Spring line settlement


Spring line settlement

Spring line settlements occur where a ridge of rock lies over impermeable rock there will be a line of springs along the boundary between the two layers. It sometimes happens that a sequence of spring line (or springline) settlements will grow up around these springs. In each case to build higher up the hill would have meant difficulties with water supply; to build lower would have taken the settlement further away from useful grazing land or nearer to the floodplain. Spring line villages are notable for having long, narrow parish boundaries - stretching right to the top of the ridge and down to the river but being narrow in the direction of the adjacent villages [Humphery-Smith (2003)] .

Examples in the UK are:
* to the north and south of the Howardian Hills in the North Riding of Yorkshire [Humphery-Smith (2003) Map 40] .
* to the west and east of the ridge which stretches south from Lincoln and on top of which is the Roman road Ermine Street. The western line (which includes Boothby Graffoe and Navenby) nestles close under the escarpment; the eastern line (which includes Metheringham) is up to 10 km away from the crest of the ridge [Humphery-Smith (2003) Map 21B] .
* to the south of London and difficult to identify among the continuous housing development of later centuries, we have: Ewell (a corruption of "The Well"), Cheam, Sutton, Wallington, Beddington, Waddon, Croydon, Addiscombe, Elmers End, and Beckenham [Humphery-Smith (2003) Map 33] . Road and place names to the north of the line provide evidence that that area was relatively uninhabited: Cheam Common, Sutton Common, Thornton Heath, and Norwood (a corruption of "North Wood").
* on the northern scarp of the South Downs we have villages such as Edburton, Fulking and Poynings [Humphery-Smith (2003) Map 34] .

References

* Humphery-Smith, Cecil R. (2003): "The Phillimore Atlas & Index of Parish Registers", 3rd Edition, Phillimore, Chichester


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