The Lincolnshire Wolds: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Once 'Highly Fashionable', the Lincolnshire Wolds Still Bear the Indelible Impressions of Numerous Medieval Villages That Have Long since Returned to the Soil. but It's the Picturesque Rolling Hills and Gin-Clear Chalk Streams That Draw Visitors to the Region Today

By Edward, Olivia | Geographical, June 2008 | Go to article overview

The Lincolnshire Wolds: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Once 'Highly Fashionable', the Lincolnshire Wolds Still Bear the Indelible Impressions of Numerous Medieval Villages That Have Long since Returned to the Soil. but It's the Picturesque Rolling Hills and Gin-Clear Chalk Streams That Draw Visitors to the Region Today


Edward, Olivia, Geographical


I'm standing in the dark, about two metres under the ground, touching a soft, wet object and trying to work out what on Earth it is. Probably some sort of fungus, guess my guides--staff from the Lincolnshire Wolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)--as they shine their mobile phones on the alien like life forms hanging from the ceiling None of us really know as it's the first time any of us have been down into this Second World War RAF bunker.

This might seem an unlikely place to end up in on a tour of an AONB, but the Lincolnshire Wolds are covered in old airfields. 'With a top height of 168 metres, the Wolds are the highest point on the east coast between the Yorkshire Moors and the Kent Downs[says Helen Gamble, AONB project officer. 'So it was an important defence site during the war:

The 558 square kilometres of chalk topped hills were designated an AONB in 1973, and the airfields were seen as a plus rather than a minus. 'It's a really worked landscape,' says Gamble. 'It was one of the reasons it was designated. The bones of the landscape are fleshed out with how they've been used by people.'

HIGHLY FASHIONABLE

Originally formed around 150 million years ago, the Wolds were later ravaged by glaciers, leaving a rolling landscape of rounded hills and wide, ice-scoured valleys. Their gentle contours appealed to farmers, and agriculture has been a defining feature of the landscape ever since. In fact, as we drive around the Wolds, the only people we see for hours are a farmer driving his sheep across a road and a butcher sharpening his knives in a shop window.

But it wasn't always so empty. 'During the Middle Ages, it was highly fashionable', says David Start, director of the Heritage Trust of Lincolnshire. The county's wealth, he explains, was based on the good farming available and the region's easy accessibility before the modern road system was built. 'It was a really busy county.'

Just how busy was revealed when early aviators looked down and realised the strange shapes in the fields below were the remains of deserted medieval villages. Indeed, the region has one of the highest concentrations of such villages in Britain. 'There are 235 in Lincolnshire and more than half of them are in the Wolds,' says Start. Their discovery led to a revolution in British archaeology and the creation of a whole new field of study during the 1950s. 'Before that time, they would dig through the medieval archaeology to get to the "proper stuff"--the Roman remains,' says Start. 'Even in my day, we referred to the medieval stuff as 'overburden".

Various theories were put forward, to explain why the villages were abandoned, including climate change and the Black Death. Start says that these contributed to the exodus, but the real problem was sheep. 'Sheep killed the villages', he says. 'From the 12th century onwards, the wool trade became a very lucrative business. Farming sheep was much more profitable and much less hassle than a load of peasants.' As a result, they were kicked off their land and forced into other villages. 'It literally changed the English landscape.'

And there was little the peasants could do to resist. 'You and your family were as much owned as the land', says Start. The villages were set up as a collection of rented croft smallholdings surrounded by rented fields divided into strips known as ridge and furrows, he explains. 'You paid for your strips in the field and your little bit of smallholding by giving a proportion of your crops to the lord. You could take on more strips if you could find the money, and had enough sons to farm them, but the lord could still chuck you off whenever he wanted.'

Despite the lack of security, the villages were still their residents' entire world. 'Many would be born, marry and die in the same village,' says Start. 'If you stand in one of the streets today, you can almost hear them: Perhaps, but it's easier to spot the visible evidence of their lives.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Lincolnshire Wolds: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Once 'Highly Fashionable', the Lincolnshire Wolds Still Bear the Indelible Impressions of Numerous Medieval Villages That Have Long since Returned to the Soil. but It's the Picturesque Rolling Hills and Gin-Clear Chalk Streams That Draw Visitors to the Region Today
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.