The former lie South
East of Josselyns House and border the large area of old Piotts Tye,
perhaps the original common expanse.
The undulating extent of the Tye, now drained, was once the site of
marshy spring-heads which would have furnished easy water access for
villagers who worked the Common Field arable strips (selions)
The "Common Field Lane" led due east towards Wellhouse Farm,
but apart from this evidence no Court Rolls dating from 1393-1870 included
any mention of common strip use or allocation.
The Black Death probably allowed remaining survivors to incorporate
the strips into their own land holdings. The area of Piotts Tye was
undoubtedly the centre of Mount Bures in the late medieval period. Existing
timber framed houses and the records of old houses now gone, confirm
The "Common Meadow" with its allocated hay strips was a different
matter however. Detailed maps of the hay strips appear on numerous deeds
up until the end of the 19th century when the Garrard family purchased
the last remaining strips. The "Common Meadow" lay between
Long Gardens cottage and Bures St Mary Mill and was enclosed within
the great loop of the River Stour on the Essex bank. It is now featureless
arable land, attached to the field to the south. From this point southeast
towards Wormingford, aerial photography has shown considerable Bronze
Age/Neolithic activity evinced by crop marks in the cereal growing fields.
There are several other historical areas for our proposed footpath sign
Mount Bures has been classified as an "Ancient Countryside Landscape".
It was always characterized as having dispersed farmsteads and was never
a nucleated type village. meaning cottages alongside a straight length
The Manor area mainly corresponded with the boundaries of the village
while the Hall (termed on deeds as capital messuage) with its demense
fields (the Lord of the Manor`s own private farm land) remained constant
in acreage over centuries; except where specific deeds showed small
land sales, usually on the boundaries of the village.
Additional Freeholders and Tenants also held their lands within the
Manor boundaries.In 1863 the ancient Manor came to an end, when the
lands were sold in lots and the title `Lord of the Manor` sold as Lot
Ida McMaster 11/09/03
Explanation of Common Field & Common Meadow:-
map shows a large area of narrow strip fields, we call this area
the "Common Field".
In medieval times arable land was divided up into narrow strips
and divided up between the villagers. Each villager got the same
number of strips, and these were spread out so that everyone got
a share of the better and poorer land. Villagers could also graze
their animals on the open common pasture.
The map shows this ancient system. The strips are coloured so
you can see the different land users.
"Common Meadow" :-The Lord of the Manor often kept about a third
of the land in the manor for their own use (the demesne). Another
large area was given to the knight who looked after the manor.
The rest was divided up between the church (the glebe land) and
the peasants who lived in the village.
Those peasants who were freeman would rent the land for an agreed
fee. However, the vast majority of the peasants were unfree. These
unfree peasants, who were called villeins or serfs, had to provide
a whole range of services in exchange for the land that they used.
The main requirement of the serf was to supply labour service.
This involved working on the demesne without pay for several days
a week. As well as free labour, serfs also had to provide the
oxen plough-team or any equipment that was needed.
Author - Ida McMaster