Malpas Online Logo Link

Hidden Field Names

Back home  /  Heritage  /  Hidden Field Names

Hidden Field Names

Hidden field names are generally a reminder of our past.

Why is a field in Malpas called 'Ten Tree Field'?
Where did the Flacca Field in Tattenhall get its name?
Why is the lane between Crewe-by-Farndon and Stretton called 'The Wetreins'?

Nowadays fields are just fields and there are very few people who call them by their old names, as farmers would have done until last century.
Investigation of old field names can throw up many unexpected answers.

To answer the initial questions – the name 'Ten Tree ' for the large field in Malpas has nothing to do with 'ten trees' and is actually derived from 'tentre' or 'tenter', a large frame on which woollen cloth was stretched to dry after it had been fulled.
(Fulled means to shrink and thicken cloth by moistening, heating, and pressing it.)

Ten Tree Field is on a windy bank facing south and would have been an ideal location for the frame.

The Flacca Field, the present day sports ground in Tattenhall, possibly derives its name from the medieval word 'flakere', meaning a hurdle maker who made wattle fencing from osiers (from around the Tattenhall mill pool?)

The Wetreins is a reminder that the fields adjacent to Wetreins Lane, one of which was called 'reans', were once ploughed into ridge and furrow.
An old Cheshire term for ridge and furrow is 'butts and reans', the ridges being the 'butts' and the ditches between them, which drained water from the fields, being known by the Old English name 'reins' or 'reans'. Hence 'wet-reins'.

Tithe Award Records
A treasure trove of old field names are preserved in the Tithe Awards, which were drawn up between the late 1830s and the early 1850s. The original maps and their accompanying books of reference (known as 'tithe apportionments') are stored in the Cheshire Record Office.

However, we are fortunate that the Cheshire Record Office was the first in the country to put all of its Tithe Awards on-line, so that they can be searched from a computer, either at home or in the local library.

Follow this link to access the Tithe Awards
Then follow the links to the township (nowadays known as a 'civil parish') you are interested in.

The Tithe Apportionments are full of fascinating field names, many of which point to features which have now vanished from the landscape.

The many pinfold 'fields', 'crofts' and 'meadows', such as can be found at Alpraham, Broxton, Bulkeley, Burwardsley, Hampton and Wardle, are named after the 'pinfolds' or 'pounds', usually built of stone, in which stray animals would have been impounded until their owners paid a fine to the parish 'pinder' to release them.
(Pinder is a person who impounds stray animals)

Most of them have disappeared, but the stone pinfold beside the A.51 at Wardle, restored by Wardle Parish Council, is an excellent example.

The remains of local pinfolds still exist:
On Greenway Lane, Malpas
On the side of the A534 Trunk Road at Gallantry Bank, Bickerton

On Green Lane, Shocklach
On the Green at Harthill

Windmill Fields or Windmill Hills (Bickerton, Broxton, Hampton, Horton, Peckforton, Tushingham) remind us of a form of technology which has disappeared around here but which could well re-emerge in the future.

An interesting name, which seems to occur mainly in Cheshire and neighbouring counties, is 'pingot' or 'pingo', which was used for to describe small, usually odd-shaped parcels of land.

When the surveyors drew up the maps of Duckington and Tilston, they described an ill-tended field which straddled the boundary between the two townships simply as 'the worst that ever was seen'!

And such names as Cock Pit (Bulkeley – on the site of the later Methodist chapel),

Cock Fight (Land off Chester Road in Malpas) and Cock Pit Field (Tushingham) remind us that until early last century the barbaric 'sport' of cock-fighting was prevalent all over the country.

This short article barely scrapes the surface of our local field-names. If you would like to plough the furrow deeper, why not get on-line to investigate your local Tithe Awards

Article updated and published by Chris Whitehurst
6th December 2023

Information researched by David Hayns
Article published by My Village News in July 2017

Village Map

Get In Touch

MalpasOnline is powered by our active community.

Please send us your news and views using the button below:

© 2005 – 2024 MalpasOnline