Maps with description and associated information are arranged in chronological order.
Additional information will be added when details are available.
1827 (Thomas Bryant’s County map)
Thomas Bryant’s County map of 1827 is an interesting early depiction of the village. This is the village just before the process of Inclosure in 1829 (see below) which saw the creation of much of the layout of fields, roads and rights of way that we are familiar with today.
Bryant’s map does not show field boundaries but does show the extent of the settlement of buildings in the central part of the village, the extent of the village green (most of which was lost at Inclosure to leave the small triangular areas of Green we know today). At this date the Green would have been open land to which the villagers had various forms of access and rights.
The area was quite considerable and extended to both sides of what we now know as the Bedford Road across the whole waist of the village (the parish boundary shape is a bit like a dickie-bow on end with the narrow central part being the Bedford Road which cuts through the centre of the parish).
Notice too that Lower End appears to be a cul de sac settlement with the main route to Billing following the ancient parish boundary line beyond Home Farm (called Tithe Farm on the map).
Some of this still exists as a double hedge which you can see best if you look from the Bridleway which leads from Chapman’s Corner (at the top or north end of Lower End) to Little Houghton. The Salt Box footpath is shown as connecting Lower End to the boundary route.
You can also see that the Bridleway today to Whiston was a significant route and connected at the cross point near Whiston Wall with a route – today a footpath leading to Cogenhoe via its pocket park – called Short Lane. Interestingly there is no showing of Spring Banks.
c. 1828-1829 (Parliamentary Inclosure Award map)
Brafield parish was subject to a Parliamentary Inclosure Award in 1829 (9 Dec) [NRO Book O pp.123-168] following an Act in 1827, jointly with Little Houghton and Cogenhoe (2500 acres in all being affected). By this process, in very simple terms, a small group of landowners arranged for the land which was not already divided into field units (as we know them today) to be marked out and reallocated amongst them and any other landowners. Before the process, many of the bigger landowners will have had land scattered across the parish, often in small units and not easy to farm effectively.
This process had a dramatic impact on the layout of the village (i.e. outside the central village area where land would already have been inclosed). It saw the end of most of the village green and many common rights which would previously have been enjoyed by villagers (most obviously on the Furze area to the south of and at the margin of the village, near the Stadium). It also saw the creation of much of the network of rights of way – footpaths, bridleways and even roads – with which we are very familiar today.
The so called ‘reduced’ map summarising the changes made by the Award both in the central village area and Lower End show the extent of the existing enclosure in green.
Notice on the Lower End plan how footpaths are shown (e.g. that from the Church to Lower End – footway no. 1) and the parish boundary with Little Houghton referred to above. If you compare this map with Bryant’s you can see how the area of the former Green is being allotted (allocated) mainly to William Tyler Smith.
Notice too the route through what is now known as Pub Field – behind the Red Lion – which is today a footpath and which we know, from archaeological evidence, used to be an ancient street with houses on both sides. The detail given for individual buildings is of obvious interest in showing what existed then.
Brafield is very fortunate in that the very detailed survey drawing [NRO Map 2928] used to help carry out the Inclosure process has survived. This is quite rare. The map is huge and only a small amount of it is reproduced here but serves to show for both Brafield and Lower End, the enormous amount of detail about buildings and boundaries recorded on this plan.
Notice in particular the mapping of ponds in various places especially in and around Church Lane and the allotment lands (later known as A(l)ley Gardens). The red coloured buildings indicate inhabited buildings rather than farm and utility outbuildings. The detail on this scale is quite unusual for this date.
1885 (Ordnance Survey map)
The Ordnance Survey produced its first large scale map of the village in 1884, the scale being 25 inches to the mile (1:2500). This map is excellent again in giving very precise details of all the buildings and features in the village at this date.
Parts of the settled areas of the village have been copied:
The Red Lion, and west end of Bridle Path
Church Lane (South end linking with Bedford Road)
The Church and Vicarage
The Green and Old Farm
Home Farm and the Barracks
South part of Lower End
1900 (Ordnance Survey Map)
The Ordnance Survey produced their second edition of the above map in 1900 and again this provides great detail – the central village, Lower End, and Home Farm and the Red Lion,
Date last updated: 11 Feb 2007 Valid until: 31 Dec 2007