Land holding in 1699 terrier, shown in pink by Mavis Curtis
The way of identifying an area of land has over the centuries been by naming it according to its characteristics. John Field has analysed the origin of English field names and has found several general categories which cover the majority of field names. When applied to the current 2008 map of Elsfield used by the people who now farm the land, we can see both continuity and change as the needs of the farming community change. The size of fields which were common at the beginning of the 20th century were described by William Buchan(1982:40) as ‘small fields with their tall hedges, the neat woodlands, the gentle slopes and secret glades of that unspectacular but intimately beautiful countryside’. These have given way to much larger fields to cater for the machinery which is now used. In consequence some names have disappeared completely while others have migrated or expanded to cover a wider area than before.