© Whitewood & Fleming

Peeling the Onion

Collecting and interpreting field and minor place names and gathering oral histories of how the landscape has changed and been worked and how people have lived their lives within it.

Minor place-names and field-names are a rich source for understanding landscape history at local level. Recorded on maps and sometimes preserved in the memory of older residents, they are a heritage asset which needs to be recorded and preserved. This project will collect and interpret these names, gather oral memories of how the landscape has changed and been worked, how people have lived their lives within it, and make them available online.

The aim is to improve understanding of past lives and landscapes of the Rusland Valley and Fells to inform future planning and enable people to learn about and become involved in conserving our heritage before it disappears.

Aims and benefits:

  • Support and train 8 volunteers and local residents to record 12 oral history interviews which will enable people to understand the landscape of the area and its features and how things have changed over time.
  • Support and train 12 volunteers and local residents to document the old minor place-names and field-names in the area to understand the social context of places in the landscape.

So far so good...

Update November 2017:...

  • More than 1000 fieldnames have been discovered, captured, interpreted and uploaded onto the database.
  • Launch event held on 20th November to clebrate the project and view fieldnames now live on the website.
  • Booklet published 'Lake District Fieldnames: A Guide for Local Historians' by Angus J L Winchester
  • A group of 15 mapped history volunteers have been trained to research and collate information about local place names.
  • A group of 12 oral historians have been recruited and trained in oral history techniques.
  • One school engaged in the project
  • 3 volunteer training days held

Did you know?

There are a number of places in the area named after the Rowlinsons. They were an extensive landowning family in the area. Between the 17th and 19th centuries they built several notable houses including Rusland Hall and Silverholme.


Project Lead

Oral History Project: Tim Fleming, Mapped History: Professor Angus Winchester

The Challenge

There was a strong desire for this project from the local community. The aim is to transform stories, history and old place names which are stored up in local memory and archives into an accessible and real resource which will help to create a strong sense of the project area. This will give a unique insight into how the landscape has been managed traditionally and once gathered, it is hoped that this information will help feed into future landscape management plans.

Our Approach

With our volunteers we will record and map as many minor names and field-names as can be recaptured from cartographic evidence (dating from 17th to 20th centuries) and by talking to local people.

We will also record the memories of people with a long association with the landscape. This will help flesh out the local place names by providing evidence as to how the landscape has been worked and lived in across the past century.

© Rusland Horizons 2017 - 2018. All rights reserved.
Rusland Horizons is a Landscape Partnership funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund