b'Harris, 1955) where within a single furlong a broadGlossarystrip is said to be twice the size of a narrow strip.Furlongused in this article as a subdivision ofAlthough, across furlongs, the widths of strips werean open field; a block of parallel strips, allnot constant. Alan Harris suggests that the exchangeindividually cultivated. Also known as aand consolidation of holdings might provide theFlat or Shot.explanation for broad and narrow stripsor it lies stillStripthe smallest subdivision of an open fielddeeper! and the area that was individuallyThe consistently widest ridges that appear incultivated. A furlong was dividedFigure 1 are in the block marked 1, within the backinto strips, each of which was allotted topaddocks of the houses with main street frontages.a separate cultivator. The size of stripsWith the permission of the owners of one of the fieldsvaried as they represented a daysconcerned, in 2006, we were able to measure theploughing which depended on the naturedistance between the middle of the ridges and alsoof the soil. Also known as a Selion orthe depth of the furrows across most of the field. OverStitch.10 measurements the average ridge width is 42 feet 4Headland the length of land at either end of theinches (13.51 metres) and the average depth of furrowstrips in a furlong that was used to turnis 1 foot 7 inches (0.48 metres). It should be notedthe plough team around. Deposition ofthat soil erosion will have reduced the furrow depthssoil meant that it built up over time andover the years since they were last ploughed. was probably ploughed itself after theThere is scope for wider study of the dimensionsstrips were ploughed.of ridge and furrow. What does the variation withinBalkan unploughed strip of ground left as aone township and across townships tell us?How didboundary between two ploughedridge widths vary over time and over different typesportions.of land? I can see another obsession emerging! InLandthe area that is ploughed to form athe meantime the following quote provides an indirectridge; a field that shows signs of beingcomparison with another area of the country (and itridged is also referred to as beingpromotes field work!): landed; land can be usedThe study of the open fields profits from someinterchangeably with ridge.advice which Professor R. H. Tawney once gavethat historians should abandon their books for their boots.BibliographyThe boots may follow the line of the old grass balksMaurice W. Beresford, What is Ridge-and-which lead from the lane into the furlongs; from theFurrow?, Country Life, March 4, 1949.headland they may move over the strips, whether the broad clay ridges of the Midlands or the narrow ridgesDavid Hall, Medieval fields in their many forms, of the lighter northern soil. From furrow to ridge mayBritish Archaeology, Issue No. 33, April 1998.be a stiff climbthe ridges on the Naseby fields are high enough to hide half an army.3 C. S. Orwin & C. S. Orwin, The Open Fields, Oxford University, 1967Ridge & Furrow: The InvisibleAlan Harris, M. A., Land and Oxgang in the East Earthworks Riding of Yorkshire, in the Yorkshire Archaeological The ridge and furrow features we take forJournal, Part 152, 1955granted are largely ignored and they are graduallyS. R. Eyre, The Curving Plough-strip, in the being eradicated. They are man-made earthworks,Agricultural History Review, No 4, 1955evidence of a way of life of our predecessors. In size and layout some of them, at least, could be anything between 1000 and 800 years old. They are worthy of recognition. Enclosure ensured that some of these earthworks were fossilised in fields that were given over to pasture and not destructively ploughed. These enclosed fields represent a completely different system of farming where:The hedge was the sign of private property and of private decisions as to what should be done with the land inside it.43Maurice W. Beresford, 1949.4As above.260 BULLETIN 14'