Woodborough’s Heritage

Woodborough, a Sherwood Forest Village, recorded in Domesday

Fields and woodlands for the wider area around Woodborough (Wodborow) circa 1400

The enclosure of open fields into the smaller fields we know today took place over centuries and by 1700 about a half of cultivated land was already enclosed. Examples of the open field system survive today in patches and include Laxton in Nottinghamshire.

Until about 1730 most enclosures were carried through by private agreements between the owners of the land in question. However, from the 1750’s onwards, enclosure was carried out by private act of parliament working through special commissioners in each of the affected parishes. Enclosure in Woodborough was by act of parliament in 1795.

All land under cultivation has, or has had a name of its own but the word ‘field’ rarely occurs as it meant the opposite of what we know as a field today. Under the open field system, large tracts of cultivated land were known as fields, which were divided into furlongs, and it is the furlong names, that became field names post enclosure. So the small hedged or walled fields we know today are technically enclosures or ‘closes’.

In Woodborough, post enclosure there were 114 field names. Ten include fields in their name and 44 were ‘closes’. These included names such as, Brick Kiln Close, Brown Wong Close, Hanner Butts Close, Old Cricket Close, Potter Hole Close and Water Cottage Close.

Like place names, field names are in origin descriptions of some type. For instance descriptions by size, such as Big Falays, Broad Close Seventeen Lands or Six Acre. Others describe the type of land. Examples are, Lime Close (land to which lime has been applied), Meadow Close (grassland mown for hay), Stone Pits (stony soil or from which stone was excavated) and Hump and Hollow.

Field names can provide a ready-made supply of street names. Broad Close is the clearest example but others have been used in a slightly altered form. Far Southwood Bank (now Bank Hill), The Meadow (now The Meadows) and White’s Meadow (now White’s Croft) are street names today.

Field names are less permanent than place names and over the centuries some have been lost or changed and today, they perform no real function. In sale catalogues they have been replaced by OS map references.



Woodborough Field Names - From 1400

Field names circa 1400

There were named fields and woods as early as 1400 and part of the Sherwood Forest map of 1400 below showing land and woodland around Woodborough and the names they were know by at that time. For example Ploughman Wood was know then as Howrley. An area of fields to the south-east of Woodborough shown as Hoverley Feilde, now known as Hawley Fields.

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