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Durham University

Margins of the East Fen: Historic Landscape Evolution


1 The Solway provided many of the data for the famous William Brownrigg, The Art of Making Common Salt, London: C. Davis etc, 1748. Available in July 2009 at

2 L. Barber and G. Priestly-Bell, Medieval Adaptation, Settlement and Economy of a Coastal Wetland. The Evidence from around Lydd, Romney Marsh, Kent, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2008, 281-282.

3 There may have been Roman banks in the Somerset Levels but they seem to have been low compared with their medieval successors and thus easily built over or merged into the landscape: S. Rippon, Landscape, Community and Colonisation. The North Somerset Levels during the 1st to 2nd millennia AD, York: CBA Research Report 152, 2006, 268-269. Using Severn estuary examples, Allen makes the point that field evidence for former shorelines is easily erased by natural processes or agricultural development (J.R.L. Allen, 'Muddy alluvial coasts of Britain: field criteria for shoreline position and movement in the recent past', Proceedings of the Geologists' Association of London 104, 1993, 241-262).

4 D. Hall and J. Coles, Fenland Survey: an essay in landscape and persistence, Swindon: English Heritage Archaeological Report no 1, 1994, 115-117.

5 H.E. Hallam, The New Lands of Elloe, University of Leicester Dept of English Local History Occasional Papers no 6, 1954; idem, Settlement and Society. A Study of the Early Agrarian History of South Lincolnshire, Cambridge: CUP, 1965.

6 A. Crowson et al Anglo-Saxon Settlement on the Siltland of Eastern England, Heckington: Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports Series no 7, 2005, p 295

7 A. Crowson, T. Lane and J. Reeve, Fenland Management Project: Excavations 1991-1995, Heckington: Lincolnshire Archaeology and Heritage Reports no 6, 2000; R. Silvester,. Marshland and Nar Valley, Dereham: The Fenland Project Norfolk Survey no 4, 1988, EAA 45.

8 C. Green, 'East Anglian coast-line levels since Roman times', Antiquity 35, 1961, 21-28.

9 J. Chandler (ed) John Leland's Itinerary. Travels in Tudor England. Stroud: Alan Sutton, 1993, p 300 and also online at in May 2009. "To Skegnesse sumtyme a great haven town ... there was ons an haven and a town wallid having also a castelle. The old toune is clene consumed, and eaten up with the se, part of a church stode a late" Leland is reporting what he was told, not what he could see.

10 H.C. Darby, The Changing Fenland, Cambridge: CUP, 1983, p 18. He is using Dugdale as his source. There is a Pod Hole in Deeping Fen. Joseph Wright says of 'Pod'(sb1, 3, though of the Lakes and Cumbria), 'A net used for fishing in small streams; an eel-net; a purse-net', accessed in July 2009 at (Registration required)

11 K. Horsburgh and M. Horritt, 'The Bristol Channel floods of 1607 - reconstruction and analysis', Weather 61, 2006, 272-277.

12 H. Clarke and A. Carter, Excavations in King's Lynn 1963-1970, London: The Society for Medieval Archaeology vol 7, The King's Lynn Archaeological Survey Vol II, 1977, p 412; Fig 186 is on p 411.

13 A.R.J. Hutcheson, 'The origins of King's Lynn? Control of wealth on the Wash prior to the Norman Conquest', Medieval Archaeology 50, 2006, 71-104.

14 G. Harden, Medieval Boston and its Archaeological Implications, Heckington: South Lincs Archaeological Unit, 1978; D. M. Owen, 'The beginnings of the port of Boston', in N. Field and A. J. White (eds) A Prospect of Lincolnshire, Lincoln: The Editors, 1984, 42-45.

15 A.E.B. Owen op cit 1996 #88, 131-134. Note the plural 'vills'.

16 MCO: Macray's Calendar vol 1, no 111, Grant of a building with a curtilage Wainfleet.

17 As measured in metres on GE.

18 A. Bell, D. Gurney and H. Healey, Lincolnshire Salterns: Excavations at Helpringham, Holbeach St Johns and Bicker Haven, Heckington: Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire, 1999, EAA Report No 89, 97-100. The lament over the poor value of the salt waste's barren hills might point to the 'toffett lands' of BHM 1610.

19 H. Fenwick, 'Medieval salt-production and landscape development in the Lincolnshire Marsh', in S. Ellis et al (eds) Wetland Heritage of the Lincolnshire Marsh. An Archaeological Survey, Hull: University of Hull Centre for Wetland Archaeology, 2001, 231-241.

20 M. Gardiner, 'The transformation of marshlands in Anglo-Norman England', Anglo-Norman Studies XXIX, 2007, p 39.

21 B.K. Roberts and S. Wrathmell, Region and Place: a study of English rural settlement, London: English Heritage, 2002. The only local lowland -worth name seems to be Cumberworth, at the northern end of the GEA.

22 A.E.B. Owen, ''The custom of Romney Marsh and the Statute of Sewers 1427', Archaeologia Cantiana 116, 1996, 93-99.

23 A.E.B. Owen op cit 1997 p 97.

24 The history of the Commissions in south Lincolnshire is given in detail in the Introduction to A. M. Kirkus, The Records of the Commissioners of Sewers in the Parts of Holland 1547-1603, vol I, Lincoln: LRS vol 54, 1959, vii-xxvii. The Acts are also reprinted in this volume. Available online in June 2009 at

25 E. Vollans, 'Medieval saltmaking and the inning of tidal marshes at Belgar, Lydd', in J. Eddison (ed) Romney Marsh. The Debateable Ground, Oxford: Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, 1995, 118-126.

26 Cf 'Marfleet's Bridge' on the Old Fen Bank about 1.2 m north-east of Friskney (TF 466 566).

27 M. Gardiner 'Medieval farming and flooding in the Brede Valley' in J. Eddison op cit 1995, 127-137.

28 J. Eddison, 'The purpose, construction and operation of a 13th century watercourse: the Rhee, Romney Marsh, Kent', in A. Long, S. Pipkin and H. Clarke (eds) Romney Marsh: Coastal and Landscape Change through the Ages, Oxford OUSA Monograph 56, 2002, 127-139.

29 Ibid, p137.

30 E.g., J.R.L. Allen, 'The sequence of early land-claims on the Walland and Romney Marshes, southern Britain: a preliminary hypothesis and some implications', Proceedings of the Geologists' Association of London 107, 1996, 271-280; a broader context is in idem, Geological impacts on coastal wetland landscapes: some general effects of sediment autocompaction in the Holocene of northwest Europe', The Holocene 9, 1999, 1-12.

31 M. Williams, The Draining of the Somerset Levels, Cambridge: CUP, 1970.

32 S. Rippon, Landscape, Community and Colonisation: the North Somerset Levels during the 1st to 2nd Millennia AD, York: CBA Research Report 152, 2006. Google Scholar lists 58 hits on Rippon+Somerset.

33 Ibid pp 42-46 and 64-66.

34 Ibid p 85.

35 Ibid ch 6.

36 R. Van de Noort, The Humber Wetlands, Macclesfield: Windgather Press, 2004, chs 8 and 9; J. A. Sheppard, The Draining of the Marshlands of South Holderness and the Vale of York, York: East Yorkshire Local History Society, 1966.

37 J. Lewis, 'The excavation of an 18th century salt-pan at St Monance, Fife', Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 119, 1989, 361-370.

38 These partially resemble the door symbols in the sea-gote of MPC 1/237 (temp Hen VIII) but lack the horizontal lines joining them. A court verdict of 1434 records that a Walter at Hylle was paid 3s for '1 beam bought for the mill' in the context of le Ee' at Wainfleet. The 'y' in 'Hylle' seems to be unambiguously not an 'a'.

39 NMR: O.S. 08/6804 of 12 Apr 1968, frame 090; 106G/UK/1730 of 12 Sep 1946, frame 3339; Lincs HER: HSL UK 71 166 of 5 Sep 1971 frame 7913; a BW digitally manipulated version of GE 2005 seems to have most detail.

40 Extant examples in the south of England seem to be on creeks with a freshwater input, though the mudflats behind the mill dam show salt-marsh circular phenomena. Eling Mill (Hants: 50 deg 54' N 1 deg 28' W is on a straight causeway across the creek; Thorrington Mill, Essex (51 deg 50' N 1 deg 1' E) stands aside from the main creek, trapping both fresh and tidal water. There are no examples, it seems, on the Severn estuary. A gazetteer is produced at accessed July 2009. Salt-water ponds near the sea would have been useful for fish (notably eels) or oysters, for example. See C. Currie, 'Sea ponds, with reference to the Solent, Hampshire', in A. Aberg and C. Lewis (eds) The Rising Tide. Archaeology and Coastal Landscapes, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2000, 108-114.

41 T. McErlean and N. Crothers, Harnessing the Tides. The Early Medieval Tide Mills at Nendrum Monastery, Strangford Lough, Norwich: The Stationery Office, 2007, Northern Ireland Archeological Monographs no 7; C. Catling, 'Harnessing the tides', Current Archaeology 19, 2008, #224, 26-33.

42 P. Clay and C.R. Salisbury, 'A Norman mill dam and other sites at Hemington Fields, Castle Donington, Leicestershire', The Archaeological Journal 147, 1990, 276-307 esp Fig 13 on p 287.

43 There is a good general treatment of tide mills in A. Lucas, Wind, Water, Work. Ancient and Medieval Milling Technology, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2006, Technology and Change in History vol 8. Apparently, tide mills can give rise to considerable turbulence, to which the explanation of 'jawp' in Wright (EDD) might help with ' hills': W. E. Michinton, 'Early tide mills: some problems', Technology and Culture 20, 1979, 777-786. There was a piece of land in Friskney called Jopcroft in 1367 (MCO: Candlesby Deeds 1a).

44 For Flanders especially see B. Lyon, 'Medieval real estate developments and freedom', American Historical Review 63, 1957, 47-61. He mentions various English regions as being analogous environments, hence the discussion at this point.

45 P. Crabtree, 'Agricultural innovation and socio-economic change in early medieval Europe: evidence from Britain and France', World Archaeology 42, 2010, 122-136. Peter Fowler thinks that the century before DB was the critical time in the formation of villages and fields (Farming in the First Millennium, Cambridge: CUP 2002).

46 B.M.S. Campbell, 'The extent and layout of commonfields in eastern Norfolk', Norfolk Archaeology 28, 1981, 5-32.

47 E. Russell and R.C. Russell, Old and New Landscapes in Horncastle Area Lincolnshire, Lincoln: Lincolnshire County Council Lincolnshire History Series No 7, 1985. The relevant parishes are East Keal and the two Toyntons.

48 Though in 1576, four tenants held 'acres' in Bamburgh Field in Croft. LAO: MON 8/8: The Booke of Survey of all the Manors .. of Sir V Browne, 18 Eliz I.

49 B.M.S. Campbell and M. Overton, 'A new perspective on medieval and early modern agriculture: six centuries of Norfolk farming c. 1250-c. 1850', Past and Present 141, 1993, 38-105.

50 B.M.S. Campbell, 'Agricultural progress in medieval England: some evidence from Eastern Norfolk', Economic History Review 36, 1983, 26-46.

51 R.L. Hills, The Drainage of the Fens, Ashbourne: Landmark Publishing, 2003, 154-157.

52 There was a 'Brick Clamp' of 3 acres just south of Croft Bank in 1809 at about TF 514 605 (LAO: MON 17/7).

53 S. Rippon, 'Adaptation to a changing environment: the response of marshland communities to the late medieval 'crisis'', Journal of Wetland Archaeology 1, 2001, 15-39.

54 B.M.S. Campbell and K. Bartley, England on the Eve of the Black Death. An Atlas of Lay Lordship, Land and Wealth, 1300-1349, Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2006, Graph 4.1.

55 B.M.S. Campbell, 'Ecology vs economics in late thirteenth and early fourteenth-century English agriculture', in D. Sweeny (ed) Agriculture in the Middle Ages. Technology, Practice and Representation, Philadelphia PA: University of Philadelphia Press, 1995, 76-108.

56 TNA: DL 41/317 Inquest [at Boston, 12 Edw II, 1318] into the sea-coast between Friskney and Thorp-by-Wainfleet.

57 A good example is from 1396 when an Ingoldmells man was held to be 'a common forestaller of fish along the coast at Skegness, Winthorpe and Ingoldmells'. E.G. Kimball (ed) Records of Some Sessions of the Peace in Lincolnshire 1381-1396. II. The Parts of Lindsey. Lincoln: Lincoln Record Society vol 56, 1962, #579, p 204.

58 B.M.S. Campbell and K. Bartley, op cit 2006, especially Maps 18.5, 18.6 and 18.16.

59 H.C. Darby et al, "The changing distribution of wealth in England: 1086-1334-1525', Journal of Historical Geography 5, 1979, 247-262.

60 H.E. Hallam, 'Population density in medieval fenland', The Economic History Review NS 14, 1961, 71-81 at p 79.

61 Ibid, p 79.

62 Ibid, p 76.

63 And after: a messuage and 15 ac in Firsby was leased to graziers from Horncastle and Spilsby in 1787 (LAO: Holywell 49/14 Copy of lease by William Scott).

64 These details come from a variety of documents in the Bethlem archive. The Wace holdings in the fourteenth century and fifteenth century were mostly in Wainfleet St Mary and the Ellercar's about equally divided between the two parishes and simply 'of Wainfleet' Men of substance in the area generally, it seems.

65 H. Kitsikopoulos, 'The impact of the Black Death on peasant economy in England, 1350-1500', Journal of Peasant Studies 29, 2002, 71-90.

66 H. Cook, 'Hydrological management in reclaimed wetlands' in H. Cook and T. Williamson (eds) Water Management in the English Landscape, Edinburgh: EUP, 1999, 84-100.

67 R.J. Silvester, 'Medieval reclamation of marsh and fen' in Cook and Williamson (eds) op cit 1999, 122-140.

68 M. Gardner, 'The transformations of marshlands in Anglo-Norman England', Anglo-Norman Studies 24, 2007, 35-50.

69 TNA: DL25/2516: Reginald of Scredesfled grants to Alan fil. Grippe of Friskney, 'in Friskney Marsh'; DL25/2490: Simon s. of Richard de Freskeney grants to Walter son of Alan son of Gippos, 'Grant of one deila in Freskney cum mola and other appurtenances; the deila is the one which Alan the father of Walter held of me'. It sounds like the same daila. The SMR suggests that the mounds in Friskney along with 'The earthworks of a pond' (TF 452 555) are a mill complex but I am inclined to think that a saltern is more likely. Lincs HER: SMR 41778 (TF 452 555).

70 R. Holt, 'Medieval England's water-related technologies' in P. Squatriti (ed) Working with Water in Medieval Europe, Leiden: Brill, 2000, Technology and History vol 3, 51-100.

71 This is to ignore the chapel of St John which could well have been near St John's Street and thus close to the old Haven, Whose chapel? Might it have been placed there by the Kyme family or priory?

72 R. Ransford (ed) The Early Charters of the Augustinian Canons of Waltham Abbey, Essex. 1062-1230, Woodbridge: Boydell, 1989, Studies in the History of Medieval Religion vol II, #510, p 353.

73 See R. Van de Noort, The Humber Wetlands: the Archaeology of a Dynamic Landscape, Macclesfield: Windgather Press, 2004.

74 C.J. Bond, 'Monastic fisheries', in M. Aston (ed) Medieval Fish, Fisheries and Fishponds in England, Oxford: BAR British Series 182(i), 1988, 69-112.

75 RAF: 106G/UK/1730 of 12 Sept 1946, frame 4202.
76 Lincs HER: SMR 43536.

77 Transcribed and translated by A.E.B. Owen op cit 1996, #92, pp 137-138.

78 There is an additional argument the submergence of estuaries under the sea-level rise at the end of the thirteenth century eased river gradients so much that water mills became less easy to work; that many DB mills were no longer in use by then end of the medieval period. (C. Green, 'East Anglian coast-line levels since Roman times', Antiquity 35, 1961, 21-28).

79 In a trawl of the LRS volumes of will transcriptions from the sixteenth century, some 5/12 references are to horse mills. Their rise was probably strongest in the fifteenth century.

80 F.M. Stenton (ed) Transcripts of Charters relating to Gilbertine Houses, Horncastle: H. K. Morton, 1922, LRS vol 18, #15, p 45.

81 A.E.B. Owen op cit #90, p 135.

82 TNA: MPC 1/237.

83 In medieval Flanders, peat was transported long distances: K. Deforce, J. Bastiaens and V. Arneels, 'Peat re-excavated at the Abbey of Ename (Belgium): archaeobotanical evidence for peat extraction and long distance transport in Flanders around 1200 AD', Environmental Archaeology 12, 2007, 87-94.

84 The detail can be found in Dugdale p 165 and also in a copy in LCL: Fens Antiquities vol I p 306-317.

85 Albeit there is a very good summary in chs 8-11 of S. Rippon, The Transformation of Coastal Wetlands, Oxford: OUP for the British Academy, 2000.

86 J.R.L. Allen, 'Morphodynamics of Holocene salt marshes: a review sketch from the Atlantic and Southern North Sea coasts of Europe', Quaternary Science Reviews 19, 2000, 1155-1231.

87 The word is also frequently used of the pike, Esox lucius.

88 G.P. van de Ven (ed) Man-made Lowlands. History of Water Management and Land Reclamation in the Netherlands, Utrecht: Stichting Matrijs, 2004, 4th rev edn; W.H. TeBrake, Medieval Frontier. Culture and Ecology in Rijnland, College Station TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1985; idem, 'Hydraulic engineering in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages', in P. Squatriti (ed) Working with Water in Medieval Europe, Leiden: Brill, 2000, Technology and Change in History vol 3, 101-127; idem, 'Taming the waterwolf. Hydraulic engineering and water management in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages', Technology and Culture 43, 2002, 475-499.

89 W.H. TeBrake, 'Ecology and economy in early medieval Frisia', Viator 9, 1978, 1-29; M. Miedema, 'Special terpen in the Province of Groningen', in H. Sarfatij et al (eds) In Discussion with the Past. Archaeological Studies presented to W.A. van Es, Zwolle: Stichting Promotie Archaeologie, 1999, 309-316.

90 Examples of the problems created for landscape reconstruction can be found in P. C. Vos and D.A. Gerrets, 'Archaeology: a major tool in the reconstruction of the coastal evolution of Westergo (northern Netherlands)', Quaternary International 133-134, 2005, 61-75 at p 69.

91 P.C. Vos, 'The Subatlantic evolution of the coastal area around the Wijnaldum-Tjitsma terp', in J.C. Besteman et al., The Excavations at Wijnaldum. Reports on Frisia in Roman and Medieval Times, vol 1, Rotterdam: Balkema, 1999, 33-72, especially Figs 6 and 7. Reconstructions of the layout of the terp settlement can be seen in D.A. Gerrets and J. De Koning, 'Settlement development on the Wijnaldum-Tjitsma terp', ibid 73-123, though there is no discussion of possible field systems and layout.

92 van de Ven op cit 2004, fig 29 p 135. Wooden piles were used to fasten the seaweed. There is an echo of the depiction of the bank of Wainfleet Haven in the Burleigh maps. Mention of reed mats recalls Mat Pits Lane just west of Wainfleet All Saints.

93 Several instances in Friskney and Wainfleet St Mary have been found, dating from1424-1650; some sound like a tract of land : 'in poller' [1424], others use 'Poller fendyke' as a tract rather than a linear feature. There is one example of 'the field called peller', in 1480. Part of the bank survives into the Six-Inch map of the late nineteenth century as 'Polar Bank' and there is a continuous trace on the OSD map of 1819:

94 P.J.E.M. van Dam, 'Ecological challenges, technological innovations. The modernization of sluice building in Holland, 1300-1600', Technology and Culture 43, 2002, 500-520. Details of historical sluices can be found in van de Ven op cit 2004, 93-98 and 138-140.

95 Seen at 'Master of Landscape' exhibition, Royal Academy, London, March 2006. Examples of his work are in museums in Amsterdam and Haarlem.

96 See the map in van de Ven op cit 2004 Fig 1 p 40, for 800 AD. The mauve shading for peat dominates the image. Further material for the ninth century onwards is in J.M. Bos, 'The bog area of North Holland after 1000: crises and opportunities', in J.C. Besteman, J.M. Bos and H.A. Heidinga (eds) Medieval Archaeology in the Netherlands, Assen: Van Gorcum, 1990, 121-132. See also G.J. Borger, 'Draining-digging-dredging; the creation of a new landscape in the peat areas of the low countries' in J.T.A. Verhoven (ed) Fens and Bogs in the Netherlands: Vegetation, History Nutrient Dynamics and Conservation, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1992, 131-171, Geobotany 18; P.J.E.M. van Dam, 'Sinking peat bogs: environmental change in Holland, 1350-1550', Environmental History 6, 2001, 31-45.

97 The stratigraphical ecology of a reclamation sequence is given in J. Williamson et al., 'Environmental change during the medieval reclamation of the raised-bog area Waterland (The Netherlands): a palaeophytosociological approach', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 94, 1996, 75-86. Akker recalls Acresgate in Wainfleet St Mary's Low Grounds.

98 H.J.A. Berendsen, 'The evolution of the fluvial area of the western part of the Netherlands from 1000-1300 AD', Geologie en Mijnbouw 63, 1984, 231-240.

99 R.S.J. Tol and A. Langen, ' A concise history of Dutch river floods', Climatic Change 46, 2000, 357-369.

100 K.A.H.W. Lenders, 'Peat in the tidal areas of Zeeland', accessed in September 2006 at

101 M. Waller at al, North-Eastern Fens (Lincs), The Fenland Project no 9: Flandrian Environmental Change in Fenland, Cambridge: Cambridgeshire County Council, 1994, EAA 70.

102 B. van Geel and G.J. Borger, 'Evidence for medieval salt-making by burning Eel-grass (Zostera marina L.) in the Netherlands', Netherlands Journal of Geosciences-Geologie en Mijnbouw 84, 2005, 43-49. Most Zostera stands in the British Isles have been replaced by Spartina spp.

103 K.A.H.W. Lenders, 'The start of peat digging for salt production in the Zeeland region', in M. Lodewickx (ed) Bruc ealles well. Archaeological essays concerning the peoples of North-West Europe in the first millennium AD, Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2004, Acta Archaeologica Lovanensia Monographiae 15, 107-110. Accessed in August 2009 at http:\\

104 See H. Sarfatij, 'Dutch towns in the formative period (AD 1000-1400): the archaeology of settlement and building' in J.C. Besteman et al (eds) Medieval Archaeology in the Netherlands, Assen: Van Gorcum, 1980, 183-198; H. Sarfatij et al (eds) In Discussion with the Past. Archaeological Studies presented to W.A. van Es, Zwolle: Stichting Promotie Archaeologie, 1999; H.H. van Regteren Altena, 'The origins and development of Dutch towns' World Archaeology 2, 1970, 128-140. The Tric/Skegness discussion is in A.E.B. Owen and R. Coates, 'Triectus/Tric/Skegness: a Domesday name explained', Lincolnshire History and Archaeology 38, 2003, 42-44.

105 J. Broich, 'The wasting of Wolin: environmental factors in the downfall of a medieval town', Environment and History 7, 2001, 187-199.

106 W.H. TeBrake, Medieval Frontier. Culture and Ecology in Rijnland, College Station TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1985, pp 143-149. I am using TeBrake's summaries and have not seen the sources.

107 Ibid pp 148-149.

108 K-E. Behre, 'Landscape development and occupation history along the southern North Sea coast', in G. Wefer et al (eds) Climate and History-their Interaction in the North Atlantic Realm, Berlin and Heidelberg: Springer 2002, 299-312; idem, 'Coastal development, sea-level change and settlement history during the later Holocene in the Clay District of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), northern Germany', Quaternary International 112, 2004, 37-53.

109 D. Meier ' Man and environment in the marsh area of Schleswig-Holstein from Roman until late Medieval times', Quaternary International 112, 2004, 55-69.

110 R. Van de Noort, 'Where are Yorkshire's 'terps'? Wetland exploitation in the early medieval period', in H. Geake and J. Kenny (eds) Early Deira. Archaeological Studies of the East Riding in the Fourth to Ninth Centuries AD, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2000, 121-131; idem, The Humber Wetlands. The Archaeology of a Dynamic Landscape, Macclesfield: Windgather Press, 2004, ch 8.

111 K-E Behre, 'A new Holocene sea-level curve for the southern North Sea', Boreas 36, 2007, 82-102.

112 F. Bungenstock and A. Schäfer, 'The Holocene relative sea-level curve for the tidal basin of the barrier island Langeoog, German Bight, Southern North Sea', Global and Planetary Change 66, 2009, 34-51.

113 H. Freud et al 'The indicative meaning of diatoms, pollen and botanical macrofossils for the reconstruction of palaeoenvironments and sea-level fluctuations along the coast of Lower Saxony; Germany', Quaternary International 112, 2004, 71-87.

114 Ulla Fraes Rasmussen, 'Køge-the topography of a planned town', in J. Bill and B.L Clausen (eds) Maritime Topography and the Maritime Town, Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark Studies in Archaeology and History 4, 1999, 237-250.

115 N.O. Jørgensen, 'Origin of shallow saline groundwater on the Island of Læsø, Denmark', Chemical Geology 184, 2002, 359-370; J. Vellev, Saltproduktion på Læsø, I Danmark og I Europa, Højbjerg DK: Forlaget Hikuin, 2000.

116 E.g., 106G/UK/1730 of 12 Sept 1946 frame 3341; O.S. 68 042 of 12 April 1968 frame 072.

117 M. Rębkowski, 'The maritime topography of medieval Kołobrzeg' in J. Bill and B.L. Clausen (eds) Maritime Topography and the Maritime Town, Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark Studies in Archaeology and History 4, 1999, 55-60.

118 E. Swedenborg, Miscellaneous Observations connected with the Physical Sciences, London: William Newbury, 1847, trans C.E. Strutt, pp 65-70. Available in August 2009 at

119 W. Schich, 'Die Rolle der Salzgewinning in der Wirtschaftsentwicklung des Ostseeslawen', in L. Leciejewicz and M. Rębkowski (eds) Salsa Cholbergensis. Kołobrzeg w średniowieczu, Kołobrzeg, 2000, 95-108.

120 R. Blanchard, 'Flanders', Geographical Review 4, 1917, 417-433. The contemporary events in Flanders are mentioned, but not the landscape make-overs that were part of them.

121 The Aa meets the sea near Gravelines and is navigable as far as St Omer. A local vegetation history can be found in E. Gandouin et al., '10,000 years of vegetation history of the Aa palaeoestuary, St-Omer Basin, northern France', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 156, 2009, 307-318.

122 TNA: DL 30/91/1231 A court held at Bolingbroke the Thurs. before St Valentine 12 Henry VI [1434]: 'And la Aa of Wainfleet is defective in repair from the bridge there to the church of All Saints to le dam'; Bethlem: Box XIV, no 4 Thomas Bullok, son and heir of John Bullok, recently of Wainfleet, deceased, 14 Feb 3 Hen VIII [1511/2]: 'Grant of a messuage and two areas of pasture in Wainfleet St Mary. The messuage and one of the areas of pasture border on the N on what is called le Aa and also les Aa';

123 A. Ervynck et al 'Human occupation because of a regression, or the cause of a transgression? A critical review of the interaction between geological events and human occupation in the Belgian coastal plain during the first millennium AD', Probleme der Kustenforschung in sudlichen Nordseegebiet 26, 1999, 97-121.

124 C. Baeteman, 'How subsoil morphology and erodibility influence the origin and pattern of late Holocene tidal channels: case studies from the Belgian coastal lowlands', Quaternary Science Reviews 24, 2005, 2146-2162; idem, 'Radiocarbon-dated sediment sequences from the Belgian coastal plain: testing the hypothesis of fluctuating or smooth late-Holocene relative sea level rise', The Holocene 18, 2008, 1219-1228.

125 L. Lespez et al., 'Middle to Late Holocene landscape changes and geoarchaeological implications in the marshes of the Dives estuary (NW France)', Quaternary International 216, 2010, 23-40.

126 V. Carpenter et al., 'Les marais de la basse vallée de la Dives : contribution interdisciplinaire à l'histoire d'un espace productif et de ses mutations paysagères sur le temps long', Æstuaria 9, 2007, 227-244.

127 L. Musset, 'L'héritage maritime des scandinaves. 2. Les sauniers', Heimdal 15, 1975, 13-19.

128 N.J.G. Pounds, 'Northwest Europe in the ninth century: its geography in the light of the polyptyques', Annals of the Association of American Geographers 57, 1967, 439-461.

129 There is a map in J. Vellev op cit 2000 p 94.

130 See the photographs in

131 shows interesting images of the salt being raked out of the ponds, including the use of the baulks as resting places for crystals not yet brought out. The site shows that the small ponds are very shallow, with about 20cm of water and that a zig-zag flow of saline water is maintained through them.

132 The industrial scale of the enterprise can be judged from the photographs at (accessed September 2009).

133 J.C. Hocquet, Le Sel et le Fortune de Venise: production et monopole, Villeneuve d'Ascq: Presses Universités Septentrionales, 1978, 2nd edn. There is a detailed account of the salt-making process in the Mediterranean and an extended bibliography.

134 (at September 2009), There is a great deal of information in A.M. Fielding and A.F. Fielding (eds) Salt Works and Salinas. The Archaeology, Conservation and Recovery of Salt Making Sites and their Processes, Northwich: Lion Salt Works Trust Monograph Series Research Report No 2, 2005.

135 (at September 2009). For Mediterranean France see

136 I. Erceg, 'Pregled proizvodne i trgovine soli u dubrocackoj Republici', Acta Historico-Oeconomica Iugoslavia 17, 1990, 1-33 (with English summary); idem, 'Pregled proizvodnje soli i struktura solana', Acta Historico-Oeconomica (sic) 19, 1992, 7-22 (with German summary).

137 K. Hueso, 'The salinas of Imón and La Olmeda, Guadalajara, Spain', in A.M. Fielding and A.F. Fielding (eds) Salt Works and Salinas. The Archaeology, Conservation and Recovery of Salt Making Sites and their Processes, Northwich: Lion Salt Works Trust Monograph Series Research Report No 2, 2005, 39-48.

138 A.P. Fielding, 'A background to salt making', in A.M. Fielding and A.F Fielding (eds) op cit 2005, 9-18.

139 There is a good summary of invasions and the reaction of pre-existing populations in H. Härke, 'Kings and warriors. Population and landscape from Post-Roman to Norman Britain', in P. Slack and R. Ward (eds) The Peopling of Britain. The Shaping of a Human Landscape, Oxford: OUP 2002, 145-175.

140 W.H. TeBrake, Medieval Frontier. Culture and Ecology in Rijnland, College Station TX: Texas A & M University Press, 1985. The nature of the Frisian homeland is described in H.A. Heidinga, Frisia in the First Millennium, Utrecht: Uitgiverij Matrijs, 1997.

141 S. Lebecq, 'Dans l'Europe du nord des VIIe-IXe siècles: commerce Frison ou commerce Franco-Frison', Annales ESC 41, 1986, 361-377.

142 R. Bremmer, 'The nature of the evidence for a Frisian participation in the Adventus Saxonum', in A. Bammesberger and A. Wollman (eds) Britain 400-600: Language and History, Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 1990, 353-371 at p 365.

143 K. Ulmschneider, 'Settlement, economy and the 'productive' site: Middle Anglo-Saxon Lincolnshire A.D. 650-780', Medieval Archaeology 44, 2000, 53-80; idem, Markets, Minsters and Metal-Detectors. The Archaeology of Middle Saxon Lincolnshire and Hampshire Compared, Oxford: Archaeopress, 2000, BAR British Series 307; M. Leahy, 'Middle Saxon Lincolnshire: an emerging picture', in T. Pestell and K. Ulmschneider (eds) Markets in Early Medieval Europe. Trading and 'Productive' sites, 650-850, Macclesfield: Windgather Press, 2003, 138-154.

144 N. Middleton, 'Early medieval port customs, tolls and controls on foreign trade', Early Medieval Europe 13, 2003, 313-358.

145 S. Lebecq, 'On the use of the word 'Frisian' in the 6th-10th centuries written sources: some interpretations' in S. McGrail (ed) Maritime Celts, Frisians and Saxons, London: CBA Research Reports 71, 1990, 85-89.

146 The hulc was probably a largely open boat with a shallow draught and was the commonest cargo boat of the fourteenth century and even the fifteenth century in northern waters. The cog (known from 948 onwards) had higher sides and was decked from the thirteenth century; it was flat-bottomed. A length of 60ft and tonnage of 36 t is typical but larger examples were built, including a three-decker version. A cog of 140 t would need 3m or more of water to float (and a crew of 28 men).

147 O. Crumlin-Petersen, 'The boats and ships of the Angles and Jutes', in S. McGrail (ed) Maritime Celts, Frisians and Saxons, London: CBA Research Reports 71, 1990, 98-116.

148 O. Crumlin-Petersen, 'Ships as indicators of trade in Northern Europe 600-1200', in J. Bill and B.L. Clausen (eds) Maritime Topography and the Medieval Town, Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark National Museum Studies in Archaeology and History vol 4, 1999, 11-32.

149 Cal Pat Rolls Rich II AD 1385-1389 p 490.

150 Cal Pat Rolls 25 Edw III AD 1350-1354, p 93. May 1st 1351.

151 S. McGrail, Studies in Maritime Archaeology, Oxford: BAR British Series 256, 1997, paper 2.2, 49-63. Cogs had a flat bottom.

152 F.M. Hocker, 'Technical and organizational development in European shipyards 1400-1600', in J. Bill and B. L. Clausen (eds) Maritime Topography and the Medieval Town, Copenhagen: National Museum of Denmark National Museum Studies in Archaeology and History vol 4, 1999, 21-32. There is an interesting bibliography by Ole Crumlin-Pedersen, Archaeology and the Sea in Scandinavia and Britain, accessed in September 2009 at

153 A.R. Bradbury, England and the Salt Trade in the Later Middle Ages, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955.

154 E. Carus-Wilson, 'The medieval trade of the ports of the Wash', Medieval Archaeology 6-7, 1962/3, 182-201 at p 189.

155 M. Gardiner, 'Hythes, small ports and other landing places in later medieval England', in J. Blair (ed) Waterways and Canal-building in Medieval England, Oxford: OUP, 2007, 84-109. Gardiner also reports how difficult it has been to find the site of the Saxo-Norman port of Old Romney in site of field-walking and documentary evidence ('Old Romney: an examination of the evidence for a lost Saxo-Norman port', Archaeologica Cantiana 114, 1994, 329-334).

156 S. Armstrong-Smith (ed) John of Gaunt's Register, Camden Society Third Series 21, London: The Society 1911, vol 2, #965, p 46: 'd'autrepart nous mandons que vous faces vendre nostre molyn de Waynflet a mieux que vous purrez pur nostre profit par la survewe le dit Henry.' The instruction concerning maximum profit has a slight air of desperation about it. Accessed in November 2009 at

157 C. Lovelock and D. Tys, 'Coastal societies, exchange and identity along the channel and southern North Sea shores of Europe. AD 600-1000', Journal of Maritime Archaeology 1, 2006, 140-161.

158 J.F. Wilson et al., 'Genetic evidence for different male and female roles during cultural transitions in the British Isles', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 98, 2001, 5078-5083.

159 M.E. Weale et al., 'Y chromosome evidence for Anglo-Saxon mass migration', Molecular Biology and Evolution 19, 2002, 1008-1021.

160 C. Capelli et al., 'A Y chromosome census of the British Isles', Current Biology 19, 2003, 979-984. Danish and Viking ancestors are discussed in S. S. Mastana and R. J. Skol, 'Genetic variation in the East Midlands', Human Biology 25, 1998, 43-68.

161 A.L. Topf et al., 'Tracing the phylogeography of human populations in Britain based on 4th-11th century mtDNA genotypes', Molecular Biology and Evolution 23, 2006, 152-161.

162 M.G. Thomas, M. P. H. Stumpf and H. Härke, 'Evidence for an apartheid-like social structure in early Anglo-Saxon England', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 273, 2561-2657; J. E. Pattison, 'Is it necessary to assume an apartheid-like social structure in Early Anglo-Saxon England?' Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 275, 2008, 2423-2429; M. G. Thomas et al., 'Integration vs apartheid in post-Roman Britain: a response to Pattison', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 275, 2009, 2419-2421.

163 Cautions about interpretations of genetic evidence can be found in M. P. Evison, 'All in the genes? Evaluating the biological evidence of contact and migration', in D.M. Hadley and J. Richards (eds) Cultures and Contact: Scandinavian Settlement in England in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2000, 277-294. See the subtle exploration of 'Danishness' by D.M. Hadley, 'Viking and native: rethinking identity in the Danelaw', Early Medieval Europe 11, 2002, 45-70.

164 Cal Pat Rolls Rich II AD 1391-1396 vol V, London: HMSO 1905, p 635.

165 Ibid pp 626-631 throws a slanting light on this when a list of some 200 wool-merchants from Lincolnshire (mostly Lincoln, Boston and Louth) who were pardoned for wrongful weighing and purchases included only one man from Wainfleet and one from 'Thorpe juxta Wainfleet'. Wainfleet men could of course have been much more honest than those from other towns.

166 With the probable exception of the DMV of Wolmersty on the Friskney-Wrangle boundary .

167 Mark Bennett of the Lincoln HER helpfully writes: 'Several of the field boundaries that are visible as cropmarks in the photograph are recorded on the OS map of 1905 as is a farmstead, or house, called Ashington End that stood at TF 51640 68017, pretty much at the middle of the photograph. There is also some ridge and furrow remnants visible on earlier aerial photographs. The site is the small medieval village, or hamlet, of Ashington. Field walking and an earthwork survey has found evidence of medieval settlement. Earthworks representing four house platforms were recorded, and pottery was recovered throughout the site. The earliest pottery dates to the twelfth century and this, combined with the absence of a mention in the Domesday Book, suggests that the settlement was founded in the twelfth century at the earliest. Pottery from the house platforms indicates that they were in use from the thirteenth to the late fifteenth century, after which the settlement appears to have declined and become deserted.' The site is not on the DMV map in the Historical Atlas of Lincolnshire.

168 P.P. Hayes and T. Lane, The Fenland Project number 5: Lincolnshire Survey, The South-West Fens, Sleaford: Heritage Lincolnshire, EAA vol 55, 1992, p 34.

169 QUA 33 is at 52.863 N 0.215 E and best seen on

170 The churchyard stands at 18-20ft on Google Earth (where altitudinal data in feet are the finest mesh that can be read off) and some of the adjoining fields to the east are only a little lower; most other surrounding fields are at 8-10ft. On the west side there some areas at only 3ft.

171 There is mostly about a 5-7ft difference between the road on the south side of The Haven and the fields 500 m to its south.

172 In Wainfleet St Mary the Low Grounds are typically 7-8 ft, the Tofts 14-18ft; the reclaimed salt-marsh on the seaward side of the Tofts is 10-11ft.

173 Two general works on salt in a world context are J-F Bergier, Une Histoire du Sel, Fribourg (Suisse): Office du Livre S. A., 1982, and M. Kurlansky, Salt. A World History, London: Cape, 2002.

174 In Roman Norfolk, boiling down the ash of salt-rich plants was added to the repertoire of ditches and filters: D. Gurney, Settlement, Religion and Industry on the Fen-edge; Three Romano-British Sites in Norfolk, Dereham: Norfolk Archaeological Unit, EAA vol 31, 1986, 139-146.

175 R. Bradley, 'Roman salt production in Chichester Harbour: rescue excavations at Chidham, West Sussex', Britannia 23, 1992, 27-44.

176 He is very likely right, though in the Gwent Levels, such fields have been interpreted as evidence of a Roman planned landscape; see S. Rippon, 'Exploitation and modification: changing patterns in the use of costal resources in southern Britain during the Roman and Medieval periods', in A. Aberg and C. Lewis (eds) The Rising Tide. Archaeology and Coastal Landscapes, Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2000, 65-74, especially Fig 9.2, p 67.

177 One source suggests that the use of successive evaporation ponds was introduced to the Mediterranean by Islam, reaching Ibiza by the ninth century and adopted by the Venetians by the eleventh century; Roman salt was obtained by boiling or from evaporation in single ponds: M. Kurlansky, Salt: a World History, London: Jonathan Cape, 2002, pp 82-83.

178 Miller Christie, 'A history of salt-making in Essex', Essex Naturalist 14, 1907, 193-204, at p198 and 201.

179 Owen thought that there was a period of drier climate but later work is not very convincing on that point.

180 Compare with Fig 31 p 137 of van de Ven op cit 2004.

181 See Fig 52 p 99 of van de Ven op cit 2004. The overall importance of water management in the fenland is stressed in D. Sayer, 'Medieval waterways and hydraulic economics: monasteries, towns and the East Anglian fen', World Archaeology 41, 2009, 134-150.

182 G. Platts, Land and People in Medieval Lincolnshire, Lincoln: History of Lincolnshire vol IV, 1985, chs III, IV,VI and VII.

183 P.J.E.M. Van Dam, 'Ecological challenges, technological innovations. The modernization of sluice building in Holland, 1300-1600', Technology and Culture 43, 2002, 500-520.

184 R. C. Hoffmann, 'A brief history of aquatic resource use in medieval Europe', Helgoland Marine Research 59, 2005, 22-30.

185 Boston seems to have been dominated by the Earls of Richmond in the thirteenth century but the Earl of Lincoln was given custody of the sea-coast of the county in 1214: Pishey Thompson, History and Antiquities of Boston... and Wrangle, Boston: John Noble, 1856, p 38. Accessed in September 2009 at; D.M. Owen, 'The beginnings of the port of Boston' in N. Field and A.J. White (eds) A Prospect of Lincolnshire, Lincoln: The Editors, 1984, 42-45. Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln, also possessed the manor of Wrangle in the thirteenth century; he had a bailiff there and took income from the sale of farm produce, land, hides, eels and salt (Notts Archives DD/FJ/6/1/1 m.6 [1275])