St. Leonard's Forest: social and economic change from 1750 to 1914 and its impact on a forest landscape

Weir-Wilson, Margaret Mary (2014) St. Leonard's Forest: social and economic change from 1750 to 1914 and its impact on a forest landscape. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis is concerned with the changes to a forest landscape, that of St. Leonard’s Forest, Horsham, West Sussex, changes that were wrought by human activity over two and half centuries. In order to uncover and understand these changes the author has focused on five private estates within the Forest core, Holmbush, Buchan Hill, St. Leonard’s, Coolhurst and Leonardslee, and two villages in the Forest, Colgate and Lower Beeding.

The five estates are considered with regard to ownership and control, land use and workers on the estates. The two villages are examined for their growth, the profile of the population, poverty and wealth. The establishment and endowments of the parish churches are outlined along with the development of the parish of Lower Beeding and its ties to Magdalen College, Oxford. Paternalism was a theme in the Victorian and Edwardian period, and the 1900 Footpath Dispute demonstrated a move away from these attitudes towards a more individualistic concern with private property rights.

For the first time this study pulls together the numerous and complex strands which make up the landscape history of St. Leonard’s Forest. It explores the factors both social and economic which impacted on the Forest. The juxtaposition of the nearby expanding market town of Horsham with its large common, improving communications, sales of land, and the attitudes of individual Forest landowners all combined to transform the Forest from a wild barren heathland in 1750 to a place of desirable picturesque estates and expanding villages by 1914, before the impact of the Great War was to change the Forest landscape yet again.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labour > HD0101 Land use
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2014 13:14
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015 13:51

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