
Itcm onc aker of Lease next vnto Richarde Edens (save one aker) on the west side.
Item one other aker on Whetton(ton) (8) next Nicholas Pettie one the East side.
Item one Lea on Whetton(ton)(8) betwixt John Lidsey, and widdowe Shrewsburie.
Item one Lea at Whetton(ton) ende next vnto Nicholas Pettie.
Item one path Lea shootinge towardes Winsore (10) stile (greaven in exchange).
Item one aker of Lease vppon Cocke Lease next to Nicholas George.
Item one aker of meaddowe grounde in the town meaddowe, shootinge into (two ) Shares.
Item one single swath in the nether ende of the meaddowe.
Item five swathes towardes the nether ende of the meaddowe next to Richarde Eden.
Item one hade aker next vnto Nicholas Petties greate peece.
Lease on Piscell (l l)
Imprimis foure Lease shootinge into meaddowe forde.
Item one whole ridged aker vppon the west hill marked with the Parsonedge bauke.
Lease on the Hill
Imprimis one aker of Lease shootinge into the morters pittes.
Item one aker of Lease shootinge into Ratley well.
Item one Lea neare vnto the brooke ioyninge vnto Bennets furses.
Item one lea in Priscum.
Item one Lea next vnto a sideling ioyninge vnto Nicholas Petties close by the woode side.
Item one aker of Lease vppon Nebsworth called parsons berry.
Item twelue Lease vppon the downes accordinge vnto the proportion and number that euerie yearde lande hath allotted to it.
Item two Lease shootinge into Stookewall allotted in consideration of so much grounde inclosed in Foxscote neare vnto Marcum.
Lands in Southfeilde inclosed for which certaine lands in other places are alloted
Imprimis one lande next vnto a lande of Nicholas George (in salt pits).
Item one lande vp Longdon hill next vnto the lande appertaining vnto Smithes house.
Item other partcels of lande and lease inclosed in the same Southfields vnknowne vnto vs in consideration of (which) two lands and of the saide lands vnknowne the Rector and farmers haue in possession and occupation six ereable lands in Sladefeilde quartere at eight akers, one aker in Windmill hill quartare in brooke furlong, one aker at the farther ends of brooke furlonge shootinge into Littleton way, one halfe aker in the meaddowe shootinge into the Shoores, one aker of Lease in cocke Lease adioynings to the meaddowe for which ten landes halfe aker of meaddowe grounde and two Lease last mentioned, and the tithes out of Southfeilde being truly and justly paide without fraude or guile the farmers (12) of the rectorie haue beene contented to forbeare there lande and right, of all manner of commons and depasturing in the Southfeilde afore named (13).
Augustin Walker, rector
Richard Colicate, freeholder and churchwarden his (14) marke
William Colicate, churchwarden his marcke
A terrier taken 5 July 1714 (DRO 72/65) is a copy of the above signed by Abraham Swanne, rector; John Hurlston and John Good, churchwardens; William Coldycott and John Bradly, overseers of the poor; William Rose, Samuel Smith, John Green, William Boulton, Richard Sansom, and William Harbridge. Michael Wells makes a mark. In this terrier all tenements and holdings mentioned are said to be 'formerly' in the tenure of the occupants named below, and to descriptions such as 'Will Roses' hadland' is added in 1714 'formerly so called'.
Augustine Walker, M.A. (see Foster), was instituted to the rectory on 22 November 1586 (Dugdale, i. 630) and remained rector until he died in November 1631 (J.H. Bloom, quoting the parish register, Birmingham Ref. Lb. MSA 95938, p.219).
This must be 1607, not 1670.
The dovehouse is omitted in 1714.
Parsonage house close, 1714.
And alsoe out of Lark Stoake after the expiracion of a Lease 1714.
Spelt variously Wet—, wett—, weett—, land, 1714.
Lease on pishill, 1714.
The farmers of the Rectory heretofore & the present Rector, 1714.
In 1714 is added: Item one sidelong upon nether Littleton Hill. Item one acre of Butts under Bruton hedge.
A word has been deleted and cannot be read.
A list of strips of a two yardland farm extracted from a document concerning three farms.
A portion of the map showing the strips of which the list has been given.
These strips are marked K
The Homestall of the farm. Now known as Folly farm
A further example of the distribution of strips in the fields, and how they were shown when a farm was being leased has been found for a two yard land farm leased to Richard Coldicott in 1700, by Bowater Vernon (1). In this case the list of strips has been given in full, but only enough of the map is included to show how the strips were identified in the field. On this map there is a minute drawing of the house and homestall which has been enlarged. This identifies the house as Folly Farm in Back Street. Though architect's plans of the present house have been examined it is still impossible to say exactly what it was like when it was the house of a two yard land farmer in 1700. It must certainly have been included in the Hearth Tax of 1674 and had not less than two hearths but may well have had three. Half the roof of this house was repaired some time ago and it was estimated that the Cotswold stone tiles of this half weighed 25 tons. On the outside of the house projects the curve of the baking oven. It is one of the few of this kind to be found in Ilmington.
This lease shows clearly that a yardland carried with it common land for grazing and meadow land for hay. In this case the farm of just over 74 acres included 3 acres of grazing land and 12 acres of meadow for hay. The size of the farm determined the number of animals which might be kept and in this case it was 6 cows, 6 horses and 60 sheep. It must be remembered that a certain proportion of the arable would be fallow each year. This fallow land provided between certain dates useful grazing for animals. The field which had been fallow was the one sown with winter wheat for the following year. Some of the huge fields of the present day, now some of the enclosure hedges have been removed, may be not unlike the winter wheat field of pre-enclosure times, though the crop would be interrupted by the divisions between the strips.
Farming operations were governed by the Court Baron. Records of this have been found only for the second half of the 18th century. Those for 1756 (2), 1763 (3), 1767 (4), 1769 (5) and 1775 (6) have been examined and they have been collected from Birmingham, Stratford, Warwick and Gloucester. That for 1769 from Gloucester is much the most informative and is given below.
The Court Baron of Francis Canning Esq. Lord of the Manor of Ilmington holden at the place accustomed on Tuesday the 3rd day of October in the 9th year of the Reign of King George the Third and in the year of our Lord 1769 beford Thomas Snow Gent. Steward there.
First we present all persons that owe suit and servis to this Court and have this Day made Default being duly called and amerce them severally in one shilling.
Also we order and agree that every person and persons that shall be sworn upon the Jury shall from time to time attend the foreman of this same Jury at such time and place as he shall appoint within one Hour next after the Tolling of the Bell upon notice to him or them given under the penalty of 1s. for each and every neglect or refusal one Half thereof to be paid the Lord the other to the foreman of the Jury.
Also we order and agree that no person or persons other than Landholders in the lower (?) Common Ffields of Ilmington shall tye any Mares and Colts in the Common ffields of Ilmington aforesaid in any other place or places of the said ffield than that appointed as the Mares Hitch under the penalty of 20s. for each offence one Half thereof to the Lord the other to the ffieldsman.
Also we order and agree that no Ridgell Sheep shall be turned up in the Common ffields of Ilmington after the 24th Day of August and that no Rams shall be turned up in the same ffields from the said 24th Day of August to the 21st Day of September following under the penalty of 2/6 for every Ridgel or Ram so to be turned out as aforesaid. One Half thereof to the Lord the other Half to the ffieldsmen.
Also we order and agree that no Calf shall be Depastured in the Common ffields of Ilmington unless in the Lieu of a Cow or Horse and then not to be turned up till Harvest is ended and that no Calf shall be suffered to go suck its Dam upon the said Commons that is more than six weeks old under the penalty of 2/6 for each Offence one Half thereof to the Lord the other Half to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that every person or persons that shall neglect or refuse to pay his her or their part or share of the ffieldsmens Levy before the Constable shall annually deliver up his Accounts shall be lyable to the penalty of 5s. to be paid to the Lord of this Manor and the said ffieldsmen shall give up and Ballance their Accounts at the same time under a like penalty.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons other than Landholders shall Depasture any sheep in the Common ffields of Ilmington without penning the same of Nights under the penalty of 1s. each Sheep so Depastured as aforesaid to be paid to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no pigg or piggs shall be turned out into the Common ffields of Ilmington from the beginning of Wheat Sowing till Harvest is ended and not afterwards without being rung under the penalty of 3/4 for each pig so turned out or not rung as aforesaid. One Half thereof to be paid to the Lord the other to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no Horse or Cow shall be Depastured in the Common ffields of Ilmington from Saint Andrew Old Style untill the 3rd Day of May following under the penalty of £1 for each Horse or Cow One Half thereof to be paid to the Lord the other Half to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall turn out or baite his her or their Sheep upon Mowing Ground in Ilmington ffields untill the same ffields shall be broke by the Consent of the ffieldsmen under the penalty of 2/6 for each Offence to be paid to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall plough or break up any Greensward Leys ffurrows or Hades in Ilmington ffields until agreed by the Jury under the penalty of 10s. for each Ley or Hade and 1s. per yard for each ffurrow so to be ploughed or broke up as aforesaid. One Half thereof to the Lord the other to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no Horse Commons shall be let or set to any out Town person or persons under the penalty of 20s. to be paid for each Common so to be set by the person or persons so setting or letting the same to the Lord and ffieldsmen in equal Moieties.
Also we Order and agree that if any person or persons do and shall let or set any Sheep Horse or Cow Commons each party shall give Notice of the same to the ffieldsmen of Ilmington in 24 hours after under the penalty of 2/6 for each and every Sheep Horse or Cow not so given Notice of as aforesaid One Half thereof to the Lord the other to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall drive his her or their Waggons or Carts out of the Common Roads upon any person or persons Land in Ilmington ffields If such Common Roads be passable under penalty of 20s. each person Commonly trespassing therein be paid to the sufferer.
*Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall tye any Mowing Ground in Ilmington ffields other than his or their own (Rod Meadow Excepted) under the penalty of 5s. for each Offence to be paid to such person or persons on whose Land such tying shall be made.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall turn sheep upon Cow Pasture Ground under the penalty of 10s. to be paid to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons in Ilmington shall keep or Depasture more than 3 Cows to one Yard Land and every person or persons having less than one Yard Land shall pay to or receive from the ffieldsmen of Ilmington aforesaid after the rate of 10s. for each Common and so proportionally under the penalty of 20s. for each and every Cow over or otherwise stocked to be paid one Half thereof to the Lord and the other to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall Mow any ffurows in the Wheat ffields of Ilmington after Lammas Day next under the penalty of 6d. each furrow to be paid to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall suffer his her or their Cows to lye out all Night in the Common ffields of Ilmington after Harvest is ended till the ffieldsmen shall agree thereto under the penalty of 1s. each Cow so suffered to lye out as aforesaid to be paid to the Lord of this Manor.
Also we Order that no person or persons shall keep or depasture more than 3 Horses to One Yard Land and all and every person and persons not being Landholders at Ilmington shall pay to the ffieldsmen aforesaid 3s. for every Horse Common he she or they shall stock and every Landholder of Ilmington aforesaid shall be allowed and paid by the said ffieldsmen 1s. for each and every of his her or their Horse Commons that shall not be stocked by his her or them and so in proportion.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall turn upon the Hadeland of another person in the poulse ffield of Ilmington after the Corn is come up on such Hadelands under the penalty of 2/6 for each Offence to be paid to the Sufferer.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall gather or fetch any Mustard or Halm out of the Common ffields of Ilmington other than the Occupiers of Lands there and not then upon any other Land his her or their own under the penalty of 2/6 each burden to be paid to the person or persons from whose Land the same shall be so taken off.
Also we Order and agree that all beasts that shall be turned up or depastured on the Cow pasture Hill shall be Nobbed under the penalty of 1s. each beast found turned out not being Nobbed as aforesaid. And in case any of the Nobbs shall be broke off then we Order that the Owner or Owners of such Beast or Beasts do and shall in 3 days time after Notice to him her or them given put others on under the like penalty the same to be paid to the Lord and ffieldsmen in equal Moities (Yearlings excepted).
Also we Order and agree that every person and persons having Lands Lengths or Lands ends next the (fallow Quarter shall make a good sufficient Hedge in a ffortnight from and after Lady Day next under the penalty of 5s. for each Land's Length and 1s for each Hade or Lands end the same to be paid to the Lord and fficldsmen in equal Moieties.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall keep or Depasture any sheep upon any Mowing Ground in Ilmington Wheat ffield Quarter after Notice to him her or them given by the ffieldsmen under the penalty of 5s. for each Offence to be paid to the Lord and ffieldsmen in Equal Moities.
Also we Order and agree that no Cow Horse or Sheep shall be turned up in the Common ffields of Ilmington without first having the Owner's proper pitch Mark or Brand thereon under the penalty of 1s. for each and every Cow Horse or Sheep so to be turned up unmarked or unbranded as aforesaid to be paid one Half thereof to the Lord and the other Half to the ffieldsmen.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall dig or plough his her or their Lands ends out any further than the Meer stones range in any part of Ilmington Wheat Common ffields under the penalty of 1s. for each Lands end so to be ploughed or dug out as aforesaid to be paid to the Lord and ffieldsmen in equal Moities.
Also we Order and agree that no person or persons shall keep any Geese upon the Commons of Ilmington from this Day under the penalty of 1s. for each Goose to be paid to the Lord of this Manor.
Also we present the Ditch and watercourse from Cross Lea Bridge to Armscote ffield and also the Ditch and Watercourse from Nellands fford to the Bottom of Middle Meadow to be (unreadable) and want scouring and Order that the same be effectively scoured by Xmas next under the penalty of 1s. a perch for each and every perch as shall be neglected or refused to be done by the time aforesaid.
Also we Order and agree that all and every sheep that shall be turned upon the Common ffields of Ilmington by any person or persons having a right to turn out the same shall have the usual pitch Mark or Brand of the Owner or Owners thereof put and set thereon at or upon the following Days (to wit) Lady Day, Shear Day and All Saints (O.S) under the penalty of 1s. each Sheep to be found turned out not so branded as aforesaid to be paid by the Owner or Owners thereof to the Lord of this Manor.
We Voat and Choose Nathan Pleadon William Jones and William Hobday ffieldsmen for the Year ensueing and sworn.
(signatures of the Jury except John Bentley who made his mark.)
* - No explanation of the meaning of this rule has yet been found.
Crops other than wheat for which there is evidence from wills and inventories were barley, peas, beans, oats, vetches and hay. From the Court Baron it seems that mustard was grown.
The number of animals allowed for each yard land has already been given. Before 1698 this number had been larger, 4 horses, 4 cows and 40 sheep. Since the pasturing of geese was forbidden in 1769 it would seem that these had been provided for at an earlier date. Though the rules must have been very limiting it seems clear that renting commons for those who wished to keep extra animals was possible, and maybe on a small scale even for those without land. Map 3 shows the distribution of arable, meadow and commons of pre-enclosure Ilmington. Not all the land showing ridge and furrow was necessarily arable at this time, though it must have been either before that time or more recently.
Much of the history of the land lies hidden in the field names, if they can be correctly interpreted. Ilmington's land has been occupied for so long that the language of its people has passed through many changes, and these changes have of course been reflected in the names of the fields; yet this is a continuous process, and is an example of the persistence of oral tradition, seen again in the Mummers' play given at the end of this book. As with the Mummers' play, so with the field names, original meanings have often been lost and can be recovered with certainty only by a series of documents showing changes of spelling on the rare occasions when the names were written down. Such a series does not exist for Ilmington, and if it did their interpretation would involve much linguistic ability not possessed by the authors of this book. However, the changes which have occurred here are at least likely to be similar to those which have taken place elsewhere, and with the help of 'English Field Names' by John Field published by David and Charles in 1972, the following interpretations are offered. Only one name in this book is actually assigned to Ilmington. It is Brook Furlong, said to date from the time of Henry III (who came to the throne in 1216), but the document for this is now lost. The highly suggestive interpretation of Berry Orchard has already been given in connection with the manor.
Many new names must have been introduced after the Enclosure of 1781, when even the meaning of 'field' took on the new connotation of an enclosed area of perhaps ten acres or less, as distinct from its earlier meaning of a particular group of strips totalling in all perhaps nearly a quarter of the arable land of the whole community. These field names were recorded by the school under the auspices of the County Authority in 1934 and are shown on Map 5 (this map is given at the end of the Chapter 9 because it shows the field pattern resulting from enclosure). Certain general terms, many still in use today, had specific meaning. These are as follows:-
A furlong - a group of strips all the same length.
A hadeland or headland - the land needed for the plough team to turn.
It was ploughed or dug when the rest of the ploughing had been completed.
Butts - the irregular shaped areas at the end of some furlongs.
Leys or lease - areas of grassland.
Meadow - grassland reserved in season for hay.
Ground - grassland.
Well - a spring.
The names for which an attempt at interpretation follows have been taken from the Enclosure Award, the Ecclesiastical Terrier and the lease of Folly Farm. Not all can be found on maps 3 and 4, which have been reconstructed from the partial map accompanying the enclosure award and an aerial photograph of 1946. The completed map which must have been drawn for the Enclosure has been lost.
Map 2 - Based upon the Ordnance Survey Map with the sanction of the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office,
Crown Copyright reserved
Names recording the people who once held the land:-
Bennett's Furze, Spilsbury's piece, Smith's piece, Parson's Wythies, Clarkson's piece, Petty's close and rickyard, Gilbert's hedge, Danbury's hedge, Allen's meadow.
Of these names, only Gilbert has not been found in other documents.
Names indicating boundaries:-
Markham or Marcum - probably old English 'mearc'.
Hoarstone - this is a boundary mentioned in the Saxon charter for Tredington of 757 A.D.
Names showing the size of the area:-
Five acre moor, Nine lands furlong, Eight leys furlong and Eight akers, which may be the same as Eight leys. Nellands may mean Nine lands or a mound, and both interpretations could fit.
Other names reflect some characteristic of the ground. Any including 'moor' mean barren wasteland from the Old English 'mör':-
Holwell - spring in a hollow.
Rod meadow - Rod may mean reeds and therefore damp ground.
Chillcroft - croft by a cold spring.
Slade - valley or low lying marshy ground.
Black pitt - dark soil - Old English blaec.
Featherbed - crumbly soil (said to be a 'fanciful' name).
Stonehill - either the site from which stone was dug, or from shallow and therefore stoney soil. Either would apply.
Names indicating crops:-
Ballands - bean ground.
Pisshill - pease ground.
Wheatland trench - perhaps good wheat land, but it has several spellings.
Woodway - this may have its obvious meaning, but a certain woodland at Stratford was in 1339 'Wodland' and referred to the growing of woad.
Some refer to other uses:-
Morters pits - land from which lime was dug for mortar.
Little, Middle and Far Walk hill - this may refer to the fulling of cloth, and for this blue clay was used. It certainly underlies some of the ground, but whether this is so in the region of these fields is not known. 'Walk' could also mean a path cut through a wood, it may also mean a sheep walk.
Drove leys and Driftway probably indicate proximity to tracks along which cattle were driven, and may refer to paths used by drovers bringing cattle and sheep from Wales and even Ireland to London. This practice continued from the 13th century until railway transport was available.
Strait is said to mean proximity to a Roman track.
Some names are connected with animals:-
Cock leys - this may refer to woodcock or to the breeding of game cocks.
Swinesty - this has a variety of spellings. It may mean the ground for pigs.
Long and Short staples. This is a very tantalising name. The Merchants of the Staple controlled the wool trade from the 12th century, and Campden is one of the finest of the 'wool churches', but the name Staple occurs as a surname in at least one Ilmington document. The name could also mean post or pillar, indicating a boundary.
Some names suggest outlying parts:-
Far bottom fuzground.
New York farm (now York farm).
and lastly Galley hook or Galley oak - probably the site of the gallows when the lord of the manor had the right to hang offenders.
Even with the uncertainties attendant on such an amateurish attempt at interpretation of this selection of names, and it is not exhaustive, some idea of the changes in the use of the land through the ages can be glimpsed.
The illustration at the end of this chapter shows the introduction of dibbling corn into the ground in about 1600, an improvement on broadcast sowing. The method was still used in Ilmington in the late 19th century. This comes from 'The Farmers' Tools'. A history of British Farm Implements AD 1500-1900.
Setting board. Title page of Edward Maxey. New Instruction of Plowing. 1601.
By kind permission of the British Museum
Worcester Record Office F 970.5.7 BA 1101/1.
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust ER 24/16/1-2.
Birmingham Local Studies Library No. 365072.
Gloucester City Libraries. Sir Thomas Phillips (no. 15452).
Gloucester City Libraries. Sir Thomas Phillips (no. 15452).
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust ER 24/16/3.