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A Study in Woodlands Archaeology: Cudham, North Downs

Sue Harrington
Publication Year:
91pp. Includes 16 figures, maps, plans and drawings, 11 photographs
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


In this volume, the author examines the woodland banking in the parish of Cudham on the North Downs (to the south of the Greater London region) to establish the phases of expansion and contraction of the woodlands in the Medieval period.An anomaly was evident between the Domesday Book reference suggesting extensive ploughlands and a post-Medieval reference suggesting extensive woodlands.Synthesis of the evidence from a sampling survey of the banking, the place-name evidence and from documentary sources suggested changes in the land use and settlement patterns, with the woodlands consistently prominent through all periods.The extant banking is thought to relate to the earliest Medieval settlement of the parish, which probably took the form of bounded estates.Their later use as woodland banks has preserved them in the landscape.Early Medieval use of the landscape for transhumant pasturing, followed by a dispersed settlement in the woodlands, led to a limited, arable, open field system in the later Medievalperiod.Non-manorial land tenure was characterised by renting, indicating the ability to generate income through the sale of surplus woodland products. The post-Medieval period is characterised by privately-owned woodland compartments.The conclusion is drawn that, over time, Cudham has been maintained as a specialised, woodland resource-producing area in the hinterland of London.