The Wandering Herd: The Medieval Cattle Economy of South-East England c.450-1450 [Paperback]

Andrew Margetts (Author)

ISBN: 9781911188797 | Published by: Windgather Press | Year of Publication: 2021 | Language: English 312p, H246 x W189 (mm) B/w and colour

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The Wandering Herd


The British countryside is on the brink of change. With the withdrawal of EU subsidies, threats of US-style factory farming and the promotion of ‘rewilding’ initiatives, never before has so much uncertainty and opportunity surrounded our landscape. How we shape our prospective environment can be informed by bygone practice, as well as through engagement with livestock and landscapes long since vanished. This study examines aspects of pastoralism that occurred in part of medieval England. It suggests how we learn

from forgotten management regimes to inform, shape and develop our future countryside.

This book focuses on a region of southern England the pastoral identity of which has long been synonymous with the economy of sheep pasture and the medieval right of swine pannage. These aspects of medieval pastoralism, made famous by iconic images of the South Downs and the evidence presented by Domesday, mask a pastoral heritage in which a signifi cant part was played by cattle. This aspect of medieval pastoralism is traceable in the region’s historic landscape, documentary evidence and excavated archaeological remains. Past scholars of the South-East have been so concerned with the importance of medieval sheep, and to a slightly lesser extent pigs, that no systematic examination of the cattle economy has ever been undertaken. This book therefore represents a deep, multi-disciplinary study of the cattle economy over the
face=Agenda-RegularItalic size=1>longue durée
face=Agenda-Regular size=1>of the Middle Ages, especially its importance within the evolution of medieval society, settlement and landscape.

Nationally, medieval cattle have been one of the most important and neglected aspects of the agriculture of the medieval period. This book shows us how, as part of both a mixed and specialised farming economy, they have helped shapethe countryside we know today.

Table of Contents

List of plates and figures
List of tables
1.  Introduction
2. Related medieval landscape research
3. A historical and documentary perspective
4. Place-name
5. Roads, commons, forest and chase
6. Oval enclosures and medieval parks
7. Downland enclosures: ‘valley entrenchments’
8. Animal bone assemblages
9. Wealden case studies: the Hayworth and
10. Discussion
11. Conclusion

Reviews & Quotes

"There is little doubt that The Wandering Herd will find a respected place in the literature of medieval agriculture and economy."
Brian Kerr

"…makes an important point about the visibility of medieval cattle husbandry and demonstrates a working methodology for studying pastoral farming in past landscapes. "
Carly Hilts
Current Archaeology (07/09/2021)

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