THE DRAINING OF THE MARSHLANDS OF EAST YORKSHIRE
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Holderness, the Vale of York, and the Vale of Pickering are three fairly typical marshland areas, and all three were originally wasteland. Medieval reclamation improved the siltlands of each area for arable and pasture, but the peatlands remained waterlogged for three-quarters of the year and were used mainly for summer pasture and as sources of fish, fowl and fuel, until the mid-eighteenth century. Between 176o and 1900 they were drained by the use of large-scale engineering methods. Improvements were greatest in Holderness, while in the other two areas much still remained to be done in the twentieth century. There are various reasons both for the similarities and differences in the drainage history of the three regions, and for the differences between these regions and the other marshland areas of England and Wales. Location, size, the existence or otherwise of a frontage on tidal water and the resulting existence of a 'Court of sewers.. -farming systems, patterns of ownership, navigation interests, and the influence of settlements, as well an the physical geography, am all shown to have had an influence both on the pace of improvement and on the pattern of drains developed. The present geography of the three areas shows clear traces of the earlier stages In their history.
AuthorsSheppard, June Alice
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