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Source: RUSHDEN A Duchy of Lancaster Village by David Hall & Ruth Harding
Rushden Open Fields 1635

Map showing Rushden open fields in 1635
Rushden Open Fields 1635

Recent work suggests the idea of open fields to have been created by the Saxons in the 8th century but Rushden’s open fields are first mentioned in 1327 when it had a 2 field system for two-course crop rotation. The system changed to a 3 field system, in order to increase production. This fact is confimed in 1571 with reference to the ‘fallow’ and two other fields.  Although the exact date of the change is unknown it was likely to have been long before the 16th century as the names of the fields are mentioned in court-roll entries as North Feld in 1405 and Park Feld and South Feld in 1464. Before 1571, however, the entries give no certainty that there were 2 or 3 fields.

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