Yes, we take them for granted, barely giving them a second glance as we whizz along in our motor cars. Grazing cows, bleating sheep and a few areas of ploughed earth constrained by overgrown hedges. They’re just fields. We may catch a glimpse of a footpath sign even a farmhouse or too and that’s it. Forgotten. Ignored. Neglected. But as good historians should we not be asking ourselves, why? Why are those fields there? Why are they irregular shapes? Who decided on the boundaries and why? How did the footpaths arise? Why are the ponds there and who put the fish in them? What stream does the Clatter Bridge span? Why is this damned lane so narrow and twisty? So many questions, the answers to which may just shed some light on all the other projects with which we are involved. Those answers are a vital part of the jigsaw that makes up the historical evolution of Wirral, the glue that holds the whole three-dimensional edifice together. It all provides clues to the lives and practices of the inhabitants. It shaped their existence, as it does ours.
The study of tithe maps, estate maps and old field names, will often provide clues to the area’s history. Ancient Wills and inventories also provide unexpectedly helpful clues
We will research specific farms and their adjoining fields to discover how they evolved and developed over the centuries. We will analyse the primary sources and build up a database of knowledge relevant to the history of Wirral’s countryside. We will examine the Medieval Charters, many of which are held by Manchester University Library.
This is a unique project which will lead to a much-needed and deeper understanding of the region’s past. This is basic research into an hitherto untapped area of investigation.
If you are interested in Wirral’s landscape and would like to know how it became what it is today, then join us – this is the group for you!