FIELD NAMES

From among the many field names which appear on the chart, the following selects only those which still signify something. Click on map to see larger version.

HILLFIELD
Barbara Rawes' maps indicted that she was indecisive as to whether Hill Field belonged to Arle or Alstone, The 1617 survey shows that residents of Alstone held at least 73 acres of common arable in he Hill Field, whilst the Arle residents held a further 92 acres. There are hints in the Inclosure Act that the boundary ran down the middle of the field, and the accompanying map shows roughly where it must have been. The street of 1950 called Hillfield actually lies within what was Rowen Field and Grandley Piece.

Fields
Field Names

ROWEN FIELD
The dialect word should apparently be spelled roweng, but more usually rowens, was still in use by Gloucestershire farmers at least in the 1990's. It refers to the lines of grassy growth that come up between furrows in fields during late autumn, after the crop has been harvested.

VINEYARD
This doesn't seem an ideal spot for growing vines: it isn't even south-facing. The field-name might have some ironic origin. Present maps indicate "The Vineyards" as applying to the commercial area east of the railway. Strictly speaking, the four-acre plot called the Vineyard corresponds only to the area now occupied by units 5 to 9 on Alstone Lane Trading Estate.

SANDFIELD
This field corresponded quite precisely to the area of sandy soil that falls in between the clay of Rowen Field and the silt of The Meadow. As with Hill Field, part of Sand Field was in Arle.

THE MEADOW
Parts of this district were not merely damp, but had been a genuine peat bog in medieval times. Like the present-day housing estate, the area was known as The Moors and straddled the manor boundary between Alstone and Cheltenham. By the 1600's the area had been drained. Thus, the 1635 Demesne Survey includes descriptions of individual plots in words like these:- "one parcel of meadow called the moore land and one other parcell meadow adjoining lying in Aulston meads."

BAYSHILL
It is clear from documents that "Bayshill Field" was an extended open-field in former centuries. The wide variety of spellings used for it in our local records seems to be a characteristic typical of areas where the name derives from a personal surname.

BENHILL
is the most common spelling of "Benhall" in the Inclosure Act. The name contains the Anglo-Saxon word "Halh" which appears to mean land between rivers or in a river-bend. As such, the original spot so called would be immediately southwards of the dwelling Benhall Farm which was still extant in the 1950's.

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