Parwich & District Local History Society
Articles from Newsletter no. 1 (February 2000)
This is the first newsletter of The Parwich and District Local History Society. We hope that this will involve anyone in the area who is interested in discovering more about the past, recent or distant, of the area.
The group has been started by a number of people from in and around the village who have been exploring the past. Within a couple of miles of the church, school and village shop there are a number of Stone age and Bronze age burial mounds; flint tools can be picked up from the surface of ploughed fields; there is an important Romano-British encampment (less than 150 years ago a hoard of Roman coins was discovered on Parwich Hill) and the ridge and furrow in the fields reminds us of a 1000 year old farming system. The arch of the church is quite possibly Anglo-Saxon and many of the houses and cottages hide a history well over 500 years old.
We want to explore and celebrate that past in many ways and we wish to encourage others to participate with us. The Society is aimed at everyone, young or old and no expertise or knowledge is necessary. Although the name Parwich is used our interest does not stop at the parish boundary and we include all the 'outliers' described in the Domesday Book and beyond.
We intend to promote talks and local walks, information evenings and research groups. We are interested in the recent history, the history within living memory as well as more distant past.
This newsletter gives you details of the first few months. Join us if you can. If you would like to find out more contact the Website Editor.
Copyright © 2000 Peter Trewhitt
Below is Parwich's entry in the Domesday Book. The Manor of Parwich consisted of the present parish of Parwich together with the outlying settlements of Alsop (now a separate parish), Hanson (later this became a monastic sheep ranch which developed into the present Hanson Grange Farm) and Cold Eaton (Eaton Dale no longer contains a settlement). The Manor belonged to the Crown and the land would have been let out. This meant that a number of families in the village were able to acquire some prominence and that the village was not as dominated by a single family.
Parwich 2c of land taxable. Land for 2 ploughs. Waste.
The people would have
lived in much the same area as the present village. Though all we can identify,
at present, is that the Church St. Peter's, a common Anglo-Saxon dedication, is
in the same location as the Saxon church, and that the Hall is likely to be on
the site of the Saxon manor house. The areas around the Green and Nethergreen
would have been quite boggy, so probably the focus of the village was on the
higher ground by the Hall and the School. Some house names date from the beginning of the last
millennium, such as Hallcliffe and Flaxdale, so it is possible that the current
houses are on the site of the Anglo-Saxon dwellings of the same name.
biggest difference would have been in the layout of the farmed land and the
trackways. Farms were not scattered across the parish as now, but
people would travel out from the centre of the village to large shared
field areas. The crops were grown in plots in large expanses of ploughed land.
These are called Open Fields, and a family may have strips or furlows in
different parts of the field. The crops likely to have been grown were
grains (wheat, barley and oats) and vegetables (peas, beans, cabbage,
carrots, onions, parsnips and beetroot). We can still see the 'ridge and furrow'
lines of the Saxon ploughing in the areas shown on the map
overleaf, lookout for where they go straight through the modern field walls.
Also that flax was grown is indicated by the name Flaxdale which was in use by
the 1200s. Livestock (cattle and sheep) would have been grazed on the
large common pastures that made up the bulk of the Parish.
there are many farms scattered through the parish now, a thousand years ago the
'farmhouses' would have been in the centre of the village. This is the likely
reason why there were so many farms in the village up to just a few Years ago
(for example Dam Farm, Flaxdale, Church Farm, Close Farm, Orchard Farm).
There was some water meadow in the parish, running down from the present sewage works towards White Meadow. The streams through the water meadow would have had sluice gates, which would have been closed to flood the land in winter. The water then insulated the land from the cold, and when it was drained in the early spring it would be warmer than the surrounding land, resulting in earlier grazing.
modern roads do not always follow the routes used a thousand years ago. The
modern road tends to go along the valley bottoms, whereas the old trackways tend
to follow the high ground. An example of the track following the higher ground
is the Ringway, going north from Townhead, above the Newhaven road. It may be
that the higher ground was used in winter, but as the ground dried out in summer
the valley bottoms would have been used as well. Some of these ancient track
ways, from frequent use and washing away of the soil, became 'hollow ways'. that
is, sunken tracks between high banks; examples of this can be seen in the
village such as Kiln Lane as it goes up from the Hall. The trackways around
Parwich have not been surveyed, and there is the opportunity to study this
We do not know how old the water mill on the Alsop road (Dam Lane) would have been, nor do we know where the forge would have been a thousand years ago (Smithy Lane?). Was pottery made in the village? These are also things we may be able to find out.
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