Just a bit of explaining of the sub-heading ” landscape history voyeurism” before I get deeper into Wigginton park´s past.
All this as the title suggests has something of voyeurism about it. The obsession with uncovering the landscape, sneaking around has definitely got something of the perv about it. Even the action of nosing around in places that are not commonly frequented, looking suspicious(make sure no mac is worn) or taking photos of apparent mundane objects has something voyeuristic about it. So maybe all those ´investigaters´ are just a bunch of voyeurs´!But I suppose that you are actually creating something which is positive at least for the person doing it, so onwards to peek below the sensual curves of Wigginton Park.
The fact that the wigginton estate was created at the start of the 19th century and the fields were left to revert to grass means that it’s as if the area was covered in a green shroud, preserving what´s underneath, and leaving suggestive shapes .Its unlike other areas that have been ploughed over and urbanised since the early 19th century. These suggestive shapes have led others to observe and think about what those shapes tell us. For example this letter from the herald pasted below.
Intrigued by a ‘lost palace’
Thursday, October 01, 2009, 14:20
WITH regards to the recent stories on Wigginton Park.
In the 70s when I played rugby at Tamworth, I used to see in the low sun of a winter’s afternoon some shapes in the grassed area opposite the entrance to the club.This intrigued me as I thought it looked like the remains of a ‘lost village’ or large building.I could find no map references, and nether could Birmingham University or the county archaeology department. My interest was heightened at this time because there was local discussion as to the whereabouts of Offa’s palace.
Now this site is unusually flat, and would have commanded a strategic position over the River Tame and the ford at Hopwas. Unfortunately the council built a BMX track over the site shortly after I raised my thoughts with them. However, with the advent of Internet access to satellite imagery you can just make out the patterns I saw back then. Perhaps with the interest in things Anglo Saxon, and the proposal to develop the site, an investigation may take place.
I think there’s a case for that medieval village Mr Smith mentions, as a key sign is there, possible evidence of a medieval ridge and furrow system. Ridge and furrow is the name given to the regular humps and troughs that can sometimes be found on ancient fields and is the result of ploughing over a long period of time. This is usually a medieval practice although continued into early modern times. People owned these different strips of land,which were continually ploughed. this system was obliterated by Enclosure, of which modern fields and hedges are in a large part a result.
In the grassland of the park you can´t fail to notice the undulating landscape, especially in the lower areas of Wigginton Park.
It´s a perfect candidate for a preserved Medieval ridge and as mentioned above, the area is undisturbed post 1815 furrow system. Also the troughs and bumps are separated by more than 2 metres in line with characteristics for medieval ridge and farrow.
Above is an example from Nottinghamshire to compare
This above LIDAR image of Wigginton park with ordnance map below it shows the potential candidate, a ridge and furrow medieval field system, with at least 2 different fields.( the pit is the gravel pit mentioned in the previous post). Notice the way the rows curve to the left towards the end. Could this be a result of early middle ages practice of ploughing with large teams of oxen turning left along the headland, resulting in a twist to the left of each furrow. Anyway from other nearby sites like Amington and Stanfold, where there are documented medieval RAF systems, the medieval village is never far away. So maybe Mr Smith, was right all along.
The google image above shown in previous post, with potential evidence of ridge and furrow systems(the arrows point to old remnant paths)
Finally going as deep as possible . From looking at arch reports for area, there existed an excavated roman site in the area, probably a romano-briton farmstead or military post complete with a sandal some roman left behind, right next to Wigginton park, so it’s totally feasible to speculate that the area was farmed and inhabited in Roman times. It’s now underneath Lichfield Industrial estate together with those hapless agency workers.
This is updated information added after this post was published: Found out there´s a an initiative called friends of Wigginton park, started by a local school with a page on facebook, they´re going for green flag status, looking at the green flag awards I think there´s even potential for Green heritage site status.
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