ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE YORKSHIRE WOLDS
Stephen Harrison, BA, MPil Phd, Consultant Archaeologist
| EARLY MODERN (c. 1600 - 1800)
identified in the medieval period can be seen to continue on
to the nineteenth century and later. By 1650, the Wolds was a
hedgeless and treeless countryside, given over, in large
measure, to sheep.
Bushes and trees - with the
exception of whins or furze - remained a rarity on the High
Wolds until well into the eighteenth century. Gorse was
common, but its growth was controlled as it was in demand for
fuel. Great tracts of wold land were devoted to sheep pasture
and rabbit warren in both open and enclosed townships. In the
first half of the eighteenth century it is probable that at
least one half, or perhaps as much as two-thirds, of the chalk
country was under grass.
The central and eastern
Wolds were the best arable lands, with barley, followed by
wheat, as the main crops. It is clear that, as now, barley was
dominant on loamy and lighter soils, and wheat dominant on the
boulder clay soils. In terms of livestock, sheep predominated.
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