Throughout the Summer Barbara Winfield and I have been ploughing on with the research for All Our Stories: we now have a good record of owners and tenants throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (which will be useful for local family historians), and have even been able to get back into the sixteenth century manor court rolls, with the kind help of Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, where some records are kept.
However, our most fascinating discovery has been with the help of English Heritage and LIDAR data (a remote sensing technology that uses high altitude laser to produce reflected light off dips, lumps, bumps and ditches – more information here). With this, academic papers, and our research on the evolution of local field names, we have established that the whole Kelcliffe Area, including the park, is awash with ancient ridge and furrow, and field lynchets : indicating that the area has probably been farmed in open fields since early medieval times around 600AD – 1000AD and then into the high medieval period 1000AD – 1400AD (remembering that William I laid wast to the area around 1069). There is also the possibility that some markings in fields around the park show the remains of Romano-British enclosure systems. This would link with the enclosures that have been found on The Chevin.
We now need to write our findings into a report and seek academic help with specialists on verification, probably with a field survey. At some point in the future, we also want to obtain a grant to do some test pits to see if we can find dating evidence – but that is for the future.