Medieval Fields by David Hall. Soft back, 56 pages, B&W.
Medieval fields have been studied by historians, historical geographers and archaeologists for well over a century, yet very few accurate accounts are readily available, and many old errors remain entrenched. This book rectifies that deficiency by providing a concise account of the subject. David Hall gives a detailed description of their characteristic components and describes the variety and complexity of regional cropping practices as dictated by the period's cumbersome system of byelaws. After 1500, many modifications were introduced into open fields to improve their efficiency and to increase the quantity of available pasture. New techniques of archaeological fieldwork are shown as having revolutionised the study of medieval fields, so that it is possible to survey field patterns, and so reconstruct maps, for those many parishes that do not have contemporary plans. Coupled with a multi-disciplinary approach to the origins of medieval fields, these have even led to the surprising conclusion that some fields were laid out in a large-scale planned manner before the Norman conquest.