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Title: Insights into medieval and early post-medieval rural settlement and the landscape in eastern Wales
Author: Silvester, R. J.
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2012
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In the later 1990s, Cadw initiated an examination of known deserted medieval and early post-medieval rural settlements throughout Wales, primarily as a programme geared to scheduling enhancement but subsequently also as a more academic exercise on a theme that had received relatively little attention in the Principality after the 19605. This project was the genesis of the first paper presented here, and the catalyst for most of the others. Various themes have been tackled in recent years. House platforms are one of the most common of sites amongst the suite of settlement forms in Wales, something largely unacknowledged by specialists. Identified within dispersed fanning settlements, shrunken nucleated settlements, and as seasonally occupied dwellings in the hills, they are found over virtually the entire country. The distribution is, however, skewed strongly towards upland areas, reflecting a general bias in fieldwork. Upland platforms are in a few localities associated with cultivation remains, comparable with those on the moorlands of south-western England. The recognition of such remains is an on-going though elusive task. The transition from nucleated settlement to individual farm in the later medieval period has been proposed by historians and can be paralleled in the field record though chronological confirmation is at best occasional. A distinctive characteristic of the Welsh uplands are the widespread, seasonally occupied settlements attested by surface remains, place-names and documentary evidence: surprisingly there has been little recent study of the phenomenon. Similarly, the study of encroachment on the commons has also been the preserve of the historian, but the scale of that activity was such that there is considerable scope for both the archaeologist and the landscape historian. The landscape, indeed, is the backdrop to all of these settlement studies, and east Wales provides a rich potential for examining the evolving landscape and the human activity that fashions it. This is considered in two papers, on Welsh borderland forests in the medieval era and on the development of a gentry estate overlooking the Severn valley.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available