Unfortunately, we’re still trying to recover most of them following that blasted computer virus that buckled our hard drive a few weeks ago. However, we have managed to salvage the following 1650 map of Garstang. To see it full-sized just click on the image below, although, be warned, it’s three and a half meg so unless you want to spend the next few hours waiting for it to load in, make sure you’re on Broadband like us:
If that wasn’t enough, we’ve even scanned in the key at a higher resolution so that you can read it properly.
The numbers alongside the field names, obviously, relate to the numbers on the map. And there are a few interesting ones amongst them. For example, ‘Cuckstool Meadow’, undoubtedly the home of that mediaeval ducking device designed to teach scalds a lesson, can be located towards the south end of Garstang, just off Green Lane. Not exactly where you’d expect it to be, perhaps, especially seeing as it isn’t even on the riverbank, but that’s what make documents like this fascinating.
Other fields such as ‘Swinthorn’ (swine enclosure) ‘Lachrams’ (Lower Farm Fields) and ‘Parrick’ (horse enclosure) all give us some idea of the original Saxon workings of the village. In fact, most of them were breeding pigs if the number of ‘Swinthorn’s is anything by which to judge.
Then there’s ‘Butt Hills’ which might refer to a mediaeval archery range or, as is often the case, a prehistoric burial mound.
There's a ‘Pad Acre’ (which should help us pin down the exact route of the Roman road through Garstang to Lancaster, the location of which still remains sketchy) and there are ‘Cross Fields’ possibly indicating branch roads to keeills. One particular ‘Cross Field’ situated between Broom Hill and what is nowadays the A6 might even have been the original location of the Cabus Cross; it’s hard to tell.
If the map can shed new light on some mysteries then it also casts enigmatic shadows of its own. To the east (which is actually the lower section rather than the area to the right as you might expect) the land belongs to the ‘Lordship of Woody-Acre’ whilst to the west (upper portion) the land is ‘Part of the Township of Baygus’.
That one stumped us. Don’t forget, at this point in its history Garstang wasn’t a town in its own right but merely a ‘Manor’. We’d never heard of the ‘Township of Baygus’ so we decided to ask around. Unfortunately, it transpired, neither had anybody else although the best suggestion so far is that ‘Baygus’ was a misspelling of Cabus.
Yes, well, we’ll leave that one to our readers to decide.
Anyhow, keep your eyes peeled because we’ll be uploading more historic maps in the future (providing our Broadband Hub doesn’t explode of course).