The use of maps in archaeological and historical research should never be underestimated. Maps are images into the past. If you know the year in which a map was produced, you can gain an insight as to how the landscape was organised in the past. Information such as, where were the areas of woodland, orchards, fields under arable, fields under pasture, villages, farms, ponds, roads and quarries are all questions that could be asked.
All of this information can be obtained from simply looking at a map. Better yet, if you have multiple maps from different periods, you can look at how the landscape has changed over time.
At Brockhampton, the earliest map available to us is an Estate Map dated to 1737. Admittedly, it is at first difficult to identify features as the accuracy and symbols used in portraying the estate differ from modern maps. However some features do remain the same, particularity the field boundaries.
In order to utilise the historic maps effectively, we have rectified the historic maps to the modern Ordnance Survey maps. The result of this means that the 1737 map has been stretched, along with the 1829 Estate Map, so that both can be overlaid onto modern maps. Therefore allowing us to see how field boundaries, woods, roads, and the size of buildings have changed over time. This has been accomplished using a Geographic Information System or GIS.
Below are a series of maps, starting from the earliest (1737) through to a County Series Survey dated to 1904.
Can you see how the landscape and layout of Lower Brockhampton has changed over time?