Puttenham is a small-ish village in the south-west of the English county of Surrey. It is the place in which I was born and raised, and, although it has been several years since I last lived there permanently, it continues to occupy a special place in my heart. What is more, its landscape and history never fail to inspire me, whether I am back there visiting or thinking about it whilst far away.
One sunny afternoon in July 2003, while sat in a deckchair in my back garden, I began writing a note on why Puttenham did not appear by name in Domesday Book. The fruits of that afternoon’s work developed over the following months and years into a 400-page report on patterns of land-use and settlement in Puttenham parish – and in many cases the surrounding area – from the Palaeolithic to the middle of the thirteenth century, the rationale being that after the latter the history of the parish is reasonably clear (although this is not always the case!) Said report has been expanded and rewritten more times than I care to remember but, regrettably, I never actually finished it, despite two extended research-and-writing breaks intended to do just that! It still needs one final big push to get it over the line – a line that lies the other side of an incomplete main text, appendices, figures, bibliography and index…
I may not be in a position to dedicate anything like as much time as is necessary to get all that work done and dusted, but this does not mean I have avoided doing any further research into Puttenham during the intervening years. Surrey Medieval has given me both the inspiration and the platform to undertake new research, return to old topics, or simply bring tidbits of Puttenham’s history to the attention of the internet. Pages have steadily accrued under the eponymous drop-down tab, to the point where there are now so many that I thought it would be worth creating a handy list of them with hyperlinked titles and a short summary of what each one is about:
Medieval agriculture in Puttenham parish – The slides and explanatory notes for a presentation I gave to the Surrey Archaeological Society’s Medieval Studies Forum in November 2010, summarising my understanding of the titular topic at the time.
Charles Kerry in New Zealand and New York – How some minor archaeological finds made by Puttenham’s semi-famous Victorian curate and antiquarian were (mis)reported in The New York Times and a local paper on the opposite side of the world.
In Charles Kerry’s opinion – The good Reverend again, and a record of his making an emphatic but ultimately erroneous identification of a Roman-era artefact.
Beggars Bush – A lost place and name at the north-eastern extremity of Puttenham parish, scene of an early nineteenth-century “archaeological” discovery, ghostly apparitions, and much more besides… (Note: the source webpage was later updated as a result of this, and I in turn intend to add further information to it in the not too-distant future).
Smalpage and Son – A small metal button found in a Puttenham field and the story of the rise and fall of a Transatlantic tailors.
Ten Years Gone – A summary of a decade’s worth of research into the early landscapes and settlement patterns of Puttenham parish, and the fresh questions this has prompted.
“they would come and make a city here” – A paper focused on the origins of Puttenham village, written in memory of a brilliant Surrey archaeologist and historian, and printed in the Surrey Archaeological Society Bulletin.
Changing parish boundaries – An area of ongoing interest for me, and one worthy of more concerted study, hence my penning this appeal for further examples (thanks to those who have contributed information off the back of it).
Puttenham’s earliest recorded rector – Why making a habit of checking the index of newly-published editions of medieval records pays dividends once in a while.
Some notes on a Puttenham deed – Short write-up of the results of a trip to study a sixteenth-century document in Godalming Museum’s Local Studies Library, and a lesson in how online spellings of local place- and field-names are not always to be trusted.
The place-names and field-names of Puttenham parish – Updated versions of handout materials for a talk given to the Puttenham and Wanborough History Society in March 2014. I have changed my mind (or had my mind changed thanks to expert input) on one or two of the name interpretations, but I am happy this will remain a good starting-point for understanding some of the place-names in the parish for the foreseeable future.
More “new” medieval rectors of Puttenham – Filling in some of the gaps in the list of medieval rectors of Puttenham, and weighing up the first piece of evidence for a direct connection between the parish and the devastation caused by the Black Death.
The view from Frowsbury Hill, 1861 – After acquiring a tiny watercolour painting purportedly showing the scenery visible from a spot visited by Queen Victoria only three years before, I set about acquiring confirmation that its provenance was indeed accurate.
Traces of field systems on Puttenham Common – A provisional account of four patches of what look very much like previously-unnoticed field system earthworks in the northern half of Puttenham Common, including a discussion of their likely period of origin.
The Fields of Puttenhamia – Picking up where I left off with the previous piece on field systems, this one looks at how landscape features on Puttenham Common and in its environs may serve to modify points made within a major new book, and how the conclusions of said book can help to give us an understanding of the development of Puttenham’s agricultural landscape between the later Roman and high medieval periods.
The three earliest recorded field-names in Puttenham parish – Collected links to the posts written under the umbrella of Surrey Medieval Middle English Field-Names Week, focusing on the three field-names in the Cutt Mill area found in a copy of a charter of 1332.
Puttenham Church Week – Another compilation of links to a Surrey Medieval theme week, this one looking at various aspects of the medieval parish church, including an updated list of its medieval rectors.
I have a constant pipeline of new things to add to the above list, so in the coming months look out for pieces on a 1393 document I went all the way to Chichester to look at, a full version of a paper I delivered years ago on the place and name of Frowsbury, 17th-century trading tokens, and more besides. Also, as and when I get my act together, I will upload chapters of my great report as and when I complete them to inject fresh momentum into the whole endeavour and to allow those with an interest in Puttenham parish, Surrey, or archaeology/local history/landscape in general, to read what I have spent so much time on and been so fascinated by for all these years.