Medieval farming and field systems

Ridge and furrow seen from ChiltonThe remains of field systems from the medieval period are sometimes preserved in the modern landscape. Saxon and medieval ploughing with a mouldboard created the ridge-and-furrow pattern which makes a field look wavy. The ridges aren't completely straight but curve slightly. This was caused by the turning of the plough at the end of a ridge. It would have to pull out to the left slightly to turn to the right to plough the furrow. The fields end up being this shape as well. look at the map of medieval fields your teacher gives you.


Crops were planted on the ridges and the furrows between them acted as drainage channels as well as marking out people's plots of land. There were no hedges marking out fields but ridges and furrows were grouped together to make furlongs. Ridge-and-furrow can still be seen in various parts of Buckinghamshire. Write down the locations of five sets of medieval ridge-and-furrow here: 









Mark these on the map showing ridge-and-furrow in Buckinghamshire that is attached to this page.


Ridge-and-furrow seen from the air at Marsh GibbonMedieval farming

Instead of each farmer farming blocks of land all in one place, medieval fields were divided into smaller strips where one person could own strips scattered over the open field system. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this tradition?


Advantages               Disadvantages




Go back to find more Changes in the landscape.