Chosen by Frances Lansley, much missed late member of staff
This is a map of Wick Farm in Woodmancote and Albourne , part of the estate of Sir Merrick Burrell of West Grinstead Place. The map, dated 1768, is painted in oil. As well as being a map it is a work of art. There are fences, gates and hedges painted in detail along the field boundaries. Trees also. The fields are painted in colours to signify their use, so the arable fields are in hues of yellow and brown and the grazing pasture and meadows in shades of green.
Each field has a letter of the alphabet to identify it and a reference table at the top right of the painting gives us the name of each field, the nature of its cultivation and its acreage in 2 columns, ‘Plain’ and ‘Rough and Plain’ which I interpret as meaning the part of the field which is actually arable or meadow (for example) and then the whole field including any rough parts around the edges of the field and perhaps also including hedges.
The existence of a map like this dating back beyond the Tithe maps makes it sometimes possible to trace field names back over centuries. The field names themselves often tell us what they were used for, for example, in this map the field numbered with a W is described in the reference table as Ox Pasture and indeed there are some beautiful horned cows in the field. However, it does say in the table that this field is arable, which I think must be a mistake as I think it unlikely the farmer would have cows grazing in the corn!
We can also see the mapmaker has painted dairy cows in Ox Pasture field and beef cattle in the Upperham meadow (M) giving an indication of mixed farming being undertaken at Wick Farm though from the number of arable fields it seems that producing corn is the main focus of the farm, and indeed, in Pond Field (R) just below Lower Pond (K) we see the stooks of corn where harvesting has taken place, which sets this beautiful map in a season of the year as well as a place, something not commonly seen in mapping. Of course we should also remember to make allowance for the possibility of a bit of poetic licence with some of the depictions.
The eye is drawn to the lovely depiction of Lower Pond (K) and the gentlemen thereabouts. One of the men is rowing a boat upon the lake while 3 of the dogs swim ahead of him and 2 others run along the bank. Meanwhile another man walks along the bank with a spear in his hand perhaps waiting to dispatch whatever fish or fowl the dogs and the man in the rowing boat may be hunting.
The houses are drawn in perspective view with the Northern elevation of the Manner House inset at the bottom of the map and the direction markers are represented by white cuffed hands indicating the way West to Blaxton Street, North to Winham Bridge, North to Bolney and South to Poynings.