Pilot Study Winchelsea

In September 2003, a pilot study of the town of Winchelsea in East Sussex was undertaken in order to test the proposed project methodology. Of primary importance was to assess the suitability of GPS as a method of surveying urban features: a potentially challenging environment for this technique. Winchelsea is also a well documented town, and we are fortunate to have a rental compiled in 1292, only a few years after the towns foundation, along with a number of research papers which have sought to interpret the rental, and most recently an Extensive Urban Survey funded by English Heritage.

Today the modern town still retains the morphology of the original Edwardian new town, being laid out with a gridiron street plan. However only the northern half of the town is currently inhabited, the southern half having fallen into disrepair in the later middle ages. This latter area now consists of grassy fields, but within these there are many earthwork features which echo in shadowy form original extent of the original town. The variety of landscapes that now comprise Winchelsea made it an ideal location in which to test our methods. The extant corpus of research on the town also provides a marker to compare our own results against.

The flowchart below illustrates the research method at Winchelsea, following that described in the methods section. A variety of spatial sources are brought together, along with historical information, to facilitate analysis of urban form, and in the case of Winchelsea, the reconstruction of the layout of the town in the late 13th century.

Aerial photograph of Winchelsea

Winchelsea: flowchart showing data sources and analysis


Pilot Study publications / presentations

We have presented the results of the Winchelsea Pilot study to the Medieval Cultures Seminar series at Queen's University Belfast, and also the European Social Sciences in History (ESSHC) conference in Berlin. The Powerpoint slide-show created for the latter conference may be viewed by clicking on the link below. You must have Powerpoint installed on your system. When you are prompted for a password, click 'Read Only'.

ESSHC Presentation 2004

Results of the pilot study have also been published in the following articles:

Lilley, K., Lloyd, C. and Trick, S. 2004. Mapping the medieval urban landscape project: results of pilot work at Winchelsea (East Sussex). Society for Landscape Studies Newsletter Spring/Summer 2004.

Lilley, K., Lloyd, C., Trick, S. and Graham, C. 2005. Mapping and analysing medieval built form using GPS and GIS. Urban Morphology 9(1):5-16.


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