Project Manager, Maureen Spinks wrote this description at the beginning of the Enclosure Map Project in 2005.
The project is called “The Development of the Parishes of Badsey and Aldington since 1807” and will look at the way the villages have grown over the last 200 years. We shall use as our starting point the Enclosure maps for Badsey and Aldington. The problem is, though, that the original maps are large and unwieldy and inaccessible to most of us. The Badsey map is in the library of Christ Church, Oxford (the Patrons of the parish), whilst the Aldington map is in the Worcestershire Record Office. To make them more accessible, we are paying for a professional company to copy the maps. There will then be two ways in which you can view the maps:
Framed and mounted actual size photographic prints of the maps will be on public display in the village (Aldington Enclosure Map in Badsey Remembrance Hall, and the Badsey Enclosure Map in St. James' Church, Badsey).
Via an internet connection on a computer (and ultimately on CD).
These maps show who the landowners were in Badsey and Aldington 200 years ago, and every house and field is plotted. Working forward from there to the present day, the aim is that by the end of the project you will be able to click on the part of the map where your house is located and track changes in land use and ownership during the course of two centuries.
Because that is the date of the “enclosure” of Aldington (the date for Badsey was five years later, in 1812).
What does “enclosure” mean?
Before the 18th century, the open-field system of farming was used, with each landowner having a number of long strips scattered over each field. With the improved methods of farming discovered in the 18th century, strip farming became impractical, so enclosures (literally fencing off the land) were carried out. A survey of the village was made and commissioners were sent to re-allot the land, including ploughland, meadow and common to individuals in separate compact pieces.
HOW WILL THE PROJECT BE RUN
(A) THE ENCLOSURE MAPS
We shall pay a professional company to scan the maps. HEDS (Higher Education Digitisation Service, based at the University of Hertfordshire) has been commissioned to undertake the work. This will involve the maps being taken to a laboratory to be scanned at a very high resolution. Two framed and mounted photographic prints of the maps will be produced for public display. We will then make a computer record listing each field, its owner, its tenant and how the land was used. The computer mapping is being done by Worcestershire Historic Environment & Archaeological Service (WHEAS) who will digitise these documents on to a 3D Geographical Information System (GIS). GIS allows a “virtual fly-through” of the landscape in 3D, thus bringing the past vividly back to life. Once the 19th century maps are on the GIS system, instant comparisons can be made with modern mapping.
(B) THE WEBSITES
The project will appear on two websites, the Worcestershire County Council website and the Badsey website (www.badsey.net). Using the enclosure maps (Aldington 1807, Badsey 1812) as a starting point, links will take searchers to a number of places: to the modern Ordnance Survey maps; to written descriptions of the buildings; photographs of buildings and information about the people who lived there in the past. For example, this will mean that by clicking on an image of a barn on the Enclosure map on the Worcestershire site, you could find a photograph of the barn on the Badsey website.
(C) THE HISTORICAL RESEARCH
History is not just about things that happened hundreds of years ago. History is happening now. By undertaking this in-depth study of the parishes up to the present day, we hope that we will encourage you to find out more about your home, street and village. By the end of the project, whether you live in a Tudor mansion, an Edwardian villa, a 20th century council house or a 1970s semi, you will be able to see the changing use of the land on which your house stands. In the case of houses built before 1901, you could find out who lived in your house in previous centuries.
Maureen Spinks, March 2005
The Badsey Society is grateful for a grant received from the Local Heritage Initiative in order to fund the project. The Local Heritage Initiative is a national grant scheme that helps local groups to investigate, explain and care for their local landscape, landmarks, traditions and culture. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) provides the grant but the scheme is a partnership, administered by the Countryside Agency with additional funding from Nationwide Building Society