Guildford and its medieval parks

I wrote this ages ago, and to be honest the version below is not all that much different to that published in SyAS Bulletin 415 (pages 9-12) a little over two years back. All I’ve done is rewrite the intro so it makes more sense by itself rather than making reference to two authors but not citing their respective articles, change a reference or two elsewhere and add in one – albeit only as a footnote – I thought was of relevance, and insert a hand-drawn map that I was pretty chuffed with (it took long enough) but was not sufficiently legible for publication. Apologies for the slightly rubbish look of the piece; it was typed on my old computer and the formatting didn’t reproduce perfectly when I transferred it to this one. Had a little tinker with it but I realise the headers and footers in particular still let it down visually. Then again it’s not my magnum opus so it shouldn’t be a crying shame to anyone that it has the appearance of something I produced during my GCSE years.

The origins of Guildford Park August 2011

More importantly, on reflection the paragraphs on Guildford as a proto-historic place and landholding are probably as interesting as those contemplating the park mentioned in Domesday Book. I’m in the very early stages of preparing a little thing to post on the Guildown cemetery, drawing together what’s been written about it since the excavation report was published in 1931 and some thoughts on its topographical and archaeological context. I’ve also been looking at the town’s handful of other occurrences in early written sources of the eleventh and twelfth centuries as part of a much bigger thing I’ve been tinkering with for several years now. There’s not a huge amount to go on when it comes to Anglo-Saxon Guildford, but I feel it’s worth getting what is known set down in good order and analysed using the widest possible toolkit of reference sources as there are still howling errors being made in discussions of the few “known knowns” of the period (the dating of the tower of St Mary’s to the mid-tenth century, when such structures were rare as hens’ teeth and limited to the most important monastic foundations, being a case in point).

 

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