Around the Village - South East

Garry Allam, Bishop's Sutton Heritage

Holkam Bottom Field, 1839 map

Holkam Bottom. Situated along the Gallops just south of the barn, this was a narrow field in 1839 of about 8 acres in size.

The name would have probably originated from the Saxon Holcham: 'holc' meaning a hollow (which fits with the topography); 'ham' meaning a settlement - any thing from a village or estate to a homestead. There are no signs of settlement although extensive networks of ancient field systems are in the area so it is well within reason to suspect some sort of homestead might have been located there.

Long thin fields like this are often a remnant of the old field strips that made up the pre-enclosure open field system. 

The Manor would have had three or four of these large open arable fields, which were usually divided into smaller areas called furlongs. Each furlong was divided by balks or grass banks, and the furlongs were likewise divided up into individual strips of between a quarter to about an acre in size called Selions or ridges. There were no fences or hedges within the open fields, only between each large field and any woods or meadows etc. The selions were distributed between the villagers of the Manor (demesne) and the church (glebe) each family of the Manor and Church would have had several strips dotted around each field to grow their crops: one holder might have 80 strips in all dotted around. The holdings were spread around to give every one a share of the good and not so good land and allowed for letting one or two of the open field’s to go fallow for rotation each year. When harvest was done the fields were opened up to grazing, as was the fallowed land; this would have been in addition to the common pastures and meadows woods and waste.

old-maps.co.uk

View looking to holkam Bottom from the A31 Along the Gallops south towards Common Farm 2018

Great and Little Barton Fields, Tithe Map Bishops Sutton 1839

 

The name Barton is found in many places and comes from the Old English 'bere-tun'. The first element means Barley the second in this case means enclosure or settlement/farm. So, Barley farm - later Barton - often refers to the demesne farm. The demesne was the land that the lord of the Manor held for himself so one could assume from this that Manor farm in Old Park road was indeed the Manor house, possibly after the Bishop's Palace fell into disuse - it seems to be highly likely that the Palace would have been considered the Manor house as per an account from the Reign of Edward VI that states “and the mannor-howse being a verie olde howse, somtyme walled round abowte with stone, now decaied, well waterid with an olde ponde or moote adjoyning to it”

This shows that by at least the mid-16thcentury the palace was no longer in use. The account goes onto call what today is Bishops Sutton Manor Farm  “and the ferme-howse being sett and within a stones cast of the said manner-howse, thowsing being but for a fermer” and the farm in Old Park road (Manor farm) “Sutton ferme” and not the Manor.

Satellite image of same area

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Bronze age Bowl Barrow, Map 1975 showing the Bowl Barrow as a Tumulus

 

There are two or three ancient barrows dotted around the parish; this one is situated on rising ground between Old Park Road and Parkside Lane. It is only now visible as field marks which shows its ring ditch as its mound has been ploughed out.


Most of these barrows were constructed in the late bronze age 2400-1500 BC. Usually built on higher prominent ground, in this area they were made of flint and chalk. They covered singular or multiple burials, usually cremated - urns are often found along with other grave goods that indicates that those interred were probably of a higher status. When initially built they probably stood three to four metres high and twenty metres or more in diameter. There is one just inside Bighton which is over 35 metres in diameter. These white chalk mounds would have been prominent features for miles around when first erected up to 4,000 years ago.

An idea of what the Barrow might have looked like from Parkside lane

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