The West Fields of Cambridge. An edition of the invaluable terrier of the fields of the medieval town, with an extensive introduction.
The West Fields of Cambridge.
Edited by Catherine P Hall & J R Ravensdale
The west fields of Cambridge are perhaps the city's most neglected monument. It is still possible to walk parts of the "stepped" borough boundary, to trace the course of the Roman Road from the south-west, and to recognise medieval ridge and furrow set in pasture. In 1975 the authors could still see the far West Fields as one vast, almost unbroken cornfield, more or less as it must have appeared to Maitland in 1895, to Loggan in 1685, to Matthew Parker in the mid-sixteenth century, and possibly to Chaucer in the fourteenth.
The document which forms the text of this volume is the manuscript known in the Cambridge University Library as ADD.2601, or Terrarium Cantabrigiae, though the name “Corpus Terrier” may be preferable, since it was in the possession of Corpus Christi College from at least the reign of Richard II to the end of the reign of Elizabeth I. This is the only full edition of a text used by both Seebohm and Maitland for their classic works on the village and the borough, and dipped into by later writers.
The authors have added a general commentary intended primarily to show how the text of the terrier, combined with that of other documents in local archives, can provide many kinds of information about the land, its ownership and management.