Farming systems and settlement forms

Helena Hamerow

in Rural Settlements and Society in Anglo-Saxon England

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199203253
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741760 | DOI:

Series: Medieval History and Archaeology

Farming systems and settlement forms

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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A consideration of post-Roman land use concludes that the ‘fieldscapes’ of Roman Britain were often maintained despite some shift in emphasis towards pastoral production in the early Anglo-Saxon period. The Mid Saxon period saw considerable innovation in crop husbandry, processing, and storage, as well as a probable expansion of arable and a growing emphasis on bread wheat (implying widespread use of the heavy plough). New weeding and manuring regimes were also introduced, coinciding with the appearance of the first post-Roman communal crop-processing facilities, i.e. corn dryers, malting ovens, and watermills, the last usually associated with high-status centres. Animal husbandry changed too, moving from broad, ‘unstructured’ patterns of livestock management geared towards self-sufficiency, to more focused, closely managed practices geared towards producing both primary and secondary products. This may have been as much a response to the rise of monasteries as to the development of emporia and towns.

Keywords: crops; animal husbandry; field systems; barns; watermills; corn dryers

Chapter.  8465 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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