Mount Bures Community Web Site
The Manor of Mount Bures circa 1086

The material for this page has been researched from many sources. However it`s conclusion, is speculation and cannot be proved one way or the other. Short extracts taken from the book:-

"The Manor of Mount Bures at 1086" by S Walker 1995.

When we speak of a Manor, it would not be a single building such as we think of today. It would consist of a court, the village buildings, church, watermill and the lord of the manor`s farm.
Over the years plans of villagers often change quite radically during the course of their existence, and that the final arrangements of streets and buildings may bear little resemblance to that of earlier years. Mount Bures today, may not have been it`s original location, there is evidence to suggest otherwise.

Archaeological survey work on mediaeval villages usually find the buildings arranged along a road, or on either side of it, This was often a crossroads, perhaps around a green, This green would have been to site for various village activities such as a meeting place or a cattle enclosure.

Secondly the village was sited near to the source of water, a spring, pond or stream.

Thirdly, many of the villages lay in the middle of an `open plan` field system. This enables easy access at times of cultivation. Ploughing was carried out with a team of 8 oxen harnessed to a single plough shear. Ploughing was essentially restricted to level ground as it would have been impossible to manhandle the oxen on hilly, undulating fields.

Fourthly, the existing roads, tracks and footpaths. Once tracks were made, even if they were made from wandering animals they tended to be used by successive generations for perhaps thousands of years. Conditions of travel could be very difficult as the tracks were not surfaced in any way. `Mud in the winter, hard backed ruts and holes in the summer. Upkeep was negligible or nonexistent.

If we assume most of these were original in the parish, then we can perhaps surmise where the original Mount Bures village may have once stood.

Taking all the evidence into account, there are only two practical positions for the village if it is to meet all the criteria so far given. That is, buildings arranged along a roadway, at a junction, a level site for cultivation, a good water supply and ease of access to arable fields.

On the map below shows:-
Two possible manor sites marked in red would suit.
The blue marks the outer edge of the `open plan` field system. Its main criteria being reasonably flat.
The red lines indicate footpaths.

(The railway line has been removed for clarity)

The site near to `Josselyns` has ease of access to the fields, but it is at the hilly end of the valley. It is difficult to visualise the farmer ploughing with oxen on these undulating fields.

The other site near to `Elms Farm` is the preferred site, being on fairly level ground. Half a mile walk to the River Stour and a direct route to the church. This does mean accepting the roads and tracks we see today, being in existence in 1086,

Mount Bures as we know it today, lies outside this area. It is not central within an open plan field system.
The steep valley falling away to Cambridge Brook, would have made it totally unsuitable for cultivation in Saxon times. Although the Mount and Church seem to be central in the village it does not support the criteria listed above.