For our south-eastern part of the Rusland Horizons scheme area we have identified over 400 names, some which have endured since the 16th century (Haggscar, the Knott) and others which have evolved over time (Tweenmost Knott becomes Twin Moss and ultimately Turn Moss, Pigeon Croft begins its life as Phinshaw Croft, evolving into Pinchway and Phinshore Croft before settling on its current form in the 19th century). Changing ownership is a common source of names, with the vendor’s name surviving for centuries like Hatter Parrock (woodland bought from a hatter called James Braithwaite in 1760). This practice continued into the 20th century when Chapman House farm bought fields from a neighbour John Scales, who is still remembered in Scales’s Long Meadow, Scales’s Top Field and others.
Interpretation revealed many words of norse origin: beck, fell, garth, gate, and knott, as well as dialect words like brock, hollins, syke and scar. Humour is evident, for instance a field called Featherbed contains an immovable lump of bedrock and The M7; a trackway built on Summersides by Stephen Kellett who likened his work to the Preston by-pass opened the same year. The Dales and Sourbutts indicate shared ownership and open field systems of the past. Arable farming, not carried out since the Second World War, leaves its legacy in Corn Parrock and Peaslands. Ancient semi-natural woodlands, highly characteristic of the whole Rusland valley, and a vital resource to bark peelers, bastrope makers, colliers and wood turners, are frequently named: Ellerside, Great Hagg, Smithy Haw, Hogwood Parrock and Wintering Park.
A ghost story features in a lane running between the top of Ealinghearth hill and the foot by Border Moss Wood, Fearing Brow, named for the evil spirit that haunted it. Small details of local history survive in 'Peggy Taylor’s Well' and 'Paradise'.
The project has been fascinating, if exhausting; it has deepened our appreciation of the landscape we live and walk in. We have been encouraged to get away from the kitchen table and the computer to look at fields and woods with fresh eyes and to learn from those who work the same land now. And our next act of homage is to commission a map for our village hall – to allow us to construct a little more history of our own.