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Landscape, territory and common rights in medieval East Yorkshire

McDonagh, Briony

Authors

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Dr Briony McDonagh B.McDonagh@hull.ac.uk
Reader in Historical Geography, Energy & Environment Institute



Abstract

The paper examines issues of landscape, territory and common rights, with specific reference to the multi-township, multi-manor parish of Burton Agnes in the northeast Yorkshire Wolds. Burton was a territorial unit of considerable antiquity which survived as a distinct estate until the late twelfth century when it was split between co-heiresses. This produced a complex territorial and tenurial situation, characterized in the later medieval period by ongoing conflicts over common rights between neighbouring manorial families on behalf of themselves and their various tenants. Crucially – given the lack of adequate commons governance structure – such conflicts proved not only almost impossible to resolve but also productive in documentary terms. This paper examines the far-reaching consequences of the 1199 division of the estate in two linked sets of sources: firstly, by using legal documents and estate records to examine conflicts about common rights in the parish moor in the later medieval period; and secondly and relatedly, by utilizing standing buildings, landscape and documentary sources to interrogate the built landscape as a site to articulate territorial claims (including to rights and resources in the parish moor) and the patronage thereof by local manorial families. In this sense, the paper both traces the consequences of earlier territorial arrangements and explores the range of strategies by which local manorial families might make and mark territory in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In doing so, the paper makes the case for writing 'grounded' historical geographies of the commons which both set individual commons within their wider temporal, spatial and territorial contexts and recognize them as always entangled within the broader politics and landscape of the parish.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 17, 2019
Journal Landscape history
Print ISSN 0143-3768
Electronic ISSN 2160-2506
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Issue 2
Pages 77-100
APA6 Citation (2019). Landscape, territory and common rights in medieval East Yorkshire. Landscape History, 40(2), 77-100. https://doi.org/10.1080/01433768.2020.1676043
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/01433768.2020.1676043
Keywords Landscape; territory; common rights; commons governance; built landscape; parish and township boundaries; Burton Agnes; Harpham
Publisher URL https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01433768.2020.1676043
Additional Information Journal is Landscape History (published by Taylor & Francis). Can it be added please?
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