The origins of water meadows in England

Hadrian Cook, Kathy Stearne, Tom Williamson

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20 Citations (Scopus)


It is usually assumed that the ‘floating’ or artificial irrigation of water meadows was an innovation of the early modern period. Indeed, many authorities still attribute the technique to the late sixteenth-century improver Rowland Vaughan. There is, however, good evidence that irrigation was already understood and practised on at least a limited scale by the start of the sixteenth century. It is probable that early irrigation systems normally took the form of catchworks: the key development of the post-medieval centuries was the creation of more sophisticated bedwork systems, which allowed the widespread adoption of floating on the chalklands of southern England.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalAgricultural History Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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