NOTES ON THE MAP
N.B. This map will appear in a future update
The map of Barlichway Hundred, appeared in 1656 in Dugdale's 'Antiquities of Warwickshire.' The Arrow Valley was regarded in a somewhat different light than in our perception 300 years later. A few roads are shown but the important things are the physical features. All early maps give prominence to the Arrow, regarded as it was as the dividing line between the Royal Forest of Feckenham on the west and the Forest of Arden on the east. Rivers were important as impeding travel as well as providing water mills. This map does not show the many mills on the Avon, Arrow and Alne but the gaps in the rivers depict bridges. There are omissions at Studley and elsewhere but what were regarded as county bridges are marked clearly
e.g. Bidford, Stratford, Gunnings and Oversley.
Although by 1656 the deer parks of the local manorial lords had lost their prominence, they had shown throughout the Middle Ages the importance of the local magnates; they are shown on this map, especially in the Alcester area they are:
Coughton Park, Alcester Park, Ragley Park and Oversley Park. Also, Studley Parish has one at Skilts. The fences surrounding them represent deer leaps.
Several features which surprise us today but did not surprise the 17th century are 1. the pictorial sites of hills, for contour lines had not been invented. 2. Haselor is not named; the manor of Upton, which was part of Haselor, is. The manorial system still held sway in the 1650s. 3. Today maps rarely show deserted villages, although we have become more conscious of them. The 1656 map uses a diamond to show what Dugdale knew had been manors or settlements,e.g. Wyke, Kingley and Aspley, all on the Arrow. 4. Some of our major roads, even before by-passes, are not shown on the Dugdale map, e.g. the main road from Alcester to Stratford. It was not for another 100 years that this direct route was turnpike and the track from Alcester via Upton became largely defunct.
We usually think of deposited documents as the primary sources for local history but maps are a primary source too, as they date from the time which they are describing and they ought to be studied first.
Summer 1996 Index