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.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Agricultural History Review|
|Publication status||Published - 2003|