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The Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust News - old stories

The Making of the Maelor Saesneg Landscape . . . talk to the Holt Local History Society, 24 November 2011

Halghton Lodge moated site and ridge and furrow cultivation, Maelor Saesneg. CPAT Photo 04-C-0001, photographed by Nigel Jones.

Bill Britnell gave an illustrated talk to an audience of about 30 members of the Holt Local History Society in the Holt Community Centre on the subject 'The Making of the Maelor Saesneg Landscape'. Maelor Saesneg ('English Maelor') is one of the areas represented in the Welsh Historic Landscapes Register, lying to the east of the river Dee and now forming part of Wrexham County Borough Council. Because of its position in the Welsh borderland the area changed hands many times during the early medieval and medieval periods, belonging successively to the British kingdom of Powys in the 5th and 6th centuries, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia in the 7th to early 11th century, the Norman marcher lordship of Chester in the 11th century, the kingdom of Powys Fadog in the late 11th to 13th century, the English Crown in the later 13th century, and finally part of the realm of England and Wales with the Acts of Union passed in the 1530s and 1540s during the reign of Henry VIII. The talk looked at how history and the nature of land use and ownership can be read from the landscape, especially from field patterns, focusing in particular on the distinctive patterns of medieval strip fields, ridge and furrow cultivation and moated sites which are a notable feature of this historic landscape area. The conquest of Wales by Edward I in 1282-83 probably provides a historical context for widespread landscape change and the introduction of ridge and furrow and moated sites. Immediately following the conquest the lordship of Maelor Saesneg was granted to Queen Eleanor and the new planted town of Overton was created. Many of the landholdings of the supporters of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd were confiscated and granted to incoming English families loyal to the English Crown.

Bill Britnell, November 2011


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