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1955 (and later editions) The Making of the English Landscape by W. G. Hoskins

Hoskins, W. G. 'The Making of the English Landscape', published in 1977 in hardback with dustjacket, ISBN 0340219165. Condition: Very good, nice, clean copy. DJ unclipped and similarly excellent, although it has a tiny tear on the bottom edge (front cover). Price: £7.85, not including p&p, which is Amazon's standard charge (currently £2.75 for UK buyers, more for overseas customers)
1977, Hodder and Stoughton
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  • The Making of the English Landscape [top]
    Written by W. G. Hoskins
    First published in 1955 in Great Britain
    Reprinted in 1977 in Great Britain in hardback with dustjacket, 326pp, ISBN 0340219165. Jacket photograph of a Saxon boundary bank in East Devon by Nicholas Toyne.
    Frontispiece. Mow Cop and the Cheshire Plain, a ridge of millstone grit on the boundary of Cheshire and Staffordshire rising to nearly 1,100 feet above sea-level.

Contents: Until this book was written, there was not one which dealt with the historical evolution of the English landscape as we know it. With his combination of scholarship and readability Professor Hoskins has supplied the want with a book which is now a confirmed classic in its own right and also a masterly introduction to a county by county series. Those who have a vague idea man's effect on his landscape begain in the eighteenth century, will find from Professor Hoskins that it is a much longer and more fascinating evolution. More than half England, he says, never underwent the familiar kind of enclosure, and, in some places, the landscape had been largely completed by the eve of the Black Death.

He sets out to show why the hedgebanks and lanes of Devon are so totally different from those of the Midlands, why there are so many ruined churches in Norfolk and so many lost villages in Lincolnshire and what history lies behind the winding ditches of the Somerset marshlands, the remote granite farmsteads of Cornwall and the lonely pastures of upland Northamptonshire. He is concerned with the ways in which men have cleared the natural woodlands, reclaimed marshlands, fen and moor, made roads, lanes, and footpaths, laid out towns, built villages, hamlets, and farm houses, country houses and parks, dug mines and driven canals and railways across the countryside-in short, with everything that has altered the natural landscape.

A commonplace ditch, he points out, may be the thousand-year-old boundary of a royal manor. A hedgebank may be even more ancient-the boundary of a Celtic estate. A deep and winding lane may be the work of twelfth-century peasants, some of whose names may be made known to us if we search diligently enough. These are tall claims, but Professor Hoskins, reinforced by a most skilfully chosen miscellany of photographs, makes them sound very plausible. He begins in pre-Roman times, traces the consequences of the Saxon settlements, discusses the colonization of medieval England and the dire effects of the Black Death. He passes on to the flowering of the countryside under the Tudors and the Georges, followed by its reverse side, when the industrial revolution brought steam-power and the spreading of slums.

Maps and Plans: Includes 17 maps and plans
Illustrations: Includes 82 illustrations, or plates of landscape features such as:

  • Celtic fields on Fyfield Down, Wiltshire
  • Megalithic field boundaries as Castellack, Cornwall
  • Haxey and its open fields, Lincolnshire
  • A Saxon farmstead at Westcott Barton, Devon
  • The isolated church at Fingest, Buckinghamshire
  • Cholwich Town: an early 13th Century farm, Devon
  • A deserted village at Lower Ditchford, Gloucestershire
  • A Medieval fishing village at Polperro, Cornwall
  • An Elizabethan fishing village at Clovelly, Devon
  • A Medieval bridge at Wadebridge, Cornwall
  • A 15th Century sheep pasture at Ingarsby, Leicestershire
  • Elizabethan street at Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire
  • Elizabethan manor house at Warmington, Warwickshire
  • Great Western Railway under construction near Bath
  • A planned town: Middlesbrough, Yorkshire


1. The Landscape before the English Settlement
The Pre-Roman landscape
Western Farmsteads and Fields
Roman Britain

2. The English Settlement
Villages and their fields
The Shape of Villages
Some Anglo-Saxon Estate Boundaries
The Scandinavian Settlement

3. The Colonization of Medieval England
The Landscape in 1086
The Clearing of the Woodlands
Marsh, Fen and Moor
Buildings in the Landscape

4. The Black Death and After
The Abandonment of Villages
New Colonization
New Buildings

5. Tudor to Georgian England
The Landscape in 1500
The Enclosure of the Midland Fields
The Flowering of Rural England
Country Houses and Parks

6. Parliamentary Enclosure and the Landscape
The Extent of the Enclosure
The Date of Parliamentary Enclosure
The New Landscape
The Fields
Hedgerows and Trees

7. The Industrial Revolution and the Landscape
The Early Industrial Landscape
Water-Power and the Early Mills
Steam-Power and Slums

8. Roads, Canals and Railways

9. The Landscape of Towns
The Planned Town
The Open-Field Market
The Market Town

10. The Landscape Today

Select Bibliography; Index

About the Author:

The author had been Reader in Economic History at the University of Oxford from 1951-1965, and Hatton Professor of English Local History at the University of Leicester from 1965-1968. He became Emeritus Professor in 1968. At the time of publication of the book, he had written extensively on the landscape:
Provincial England
Fieldwork in Local History
History from the Farm
Local History in England
The Age of Plunder

He had also authored the Shell Guides to Rutland and to Leicestershire; and had been involved in a series of televised programmes on the landscape; he wrote for example the BBC Booklet 'English Landscapes', which accompanied the programme

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