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The Harnham Water Meadows - Bibliography

Harnham Water Meadows holds a number of documents, maps and photographs at Rose Cottage which are currently being catalogued. It is intended that these will be made available for perusal at Rose Cottage in due course, by prior arrangement with Dr Hadrian Cook.

Published works on water meadows in general and for Wiltshire in particular fall into four main groups. There are

instruction manuals and surveys of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,

work of the 1950’s based on documentary research,

some limited field research from the 1980’s and finally

academic work of very recent years.

An important basis of much modern work is Davis T (London 1794), General View of the Agriculture of the County of Wilts, with observations on the means of its improvement. 

Modern works of the 1950’s start with work of Kerridge E particularly in 1953(a) The Sheep fold in Wiltshire and the floating of the water meadows, Economic History Review 6, 282-9;

1953(b) The floating of the Wiltshire water meadows, Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine (WAM) 55, 105-118;

1953(c) Surveys of the manors of Philip, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery, 1631-2; Wiltshire Record Society, volume 9 (particularly the Appendix)

There is also Atwood G, 1961, A study of the Wiltshire water meadows, WAM 58, 403-13.

All this work is set in a broader context of the agriculture of the county in RB Pugh (editor) 1959, A History of Wiltshire, Victoria County History of the counties of England, Vol 4, Oxford University Press. There are three sections dealing in depth with agriculture for the periods c1500-c1793 (pp 43-64 by Kerridge), to c1870 and since that date; for floated meadows particularly see pp56 and 65. 

Finally in this period, putting floated meadows in the national context is Kerridge, 1967, The Agricultural Revolution, George Allen and Unwin, London.

The next group is largely, but not exclusively, based on field observation and interpretation of archaeological remains and starts with Bettey JH 1977, Rural Life in Wessex 1500-1900, Moonraker Press

Corfield M (Editor) 1978 A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Wiltshire, 53-58,

Wiltshire County Council Library and Museum Service. Locally published is Steele N 1982 Sir Joseph Ashe 1617-1686: an advocate of water meadows in good husbandry in Hatcher Review 13, 125-143.

Most of the above works are based on documentary research.

However based entirely on secondary sources and field observation of the archaeological remains is Cowan M 1982(a) Floated Water Meadows in the Salisbury area, South Wiltshire Industrial Archaeology Society Monograph 9 (and available from The Friends of Harnham Water Meadows Publications). A key diagram from this work is reproduced in Aston M 1985 Interpreting the Landscape, Batsford 118.

Cowan M 1982(b) Mysterious Meadows: some aspects of the floated water meadows at Great Wishford in Hatcher Review 14, 179-187. 

A recent and significant work is Cook H and Williamson T (editors) 1999 Water management in the English Landscape, Edinburgh University Press. This takes as its theme the management of water in the agricultural landscape with contributions from historians, archaeologists, scientists, ecologists and hydrologists. There is a chapter by Bettey The development of water meadows in the southern counties.

More closely focused on southern Wiltshire is Bettey JH 2003 The development of water meadows on the Salisbury Avon, 1665-1690 in The Agricultural History Review Vol 51, Part 2, 163-172.

Localised to Harnham there is, undated but mid 1980s, Steele N and Tatton-Brown T The Harnham Water Meadows, a brief history, produced by the Friends of Harnham Water Meadows Trust and available from them. Click here to view Publications.

Recent publications have been: Wiltshire Farming in the seventeenth century, 2005, published by the Wiltshire Record Society as its Volume 57, edited by Dr Bettey, and including a great deal of new material about Wiltshire, particularly on the River Avon between Salisbury and Downton.  

Also: Cowan M, Wiltshire Water Meadows, The Hobnob Press, PO Box 1838, East Knoyle, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 6FA.

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