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The Isle of Wight in the English landscape: Medieval and Post-Medieval rural settlement and land use.

Basford, H. V., 2013. The Isle of Wight in the English landscape: Medieval and Post-Medieval rural settlement and land use. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University, School of Applied Sciences..

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The thesis is a local-scale study which aims to place the Isle of Wight in the English landscape. It examines the much discussed but problematic concept of ‘islandness’, identifying distinctive insular characteristics and determining their significance but also investigating internal landscape diversity. This is the first detailed academic study of Isle of Wight land use and settlement from the early medieval period to the nineteenth century and is fully referenced to national frameworks. The thesis utilises documentary, cartographic and archaeological evidence. It employs the techniques of historic landscape characterisation (HLC), using synoptic maps created by the author and others as tools of graphic analysis. An analysis of the Isle of Wight’s physical character and cultural roots is followed by an investigation of problems and questions associated with models of settlement and land use at various scales. Specifically, national-scale models by Oliver Rackham and by Brian Roberts and Stuart Wrathmell are critically assessed for their value as frameworks within which Isle of Wight data may be examined, as is the local-scale Isle of Wight HLC model. Historic Ordnance Survey maps, royal surveys, manorial surveys and other sources are used to define the Isle of Wight’s territorial units and patterns of land use, enclosure and settlement; to create a new model of 1790s HLC Areas; and to construct a database listing all settlements by size and form. Nucleation and dispersion densities are calculated from this database, compared with Isle of Wight densities mapped by Roberts & Wrathmell and discussed in relation to densities elsewhere in England. Regional-scale patterns of settlement and land-use within central southern England are considered and the relevance of national-scale models of settlement and land use to this region is discussed. The origins and evolution of Isle of Wight settlements are then explored, using evidence from early sources including place-names, Domesday Book, tax lists and surveys. Subsequent analysis defines discrete cultural zones within the Isle of Wight, confirming the diversity and ancient origins of its cultural landscapes. The final chapter provides a synoptic assessment of models, emphasising the value of the local-scale 1790s HLC Areas model and recognising the compatibility of Roberts & Wrathmell’s national-scale settlement model with detailed local data for the Isle of Wight. It is found that Rackham’s model of Ancient Countryside conforms partially with local attributes but that this model may now need some revision. The paradoxical status of the Solent as both a gateway and a cultural boundary is proposed, as is the Island’s affinity with other ‘peripheral’ areas of England.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:20803
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:21 Mar 2013 08:52
Last Modified:09 Aug 2022 16:03


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